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|Births And Deaths Registration (Amendment) Bill [H.L.]|
These notes refer to the Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Bill [H.L.]
Births And Deaths Registration (Amendment) Bill [H.L.]
1. These explanatory notes relate to the Births and Deaths Registration (Amendment) Bill [H.L.] as introduced in the House of Lords on 17th February 1999. They have been prepared by the Office for National Statistics with the consent of Lord Elis-Thomas in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not and are not meant to be a comprehensive description of the Bill.
3. Since 1969 it has been possible for births, still-births and deaths which take place in Wales to be registered in both Welsh and English. But hitherto it has not been possible for births and deaths which take place in England to be registered in both languages. This particularly affects Welsh-speakers who use maternity or other medical facilities in England. The Bill makes it possible for births and deaths which take place in England to be registered in both languages. It thus gives effect to one of the proposals set out in the White Paper "Registration : Proposals for Change" (Cm 939) published in 1990.
4. Where, at present, a birth or death is registered in English and Welsh, any certificate relating to that event must be in both languages. The Bill will make it possible for a certificate to be issued in Welsh or English only. Bilingual certificates will continue to be available.
5. There is currently provision for issue of "short" certificates of birth containing prescribed information extracted from an entry in a register of births. There is no similar provision for still-birth and death certificates. The Bill provides for such certificates. In doing so, it gives flexibility about the particulars which may be included in any short-form certificate relating to a birth or death. For example, under the Bill it will become possible to provide for the issue of a shortened form of death certificate which does not specify the cause of death - this may be of advantage where to do so would be distressing to the family. Or again, it would be possible to provide for a certificate relating to an entry which has been corrected to exclude details of the correction and show only the particulars as corrected.
COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES
6. Subsection (1) amends the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 so as to make it possible for births, still-births and deaths in England to be registered in Welsh as well as in English.
7. Normally under the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 a birth or death is registered in the sub-district where it takes place. And in England the forms and registers that are used are not capable of accommodating Welsh. But it is possible under section 9 of that Act for information about a birth or death to be given before a registrar of a different sub-district, who then forwards the information on to the registrar of the sub-district where the event took place.
8. The new section to be added to the Act builds on this system in the following way. Where a birth or death in England is to be registered in both English and Welsh, a declaration of the relevant particulars will have to be made in both languages before a registrar in Wales who is able to speak and understand Welsh. That registrar will then forward the declaration to the registrar of the sub-district in England where the birth or death took place. By virtue of subsection (1) of the new section, where the English registrar receives such information, he not only registers the birth or death in English in his register in the usual way, but sends the original (bilingual) declaration to the Registrar General. Under subsection (2) of the new section, the Registrar General will record the event in both languages in a new central register.
9. Subsection (2) provides for the issue of certified copies containing only the English or only the Welsh particulars of an entry in any register where details have been provided in both English and in Welsh. Welsh-only certificates will thus be available both for births and deaths in Wales, and for births and deaths in England which are registered in both Welsh and English by virtue of the provision made by subsection (1) of the clause.
10. This clause amends the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 to enable the Registrar General, superintendent registrars and registrars to issue to any person, on payment of a fee, a certificate in a prescribed form containing limited particulars or corrected details from the records of births, deaths and still-births in their custody.
11. This clause gives effect to the Schedule of consequential amendments to the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953.
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
12. The cost of establishing and maintaining the new central registers will be minimal, and will be covered by fees charged for the issue of certificates.
13. The cost of issuing short certificates will be covered by the fees charged.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER
14. The Bill will not require any increase in the number of staff in the public service.
15. The Bill amends an existing statutory regime without imposing any additional costs on business, charities or voluntary bodies.
The Bill will be brought into force by order. Clause 3(2) provides for commencement for different purposes on different days. Sufficient lead time will be required to enable implementation of all provisions as there will be considerable printing and software changes needed to implement clauses 1(2) and 2.
|© Parliamentary copyright 1999||Prepared: 18 february 1999|