IPS Chief Executive is appointed as new Registrar General

16 November 2010

Sarah Rapson has been appointed as the new Registrar General for England and Wales. Ms Rapson is also Chief Executive of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

Ms Rapson becomes the nineteenth Registrar General since the civil registration of births, deaths and marriages began in England and Wales in 1837.

Sarah Rapson said:

"It is a great honour to be asked to take on this historic role.

"I look forward to working with partners in local government to ensure that the General Register Office continues to deliver the best service possible to our customers while maintaining and developing the national record of civil registration events."

The Registrar General is appointed by the Queen, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, to act as the head of the GRO.

The Registrar General makes the regulations that govern the duties of local registrars and the registration processes. They are required by law to create and make publicly available a free index of registration records of births, deaths and marriages for searching purposes and to issue certificates on request for a prescribed fee.

The GRO oversees registration services to the public and its role extends over a range of aspects relating to civil marriage preparation, celebration and registration and the registration of births, deaths, stillbirths and adoptions.

Notes to editors

  1. The Registrar General (RG) is appointed by The Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
  2. The RG is the head of the General Register Office (GRO), which was created in 1837. Since that time, technology employed to administer civil registration has changed, but the process to register an event in person in the area the event occurred remains virtually unchanged.
  3. The GRO provides guidance and support to local registration officers who administer the process of civil registration. This includes civil marriage preparation, celebration and registration and the registration of births, deaths, stillbirths, gender recognition and adoption.
  4. The GRO's work covers registrations made in England and Wales. GRO Scotland and GRO Northern Ireland remain the responsibility of the devolved administrations. Each has a separate Registrar General.
  5. The registration service is delivered in partnership with 174 local authorities who employ around 2,000 registration officers. Their duties are set out in statute but they work under guidance and instruction from the Registrar General and the GRO.
  6. Sarah Rapson replaces James Hall as RG. He retired in July 2010, since which existing delegated powers have enabled GRO to continue to act pending a new appointment.

For more information contact the Home Office press office on 0207 035 3535


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