Headlines: May 4th, 2007



Severe operating problems are being experienced with the new IT system for registering births and deaths. About half the Registry Offices across England and Wales have reverted to manual records local systems. The system, RON – register on line, which was developed and operated by the Office for National Statistics, performed well during the pilot running, but problems emerged as the national roll out was extended. Difficulties started to appear in the middle of March. Registration of marriages is not affected, because they dealt with by another system.

The chairman of the local authorities co-ordinating body said councils will continue to ensure that all members of the public receive a good service, especially at what can be difficult times for them. Councils will ensure that registrars are able to fulfil their legal obligation to register births and deaths, whether the registration process is on the new system or the previous local based electronic system. Our concern is that whilst local authorities have been working hard with the General Register Office of the ONS to change services for the better, they are still awaiting a response from the Office of National Statistics on what the problem is and when it will be rectified.

There is also concern that an additional burden has been put on councils to back capture the additional manual information. The system failure has placed more stress on time and resources of councils and there has been no indication from the ONS that additional financial costs will be reimbursed.