2 December 2010
Following a routine annual review, the General Register Office for Scotland will introduce a new schedule of statutory fees and charges from January 1, 2011. All increases will be below inflation and fees will remain lower than those set for registration services elsewhere in the UK.
The Registrar General also announced some new services will be introduced and others will be improved in the New Year to offer greater availability and flexibility to customers.
From January 1, 2011, customers will be able to request an express bulk records search – with details provided within five working days as opposed to a standard ten day response.
From April 1, 2011, the new fee structure will pave the way for the opening hours at the ScotlandsPeople family history Centre in Edinburgh to be extended to include evenings, weekends and public holidays. By April 2011, the Centre will also offer increased searching capacity and additional records, including the 1911 Scottish census records. Some non-statutory fees in the ScotlandsPeople Centre will be reduced, and from April 1, 2011, responding to customer demand, internet search sessions on the ScotlandsPeople internet site will be extended from 90 days to one year giving customers significantly longer to spend their search credits.
Deputy Registrar General Paul Parr said:
“Unfortunately, current statutory registration fees for some of our services such as the issue of birth, death, marriage certificates, no longer meet the costs of providing the service.
“And though efficiency gains will continue to offset some of these costs and many of our fees will remain unchanged, some will be subject to increases to ensure costs can be fully met and our services standards continue to meet and exceed our existing exacting standards. All increases are below inflation and charges remain lower than those set for registration services elsewhere in the UK.
“The General Register Office for Scotland has not increased fees for birth, death or marriage certificates since 1997 – and many of our other fees have remained unchanged for several years.
“Many of the costs associated with providing Scotland’s registration services are met through general taxation. So, reflecting the duty on families, no charge is made to register a birth or death in Scotland, with registrars issuing a free abbreviated certificate of birth or death. However, if a customer wants a full certificate, it may be purchased from GROS or a local registrar for the new fee of £10; the first increase in the price for certificates charged by GROS in 14 years.
“During our recent annual review, both the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Association of Registrars of Scotland stressed that proposed increases should be viewed in the context of the economic climate and the pressure on local authorities to secure Best Value. In light of these pressures it is right that those who access the non-compulsory services provided by GROS and local registrars, should meet most of the costs involved.”
“Increases to fees relating to the ScotlandsPeople centre and website will help to fund improvements to the flexibility and availability of these services, which come in response to direct demand from customers. These fees will take effect from April 1, 2011. Even with the increase, the new full-day search fee at the Centre is lower than that charged in 1996. The Centre will continue to offer free 2-hour introductory sessions to give new customers a taste of family history.”
For a full list of the revised fees and charges see the Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships, etc - Fees Schedule (PDF 35kb)
Registration service fees are set by the Registrar General with the approval of Scottish Ministers by regulations made under the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965, the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006.
The Registrar General prescribes statutory fees charged by the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and those charged by local registration offices. The new fees are to be prescribed in a Scottish Statutory Instrument that will be laid before the Scottish Parliament on 2 December 2010.
Stewart Cooper: 0131 244 2175 / 07810507014