Hackney Council resumes face-to-face registration services - but warns of backlog of 2,000 births and 500 weddings
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Hackney Council has resumed face-to-face registration services - but has warned there is a “significant backlog” of 2,000 births and 500 marriage ceremonies - after coronavirus restrictions forced them to close for the past three months.
Registration of births, marriages, civil partnerships, notice appointments, citizenship ceremonies and other registration services were put on hold when the government announced lock down measures.
Under emergency coronavirus legislation registrations of deaths could be carried out over the phone, but all other registrations must still be done face-to-face - which is something the Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville has called on the government to review and modernise.
The government confirmed earlier this month that some registration services could begin again, provided they were carried out in a Covid-safe environment.
Measures include perspex screens between staff and residents, hand sanitising stations, shorter appointment times where possible and to ensure interview rooms are cleaned after each appointment.
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Staff have been working through emergency cases and a backlog of 2,000 births which need to be registered.
Government guidance released this week will permit small marriage ceremonies from Saturday, but as the council’s ceremony rooms are not yet Covid-secure, ceremonies will most likely not take place until August. This means the council cannot offer new bookings, as they work to rebook cancelled 500 ceremonies.
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Residents have been asked to check the council’s website for updates rather than calling or emailing the registrars, so as not to waste their time.
Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said: “Our registrars provide incredibly important services at key moments in our lives. When the government told us we had to stop providing some services due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions, we knew it would have a significant knock-on effect - demand for these services we all take for granted never stops, even during a global pandemic.
“Our staff have done an incredible job during very difficult circumstances, registering deaths over the telephone and supporting residents coping with the loss of a loved one.
“I’ve written to the Home Secretary, calling on the government to seize this opportunity to introduce more flexible and modern ways of delivering traditional registration methods. In the meantime it is essential that we work in a way that is safe for both our staff and residents. “As soon as we are able to do so safely, we will be able to offer marriage and civil partnership registrations, as well citizenship ceremonies, but in the meantime we need to ask people to be understanding of the huge task we face and to be patient, to allow our staff to get on with this important work.”