HC Deb 20 November 2003 vol 413 cc1320-1W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make a statement on the reasons for ending face to face civil registration services; and what plans he has to retrain registrars for their new remote role; [140260]

(2) what procedures will be put in place to prevent fraud after the move to remote civil registration; [140261]

(3) what plans he has to compensate local authorities for any funding shortfall arising from the move to remote civil registration; [140262]

(4) what assessment has been made of the risk of competition between local authorities following a move to remote registration. [140263]

Ruth Kelly

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Drew, dated 20 November 2003:

As Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your four recent questions on the move to remote civil registration. (140260, 140262, 140263, 140264)

In January 2002, the White Paper 'Civil Registration: Vital Change' was published which set out the Government's intention to reform the civil registration service. The White Paper offers the public a choice in how to register births and deaths in person (at any Register Office), by telephone or via the internet.

These proposals appear in more detail in the consultation document 'Civil Registration: Delivering Vital Change' which was published in July 2003. The document can be downloaded from the General Register Office website at: http://www. statistics.gov.uk/registration/whitepaper/default.asp

The document is the first stage in the use of the order-making powers of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. This is being used to bring about the legislative changes that are needed to implement the White Paper reforms. The consultation period ended on 24 October. Currently the responses are being analysed.

It would be inappropriate at this stage to comment on the final shape of the proposals to be included in the Regulatory Reform Order. Issues such as funding, retraining and security are being fully considered during the passage of the civil registration regulatory reform order and, in the event of legislation change, prior to implementation.

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