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Open Historic Registers Now

Comment 8th July 2010

A review, chaired by Paul Darce of the 30 year rule, recommended that it be reduced to 15 years in its report January 2009.

In his submission to the review Anthony Camp, M.B.E. suggested that all historic records of Birth, Marriage and Death be made open to the Public.

It is high time these records were openly accessible there is absolutely no good reason for them to remain regulated and only accessible by purchasing certified copies.

The records used to be open to public inspection. From the start of civil registration the public could carry out searches in the registers of Birth, Marriage and Death. In 1898 the then Registrar General took it upon himself to close the records held at the GRO even though there was no change in the law to allow for such unilateral action.

Similarly in 1974 many local Registrars closed the registers they held to public searches even though a public search of the registers was written in to the various applicable Acts of Parliament.

I therefore suggest that the coalition government release all historic registers of Birth, Marriage and Death to allow private enterprise to digitise and make those records available online.

Such a move would create employment in the private sector, reduce costs and pressure on the General Register Office. This would allow staff to concentrate on their core activities and increase productivity.

In addition the sale of digitised copies of historic Birth, Marriage and Death certificates would create useful revenue in these times of need.

Why does this matter?

The idea is important as it could provide much needed employment.

Provide very useful revenue

Show commitment to open government.

There is in fact nothing to prevent my suggestion being carried out other than the will of parliament.

If this government is truly committed to openness, freedoms, raising revenue without taxing the population cutting, the deficit and providing employment they will take up this suggestion.

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