§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will make arrangements to enable the registrar of deaths to notify agencies of both central and local government of a person's death. [HL2820]
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey:
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician and Registrar General, who has been asked to reply.
Letter to Lord Avebury from the Executive Director of the General Register Office on behalf of the National Statistician and Registrar General, dated 16 May 2003.
The National Statistician and Registrar General has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning arrangements to enable the registrar of deaths to notify agencies of both central and local government of a person's death. I am replying in his absence. [HL2820]
Registrars currently notify the deaths they register to a number of agencies, including local council tax departments, electoral registration and the health service. They may make notifications only where there is specific statutory provision for them to do so.
On 22 January 2001, the Government published proposals for modernising civil registration in England and Wales in the White Paper 'Civil Registration: Vital Change', copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House. The White Paper proposes that named central and local government agencies be notified of events that have been registered, including deaths, directly from a new central database, rather than from individual registrars.
It is also proposed that central and local government agencies and some private sector organisations may access registration records with the consent of the person named in the record or their family in some circumstances. In the case of death records, consent would need to be given by the deceased person's next of kin or representative.
The necessary changes to legislation will be made by means of an Order under the Regulatory Reform Act.