Hertfordshire registration services reformed

REFORMS to registration services in Hertfordshire will result in the closure of the facility currently provided in Hitchin.

Births, marriages and deaths can all be registered at the Centenary House on Grammar School Walk, which operates two and a half days a week.

But this will soon change, with all the registration services transferred to the Stevenage office by April next year. Staff from Stevenage are currently sent over to Hitchin, according to demand for appointments.

“Hitchin is a part-time registration service,” said a county council spokesman.

“The Stevenage office is useful, as it’s within easy reach of Lister Hospital.”

The decision is based on the Hitchin office running at only two thirds of its capacity. But in 2008, there were proposals to open the office at Centenary House full time to alleviate space issues at Stevenage.

There will also be other changes to the system, with the booking of appointments in Hertfordshire now available online.

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And the phone numbers of individual registration offices will be replaced by a single centralised telephone number, based in Hatfield.

The changes are geared towards saving money, expected to be �223,000 by 2012/13, which is 20 per cent of the county registration service budget.

“Residents will get a better service because they will have more ways to get in touch with us, at more times of the day,” said Cllr Keith Emsall, executive member for the registration service.

“Not only that, but by centralising some of our services and administration we have achieved economies of scale saving Hertfordshire taxpayers thousands of pounds. It’s a win-win situation.”

Registration services will also see less staff employed to meet the savings target. But this will not lead to anyone losing their job, as vacancies which already exist will not be filled.

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