Headlines: November 17th, 2011

A new birth and death notification service could save up to £190m for government over the next ten years whilst significantly easing the lives of customers across the UK.

Tell Us Once is a new service that notifies relevant government departments and service authorities of a family’s birth or bereavement. It is led by the Department for Work and Pensions and delivered in partnership with central and local government.

By notifying up to 28 different services on their behalf, Tell Us Once is a much easier way for bereaved families and new parents to report their change in circumstances to the relevant authorities. A person using Tell Us Once can expect to contact government up to seven fewer times when compared to previous arrangements.

The service directly fulfils the government’s current edict of ‘delivering better for less’ and is expected to roll out to 96% of local authorities by March 2012. Some authorities, such as Poole and Devon, are already offering the full birth and death service; others, including Brent and Barnet, have started with the death service and will start to offer the birth service next year.

Some local authorities are working in partnership to deliver the service, giving an example of best practice that could be replicated in other areas of public sector business.

Each year there are 575,000 deaths and 770,000 births nationally. Without Tell Us Once, it would cost UK residents £50m over 10 years to notify government of their change in circumstances. Overall, if the current arrangements were continued, the cost to customers and government would be £1.1bn over 10 years.

Lyn McDonald, programme director of Tell Us Once, says: “Tell Us Once removes red tape and gives time back to families when they need it most. She continued: “It also turns what has been a traditionally cumbersome process into a fast, cost-saving and efficient service for government, service partners and customers alike. At a time when we are under huge amounts of pressure to save money, a streamlined service such as Tell Us Once is a very welcome initiative.”