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Monday, April 22, 2024

Council moves forward with plan to close Dewsbury Register Office

The Registration Service will be centralised at Huddersfield's Civic Centre, subject to approval of the General Register Office

Plans have been approved to close Dewsbury’s Register Office and centralise Kirklees Council’s registration services at Civic Centre I in Huddersfield.

Kirklees Registration Service currently operates from two sites – Civic Centre I, and Dewsbury Town Hall in North Kirklees . Here residents can register births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships, as well as hold citizenship ceremonies, memorials, and baby naming ceremonies.

On Tuesday, it was decided by the council’s Cabinet that plans to ‘centralise’ registration services at the Huddersfield site will be moving ahead. This will mean that the borough’s births, deaths and marriages can only be registered at Civic Centre I, and Dewsbury Register Office will close.

The council says the move will result in the loss of 9.2 full-time equivalent jobs being lost and a £335,000 saving being made.

However, before the changes can be implemented, a period of consultation must be carried out with the General Register Office (GRO) so the council can gain approval. Conversations with other stakeholders impacted by the proposed changes will also take place including with funeral directors and bereavement services.

Cllr Adam Gregg Image: Colne Valley Council

The plans have been a cause of concern for some members of the public, along with local councillors. Cllr Adam Gregg (Con, Lindley) attended the meeting and wanted to know whether any consideration had been given for the “grief” the plans will cause people in North Kirklees who will have to travel further distances while going through difficult times.

In response, Cllr Paul Davies, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate assured Cllr Gregg that the residents of North Kirklees have been considered in the council’s plans. He explained that the local authority is looking to hold “pop-ups” providing registration services at locations across the borough and will continue to prioritise emergency appointments.

Another part of the plan will see fees and charges reviewed from 2025/26 onwards . The review will consider inflation rates as well as use benchmarking of the proposed charges by other local Registration districts.

Outside of the meeting, Cllr Paul Davies, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate said: “Registration Services are used at key milestones in peoples’ lives and it is important that we continue to deliver quality services for the residents of Kirklees so they can mark these occasions in a manner that is important to them. We also must look at the best way of delivering these services in a challenging financial environment.

“By consulting with statutory bodies and other key stakeholders, we will ensure that all residents who require Registration Services support receive it in as timely a manner as possible.”

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