Tuesday, March 02, 2010

BMD certificates

The charge for ordering a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate from the GRO will be going up from 6 April from £7 to £9.25. While I don't have a problem with them needing to cover their costs, I will certainly be dipping into the piggy bank and seeing how many I can order before then, as that's quite a difference once translated to to my current NZ-dollar purchasing-power.


Purple Heather said...

From the latest Lost Cousins newsletter about the cost of certificates:

According to the announcement the increase is to ensure that they cover their costs. However, I find it hard to believe that they don't make a thumping great profit even at £7 a certificate, especially considering that they sell around 2 million a year. How much can it possibly cost to print an A4 sheet of paper, fold it in half, and put it in an envelope?

Fortunately there is no need to conjecture, because in 2008 somebody very perspicaciously wrote to the GRO and used the Freedom of Information Act to get the answers - you can see the response here (http://www.ips.gov.uk/cps/files/ips/live/assets/documents/FOI9902_response.pdf). Looking though the numbers it's hard to come up with a cost of more than £2 a certificate, including printing, labour, postage, and envelopes. No doubt they will claim that there are all sorts of other expenses which aren't listed, but my suspicion is that they are asking us to pay for their failed digitisation projects, DoVE and MAGPIE, which were abandoned a couple of years ago.

Alex said...

Thanks for that link Purple Heather. I find it interesting that they state within that response that historic data is already digitised (unless they are just talking about the indices but it does sound like they are talking about the central certificate info itself) - in which case why not offer a cheaper non-certified, internet-accessible version of this data for family historians?

In their favour, I know from personal experience that if you give them a reference that is incorrect they will search wider than just the quarter/year combo stated in an attempt to find it for you, and they also don't charge more for overseas postage.

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