North Yorkshire’s Registration Offices win praise

2 November 2011

The registration service in North Yorkshire has won praise from its customers … and from the Government body which oversees it.

The service is responsible for the registration of births and deaths and carries out marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.

In September, the General Register Office (GRO), the government agency responsible for civil registration, observed staff at work and measured the service against statutory standards and performance targets.

In its report, the GRO says the level of service attained is excellent.

Strengths identified by the inspection include:

  • an excellent standard of customer care;
  • very good customer access to the service;
  • multi-skilled staff;
  • a good standard of office accommodation and ceremony rooms
  • the offer of a wide range of non-statutory services, such as baby-naming ceremonies and renewal of vows for marriage and civil partnership; and
  • a good range of literature in register offices and detailed information on the council’s website.

The GRO said:

An excellent standard of customer care was seen during observations of staff members’ individual dealings with customers.

Customer access to the service is very good, both in terms of opening hours and the geographical location of offices.

Moreover, the local authority continually monitors customer footfall at all registration service points to ensure that registrars’ attendance remains cost-effective.


The GRO also hailed the planned introduction of an online appointment booking service, which is due to come into operation shortly as part of the county council’s drive to improve access to all its services.

The registration service carries out its own customer survey each year.

Between January and April 2011, 4,000 customers were invited to complete a questionnaire. Of those who responded, 91.5% were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the service.

There were areas of dissatisfaction for some customers around accessing information in advance of visiting a register office, and their experience in making initial contact with the service. These issues are now being addressed.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, the Executive Member said:

We are very pleased that the Government agency responsible for the registration service is so complimentary.

But in many ways it is even more gratifying that the people who use the service are so fulsome in their praise. A satisfaction rating of 91.5% is a terrific result, and a fitting tribute to the expertise and the enthusiasm brought by the staff to this vital area of work, which touches the lives of quite literally every member of the community at one time or another.


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