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Monday 29 March 2010

Cheshire East Registration Service To Be Highlighted Nationally As A ‘Model Of Successful Innovation’

A government watchdog has highly praised Cheshire East Registration Service – and is to highlight it nationally as a model of successful innovation.

Whitehall’s General Register Office (GRO) – part of the Home Office’s Identity and Passport Service – gave a glowing report on the high quality of Cheshire East civil registration services following the reorganisation of local government last April.

The Registration Service deals with the registration of births, marriages and deaths.

The GRO report said: “During the period of local government reorganisation, all staff have worked hard to maintain a professional and customer-focused service and the delivery of service has been seamless throughout.”

The study praised the council’s contact centre and said customer access to the registration service was “excellent” with convenient access points and opening hours.

The report also praised Cheshire East Registration Service for:

● Excellent electronic accounting system for fees

● Very good customer choice

● Good innovative practices: hospital bereavement officers and local funeral directors are permitted access to an online E-diary for making customer appointments. This service will be highlighted by the Home Office as an example of good practice and creative solutions to other services nationwide

● Good model of partnership working by sharing accommodation

● Good emergency out-of-hours service

● Good use of technology accounting for controlling certificate stock

● Good automated contact system and effective call monitoring system

● Special arrangements at Leighton and Macclesfield hospital for registering still births and neo-natal deaths

● Meeting or exceeding key service performance indicators on registrations, appointment availability, in-office waiting times and certificate applications
● Multi-skilled staff, who add flexibility and resilience to the service
● Achieving 100% on waiting times within the national standard
● 100% of customers found the service able to provide a ceremony at a convenient date and 89% at a convenient time
● 98% of customers surveyed found the service “easy to contact”
● 86% of calls answered within 20 seconds. The national standard is 80%
● All-day Saturday appointments offered for notices of marriage

Councillor Brian Silvester, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: “This is an outstanding report and all the staff in the Cheshire East Registration Service are to be congratulated on their sterling and dedicated work.

“The Registration Service is rightly being held up nationally as a model of successful innovation, and Cheshire East should take great pride in this.

“Staff have shown real commitment and dedication to delivering a top-class service to local people. That we should receive such a wonderful report in our first year of operation is quite remarkable and bodes well for the future of the Registration Service in Cheshire East.”

The GRO assessed Cheshire East Registration Service on four key areas: customer access; certificate stocks and register control; marriage and civil partnerships administration; performance monitoring against key indicators and good practice guidelines.
Cheshire East’s Superintendent Registrar Alan Clarke said: “I would like to thank all the staff involved as it is their commitment and enthusiasm that has made this service so successful.
The innovative online booking service for making appointments and registering deaths is being held up by the Registrar General as a model of good practice for other services across the country to adopt.
This success is largely thanks to the work of Leighton Hospital bereavement officer Liz Robinson as well as Molly Pearson and Pam Bostock at Macclesfield General Hospital. They have been particularly proactive in making this online service possible.

“Thanks must also go to Democratic Services at Cheshire East Council and Councillor Silvester, who have also been incredibly supportive of all that we are doing.”

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