New charges for people ordering birth, marriage and death certificates have been announced by Registrar General James Hall.
From Tuesday 6 April 2010 the eight separate fees currently charged by the General Register Office (GRO) for ordering a certificate will be reduced to two – one for standard orders and one for the priority service.
The changes – the first for the GRO since 2003 – will ensure that the costs of providing the service are recovered from fees and not subsidised by the taxpayer.
Mr Hall said:
“The General Register Office receives more than two million certificate orders every year, the vast majority of which, over 90 per cent, are ordered online.
“This is our first change to fees since 2003 and we believe that the new fee structure will be simpler to use for our customers.
GRO certificate services are self-financing and costs must be recovered to ensure taxpayers do not subsidise them. This is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.
“We will continue to play our part in keeping costs as low as possible by bringing in technological efficiencies and improvements.”
The cost of ordering certificates online with a GRO reference number, using the standard service, will rise from £7.00 to £9.25. A number of other charges, however, will fall to this new standard fee, including those for certificates where customers do not know the reference number.
Three of the four priority overnight service charges will also fall to a flat fee of £23.40.
The Registrar General has also announced new fees to be charged by the Local Registration Service throughout England and Wales for issuing copies of certificates, and officiating at weddings and civil partnerships for those who are housebound or detained.
The charge for registering marriages at registered buildings – those buildings that are registered for the solemnization of religious marriages other than Anglican churches – has also been changed.
These new fees, which also come into effect on 6 April, reflect the actual cost of providing the services and follows a review undertaken by local authorities together with the GRO.
For more information on GRO services and to order certificates online go to www.direct.gov.uk/gro