Birmingham & Black Country

Parents face delays to register Birmingham births

Jenny Price with her son Jasper
Image caption Jenny Price is waiting to register her son's birth

New parents in Birmingham have been facing serious delays in registering births.

Babies must be registered within 42 days, or parents risk a £200 fine.

Birmingham City Council said delays in dealing with phone calls and in arranging appointments were due to an increase in the number of births.

It added a reduction in maternity services in both Sandwell and Solihull, meant Birmingham was dealing with extra registrations.

Last year Birmingham registered 34,000 births and deaths.

Included in this total was a 5,000-strong increase in the number of births.

A spokesman apologised and added that while the backlog is cleared, parents would not face fines.

Jenny Price said when she managed to get through to the office, the earliest available appointment to register her son Jasper was in March, 41 days after his birth.

Adam and Catherine Bridgewater registered their baby Iris on Thursday.

Ms Bridgewater said: "She was born in January. It has taken us five weeks to get her registered."

'Appointment only'

Applications for child benefit allowance also require a birth certificate.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "Following a review by the General Register Office (a national body) it was agreed the best way to register births and deaths was by appointment only, rather than the drop-in service, to avoid keeping customers waiting."

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, said the change had not only put a strain on the phone system, but slowed down the whole process.

"A queue is always going to be more efficient, because you deal with a lot more people over a period of time," he said.

The council added the register officer dealt with 143 registrations a day for births, marriages and deaths and that they were looking at ways to improve the situation.

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