27 September 2021

Views sought following review of fees for ceremonies conducted by registration service

A consultation is underway to gauge views on an updated fees structure for ceremonies conducted by Aberdeenshire Council’s registration service.

Under the authority’s corporate charging framework, fees must be reviewed every three years, apart from annual inflationary increases.

Aberdeenshire’s non-statutory registration fees were last updated in 2017, with a planned review in 2020 postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Current charges in Aberdeenshire are in some cases well below the average for Scottish councils, as well as being lower than those being charged locally by providers of non-religious services.

A revised fees structure has been developed, with the revised charges remaining below the Scottish average in almost all cases, and views are now being sought on the proposals.

The survey invites respondents to comment on the proposed fees for the various ceremonies offered, and to submit questions, comments or suggestions for the registration service.

The results of the consultation will be brought before the council’s Business Services Committee in November and, if approved, the changes would take effect from January 1 next year.

As well as conducting ceremonies within registration offices and dedicated ceremony rooms, registrars have been able to conduct services in non-council venues since 2002.

Services include civil marriage, civil partnership and the renewal of marriage vows, as well as baby naming and private citizenship ceremonies.

Ceremonies can be held on any day and in any location within Aberdeenshire, tailoring events to the wishes of the couples and individuals concerned.

Statutory fees apply for the provision of small civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies held on a weekday in a council ceremony room with no more than five people present. Councils have discretion to set fees for all other ceremonies that go beyond the statutory minimum.

The income generated offsets the cost of the registration of births, marriages and deaths, family history searches and ceremonial services.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Legal & People, Karen Wiles, said: “Our registration service offers a broad range of services tailored to the needs of customers, and in most cases our charges cover the cost of providing them.

“The updated fees structure would see charges remain lower than the national average in most cases and would help us fully cover the cost of provision and offset the cost of other services offered by the team. We’re keen to hear the views of customers.”

Full details of the proposals are available via the Engage Aberdeenshire website at bit.ly/ACRfees21 and will run until midnight on Sunday, October 24.

Those without internet access will be able to request, complete and return paper surveys at Aberdeenshire Service Points and libraries, or can request paper surveys be posted to them by phoning the Aberdeenshire customer contact centre.