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Register Office

The Register Office operates an appointment system for registering births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and citizenship ceremonies.

Register Office landing page

Our functions and purpose

  • The registration of all births, deaths and still births occurring within the borough
  • Conducting citizenship ceremonies for approximately 140 Bury residents who make application for British Nationality annually
  • Safe custody of all historic records of births, deaths and marriages dating back to 1837 and issue of certified copies from these records on demand
  • Taking notices of intended marriage and civil partnership from persons resident within the borough
  • Conducting and registration of all civil marriages and civil partnerships taking place in any venue licensed for the purpose
  • Inspection and registration of new venues for marriage and civil partnership
  • Giving assistance and advice to customers on all aspects of registration and citizenship.

Our objectives

  • To provide an excellent registration service to all sections of the community
  • Listening to and involving our customers and being responsive to their needs
  • Providing high quality services that give value for money and are based on best practice
  • Being innovative and creative in seeking continuous improvement
  • Cultivating the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff
  • Developing and retaining highly skilled and valued staff that are empowered to deliver our goals.

In order to deliver on these high level objectives we are pursuing a number of initiatives that have been developed in consultation with all members of the team.

  • A programme of customer consultation to ensure services are developed and delivered in accordance with customer demand
  • Utilising the North West Regional Groups benchmarking tool to test service provision against other providers in the region
  • Review the processes within the unit to ensure that we are making best use of the resources available
  • Further developing regular communication channels with all members of the team including once monthly training sessions and whole team away days
  • Developing projects in which all team members can have input.

Citizenship ceremonies

Citizenship ceremonies will be held on the first Saturday of each month from 10.00am. For more information on citizenship ceremonies contact the Home Office. Please note: our ceremony suite accommodates up to 50 guests.

Partnership working

Our partners play an essential role in helping us to achieve our service objectives.

  • Health service:
    The majority of births and deaths occur in Fairfield General Hospital. After evaluating the results of a survey conducted on birth and death informants it was clear that the vast majority wished to register at the hospital. The Hospital Trust were approached and declined our offer to send registrars to the hospital. At the moment there is no room for a registrar at the hospital but this will be reviewed by the Primary Care Trust in the future.
  • Coroners service:
    We also rely heavily on the Coroners Service to provide an efficient service to bereaved relatives at times of great stress. We do have a reasonable relationship with the Coroners Officers at the moment but there is scope for improvement in joint working arrangement.
  • General Register Office:
    The General Register Office are responsible for formulating the legislative framework that governs the registration service nationally.

Pressures for change

Reform and Modernisation Agenda for Civil Registration

The demise of the Regulatory Reform Order which would have heralded fundamental change in the registration service has led to the General Register Office, in partnership with Local Registration Services Association looking at ways in which some reforms suggested in the Regulatory Reformed Order could be taken forward without the need for primary legislation.

All statutory registration officers have now become local government officers.

Web based system

The Registrar General has introduced a web based registration system to replace the current locally based IT system. Bury were at the forefront of this system being introduced as we acted as a pilot office prior to national introduction on 26th March 2007. This has enabled registrars to populate a central data base with registration information, print off loose leaf register pages instead of hand writing a register and issue certified copies from the system. This is intended to speed up the registration process and deliver improvements in customer service. It will also enable copies of registrations to be available immediately to the General Register Office alleviating the requirement to send in paper copies each quarter.

Review of advice

The Registrar General is reviewing the advice given to local authorities on the interpretation of the registration acts. She has pledged to have a more flexible approach which will hopefully allow front line service managers to deliver services more in line with customer expectations.

New Governance Arrangements

A joint local authority working group has recommended that the current scheme arrangements be modified to make them more customer focused and provide local authorities with more discretion to adjust staffing levels in accordance with demand. The key change would commit local authorities to publish a comprehensive set of service standards to at least the level of a set of minimum standards set by central government in a Code of Practice. This would be underpinned by a Good Practice Guide which contains advice on standard setting, best practice and record management. Bury intend to adhere to the Good Practice Guide but not sign up to new governance arrangements at this stage.

Civil Partnership Act 2005

This Act introduced same sex partnership registration, which give couples similar legal rights to married couples. All staff attended the Gay wedding Fair at Manchester Town Hall and we arranged a Gay awareness seminar at the Register Office in 2006 where the lesbian and gay community were invited to give their views on how Bury should provide the service. Elected Members also attended including the Leader and Deputy Leader. The policy to charge the same fees for civil partnership as marriages was agreed as was the decision to insist that all Approved Premises in the borough provide services for civil partnerships and marriages. A ceremony was produced and agreed in consultation with the lesbian and gay community and this has proved very successful.

A further meeting took place in November 2007 when all couples who had either had civil partnership ceremonies or given notice were invited to an open evening. This was to enable us to obtain feedback on service delivery. All Elected Members were invited and I am pleased to say that two members attended the meeting including the Deputy Leader of the Council. The meeting proved very successful and resulted in an overall satisfaction rating of 100%.