Births, Deaths and Marriages

Death

The UK emergency Coronavirus Bill has passed and includes provisions that allow remote death and still-birth registration in Scotland.  This means rather than a face to face appointment, registrations must now be completed by phone. Please contact your local registrar on 01546 605521 or fill in our online form to arrange a remote appointment.

Out of office hours and on weekends you will be asked to leave a message with the following information;

  • Full Name of Deceased
  • Address of Deceased
  • Place of Death
  • Date of Birth
  • Where they were born
  • Were they married in Scotland
  • Name of Informant

Our on duty registrar will return your call once they are available to progress with the registration.

As part of trying to keep people and business safe from the impact of covid, restrictions are in place at Cardross Crematorium and burial grounds.

These restrictions are about meeting national guidelines on physical distancing, keeping people safe and trying to ensure that fewer people lose family members unnecessarily. We would ask you also please to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.

Cremations services at Cardross Crematorium are limited to 18 people and burial services are limited to up to a maximum of 20 people. These numbers include anyone who may be recording/broadcasting the service. We understand how difficult it is, but we urge you to stick to these numbers and not congregate in larger numbers outside the Crematorium or burial grounds.

Social distancing rules must be in place at all times.

The Book of Remembrance, at Cardross Crematorium, is now open once again for viewing.  In order that this can be done safely, we ask that you call us first on 01389 841313 to make an appointment, before coming to the Crematorium. Thank you for your assistance. 

Changes to burials and cemeteries during coronavirus

We understand that it is heartbreaking for many families who, because of the COVID-19 crises, are unable to mourn their loved ones in the way that they would wish. As always, we offer our deepest sympathies.

The council wants to help families give their loved ones dignified burials at this time. We want to take all reasonable precautions to protect mourners and keep everyone safe, as well as protecting our burial staff so that they can continue to provide their services to other families who suffer losses in the coming weeks and months.

This is why we have changed our normal procedures for burials, making sure that we follow national guidance on physical distancing and health protection regulations.

Maximum number of mourners

The number of mourners (friends and family) at burials is limited to a maximum of 20 people.

That way we can make sure physical distancing is maintained and that all mourners and council staff stay safe.

Post funeral gatherings such as wakes cannot take place under current restrictions.

Carrying and lowering the coffin

Unfortunately, it simply isn’t possible for family members lowering cords to observe the two metre distancing, so council staff will lower the coffin via webbing straps. 

The traditional lowering of the coffin via cords is symbolic – the actual weight of the coffin is taken on webbing straps by council staff who usually stand next to the mourners who are taking the cords. We could not do this and maintain a safe two metre distance for everyone.

Council staff will also carry the coffin from the hearse to the graveside. This will be done with dignity and respectfulness.

Works in cemeteries

We will continue to maintain our cemeteries to keep them safe for mourners, undertakers and staff and to make sure that interments proceed with dignity.

Access to cemeteries

All cemeteries in Argyll and Bute are open.

We might occasionally have to close them for a short while, if staff are doing maintenance work. This keeps staff and mourners safe.  

Support for bereavement

Coping with bereavement is always difficult. It may be even more so without the normal support networks around you at the moment. There are organisations you can reach out to at this time who can help. The Scottish Government website has more information on support networks.

Funeral Support Payment

Funeral Support Payment is available to people who are paying for a funeral, are on certain low-income benefits or tax credits and are the nearest relation to the person who has died. 

The payment can help towards burial or cremation fees, some travel costs, and other expenses such as funeral director fees, a coffin, or flowers. Normally, applications can only be made up to six months following a funeral. Clients can now apply late if the reason for the delay in applying is due to COVID-19.

Check if you are eligible for a payment, and apply online at mygov.scot/benefits

You can also apply over the phone by calling 0800 182 2222 and requesting a call back.

For general enquiries, Social Security Scotland is now offering a web chat service between 8 am - 6 pm Monday to Friday.

There is also a new online document upload function for clients to send in evidence to support an application.

Birth

To register your baby’s birth please contact your local Registrar by filling in our online form or emailing us at  registrationenquiries@argyll-bute.gov.uk please use the subject Birth Registration and include your full name, child’s date and place of birth, the name of the office that you wish to attend to register and contact information.

Alternatively call your local registrar on 01546605521 to register your details.

All registrations will be on an appointment only basis and our offices will not be open to the public without a pre-arranged appointment.

Please be aware that where the parents of the child are married to each other either parent may attend to register the birth, however where the parents are not married they must both attend if the father/second parent’s name is to be listed on the register.

If you have not been able to register the birth of your child because of coronavirus, you can still make a claim to receive Child Benefit.

If this is your first child, fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office. If you haven’t registered the birth because of COVID 19, add a note to explain this with your application.

If you are already in receipt of Child Benefit, you can complete the form or add your new baby’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. You will need your National Insurance number or Child Benefit number when you call.

More information is available here.

Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment helps eligible families with the expenses of having a new child. It is a £600 payment for a first child and £300 for other children.

Normally people can only apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to 6 months after the baby was born.

During these challenging times, Social Security Scotland is accepting applications that are made after this timescale, if the reason for the delay in applying is due to COVID-19.

Check if you are eligible for a payment, and apply online at mygov.scot/benefits

You can also apply over the phone by calling 0800 182 2222 and requesting a call back.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment and Funeral Support Payment also provide support for people whose baby died after being born, and for people who have had a stillbirth where the baby was born after the beginning of the 24th week of pregnancy.

Marriage

 

From 26 April, up to 50 people can attend a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration, or reception in a protection level 3 area. This is provided the venue size and layout will permit the necessary physical distancing between households to be in place. This means the number of people able to attend may be less, and sometimes significantly less, than 50.

All individuals involved in the ceremony, including guests, should understand and follow the NHS inform guidance including on physical distancing measures. If you or any member of your household is unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, you should not attend the marriage. 

Attendance at marriage ceremonies will be within the capacity limits of the venue so that physical distancing between households can be strictly adhered to. In some cases that may mean that fewer people can attend than this guidance permits in principle.

Couples and those responsible for venues should continue to adhere to all restrictions that are currently in place and to this guidance. They should work with the registrar/celebrant to put in place suitable arrangements that are as safe as possible for everyone attending. This means that agreed numbers of attendees should not be increased at short notice or beyond what the venue can accommodate safely. 

If the registrar/celebrant considers that arrangements at the venue are unsafe they may refuse to carry out the marriage. And they may stop the service if circumstances change. A celebrant could do this because of COVID-19 or any other risks including because previously agreed arrangements have been altered without their agreement. Please note that a registrar/celebrant may not carry out the ceremony or may stop the ceremony if they consider it to be unsafe.

Couples and those responsible for venues should also discourage people unable to attend the ceremony from gathering outside the venue. Such informal gatherings may not be allowed under the law and increase the potential for the transmission of the virus.

Couples may wish to consider getting married outside because this reduces the risk of transmission.

The ceremony should be concluded in a reasonable time. This means that the content of a ceremony should be limited accordingly.

You should not eat or drink at the ceremony unless this is essential for religious or belief purposes.

 

 

Physical distancing

  • face to face interaction within 2 metres should be avoided as far as possible
  • people from different households should stay 2 metres apart during the ceremony. Household includes an extended household, where two households have chosen to be treated as a single household 

 

Face coverings

The wearing of a face covering is mandatory in certain indoor premises. This includes hotels, places of worship, registration offices and any indoor public place or part of an indoor public place where a marriage ceremony is taking place.

There are exemptions to this requirement, including for individuals who are leading a ceremony.

In addition, the couple getting married do not need to wear a face covering during a ceremony as long as they:

  • are at least 2 metres away from everyone else, or
  • they are separated from everyone else by a partition.

This exemption for the couple getting married only applies during the ceremony and does not apply to receptions.

The couple may be required to wear a face covering if, at any point during the ceremony, such as when signing the schedule or leaving the venue they cannot remain physically distanced from the celebrant or from others attending, and partitions are not being used. Similarly the celebrant may be required to wear a face covering if they cannot remain physically distanced from guests or from the couple at all points during the ceremony and partitions are not being used.

Guests must wear a face covering during the ceremony in an indoor public place, unless exempt.

Ceremonies will differ in individual details. The couple (whether they arrive separately or together) should wear a face covering while they are waiting inside any public area before entering the room where their ceremony is to take place. If they are remaining in the same venue for their reception, they may also then require to wear a face covering. 

The wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to other precautions including physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene. We have published guidance on the use of face coverings.

Hygiene during the ceremony

  • all attendees should maintain good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene
  • if objects need to be shared or handled by more than one person, all those involved should wash their hands before and after the ceremony
  • where the couple intend to exchange rings, these should be handled by as few people as possible.
  • where a drink from a quaich is to be shared during the ceremony, or a hand fasting ribbon is to be used, these objects should be handled only by the couple, wherever possible
  • when the marriage schedule is signed at the end of the ceremony, consider using separate pens
  • where the same pen is to be used by the couple, witnesses and celebrant, they should all wash their hands before and after the ceremony
  • attendees should avoid touching property belonging to others
  • if attendees remove items such as shoes, they should be handled only by their owner
  • people should avoid shouting or raising voices at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets
  • the celebrant’s declarations and the couple’s spoken responses during a marriage ceremony should not be in a raised voice. Consideration should be given to using amplification via electronic equipment such as microphones and speakers to ensure that there is no need for raised voices.

Singing, chanting and music

The couple should consider using music recordings that may be available to them. Any recorded music should be played at a level which allows everyone there to converse normally and without raising their voices.

A couple can arrange for a singer or musician to perform at their ceremony. This is provided the appropriate mitigations and safeguards are in place, in line with the risk assessment based approach set out in the performing arts guidance. The couple should also agree the arrangements with the person responsible for their venue. For example, a bagpiper can play outside the venue whilst attendees are arriving, provided they do so in line with any appropriate mitigations in the performing arts guidance.

Any music at the ceremony should not take place at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting or communal singing.

Communal singing involving those attending the marriage ceremony should continue to be avoided, because of the potential for aerosol production.

Any musician or singer employed for the ceremony by the couple is included in the limit on the numbers who may attend the marriage ceremony. This is the case at all protection levels.

There are different rules for music at receptions or other celebrations.

 

Venues which are private dwellings

A marriage ceremony can take place outside in the garden of a private dwelling. A marriage ceremony should take place inside a private dwelling only where it is not possible for it to take place outside or at a public venue.

The definition of a private dwelling includes self-contained self-catering and other private hire holiday accommodation. 

The use of private hire exclusive use premises (such as castles and historic houses) for marriage ceremonies will depend on the arrangements in place.

If the private hire venue is managed and regulated, with venue staff to ensure that the relevant guidance is being followed, then a ceremony can take place there (both outside and inside).

Guidance on numbers attending

The numbers set out below can attend only if the venue can hold that many people with strict physical distancing measures in place. In some venues fewer people will be able to attend. 

Below are the maximum number of people who should attend a marriage ceremony in each level of the strategic framework in venues such as a hotel, a place of worship or a registration office, or when it is taking place outside at a private dwelling. The position is different where the ceremony will take place inside at a private dwelling

Level 0

No more than 200 people should attend.

Level 1

No more than 100 people should attend.

Level 2

No more than 50 people should attend.

Level 3

Until 25 April, no more than 20 people should attend.

From 26 April, no more than 50 people should attend.

Level 4

Until 25 April, by law no more than 5 people, or 6 people (if an interpreter is required), can attend.

From 26 April, no more than 20 people should attend.

At all protection levels, the limits include:

  • the couple
  • the witnesses
  • guests, including children of any age
  • any carers accompanying someone attending the ceremony
  • any staff not employed by the venue, such as a photographer, musicians or others a couple has employed for the purpose of the ceremony.

The celebrant and any required interpreter do not count towards these limits.

If your ceremony is taking place inside a private dwelling

A marriage ceremony should only take place inside a private dwelling if it is not possible for it to take place outside or at a public venue. This could be because:

  • a party to the marriage is seriously ill
  • disability prevents a party to the marriage from attending a ceremony or registration outside or at a public venue.

Where a marriage ceremony takes place inside a private dwelling, no more than 6 people should attend. This means the couple, two witnesses, the celebrant, and where required, an interpreter.

Interpreters

The celebrant or registrar will decide whether an interpreter is needed. An interpreter may be required if, for example, the couple do not speak English or need support for a hearing disability.

Remote attendance

In order to minimise the spread of COVID-19 couples should discuss with the person managing their venue whether remote attendance is possible. This could mean livestreaming or recording of the event. If the couple employ staff for this purpose, they will count towards the limits on numbers.

 Receptions and other celebrations

The ceremony ends once the marriage schedule is signed by the couple, their celebrant and the witnesses, and the celebrant has brought the ceremony to a close.

An event to celebrate the marriage, such as a reception, may be able to take place. A venue hosting a reception must be able to safely accommodate those attending with the appropriate physical distancing in place.

The numbers who may attend a reception in a venue, such as a hotel, at protection levels 0-3 are the same as those who may attend a marriage ceremony. 

Receptions cannot take place in a protection level 4 area.

Please see guidance on receptions.

 

Copy birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates

You can now order copy certificates online again - please see our copy certificates page for more information