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. The remote registration service is now available 7 days a week. 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.

Immediate family only should attend funerals (maximum 8), keeping social distancing rules in place at all times

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 eight mourners

The number of mourners at burials is limited to a maximum of eight people.

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

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.

We will be working through the backlog of birth registrations in month order to keep the records as orderly as possible. A registrar will contact you to arrange a time for the appointment depending on the month of birth of your child. We ask for your patience at this time while we restart this service, if your child was born more recently you may not hear from us straight away.

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 at; https://www.gov.uk/government/news/dont-miss-out-claim-child-benefit-by-phone-or-post-hmrc-tells-new-parents

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

As we enter phase 2 of the national routemap through and out of the covid-19 crisis some changes have been announced to registration services including marriages and civil partnership.

Please find below answers to questions you may have. Please contact your registrar if you have any other enquiries about your planned ceremony. Please visit the National Records of Scotlands website for further details.

MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP Q&A

Are registration offices now permitted to accept notice forms?

Yes, offices may now process marriage and civil partnership notice forms if they have capacity to do so.

By law both parties to a proposed civil, religious or belief marriage or civil partnership are required to submit notice forms to the registrar of the district in which the marriage or civil partnership is to take place, you can find more information here. Please send your notice forms by post as registration offices are not yet open to the public.

Are all couples required to wait the minimum 29 day notice period?

Yes, unless they are granted dispensation (please see below for reasons for dispensations).

The date that notices are lodged will begin the 29 day minimum notice period.

If a couple posted their notice forms during lockdown but it was not lodged until now, would that qualify a dispensation?

The notice-lodged date is the date the notices are entered on our systems, not the date they arrive at the registration office.

Dispensations are currently still only permitted for consideration for terminal illness, armed forces deployment and imminent visa expiry.

Can couples who lodge notice now extend their notice period if required?

Yes, if notices are lodged over the next few weeks and the date of the ceremony has to be changed due to the coronavirus, the notice period can be extended up to 31 December, 2020 (if required).

Where a couple has already lodged notice to be married and cannot re-arrange their ceremony to take place by 31 December, 2020, they should submit new notice forms.  If they have already paid the notice fee and that fee has not been refunded, there will be no additional charge to lodge these new notice forms.

What will a marriage or civil partnership ceremony look like, given physical distancing will still be in place?

During Phase 2, as further public gatherings are permitted, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place outdoors only.

The celebrant or registrar solemnising the marriage or registering the civil partnership will ensure physical distancing measures take place and that the maximum number of attendees is enforced.

Members of three separate households, to a maximum number of 8 people, will be permitted to attend an outdoor wedding or civil partnership.  This is to allow the parties (who may not be part of the same household prior to marriage) and the witnesses to attend.  This limitation does not include the registrar/celebrant or any necessary interpreter.

If a couple is concerned that this household limitation, the small numbers of people permitted to attend or any other aspect of phase 2 restrictions could negatively impact the ceremony they had envisaged, it may be appropriate to postpone their ceremony to a later Phase of the Routemap.

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