Registrars keep legal records of every birth, marriage, civil partnership and death in their districts. Their duties depend on which type of registry work they are employed in.
Depending on their job title, they could issue birth, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates. Additional and superintendent registrars are also able to perform weddings and civil partnerships.
Registrars are responsible for keeping legal records of every birth, marriage, civil partnership and death within their own districts.
When a new child is born, the parent(s) will need to register the birth. The registrar interviews the parent(s) to find out the child's name, date of birth and any other relevant details, before filling in the official forms. If all the information given is correct, the registrar will then issue an official birth certificate.
When someone dies, their relatives will need to see a registrar in order to register the death. The registrar will interview the relatives to get all the relevant information, such as the deceased person's name and cause of death.
If the registrar thinks there is anything suspicious about the death, they have to report it to the coroner. The law in England and Wales states that all deaths (including stillbirths) must be registered within five days.
Registrars interview people before they get married to check that they are legally allowed to marry. For example, they would check the couples' ages, to see if they are both old enough to marry without their parents' consent.
When a wedding or civil partnership takes place, the registrar is present to register the event. When they have reached the grade of superintendent, registrars are allowed to conduct marriage ceremonies themselves.
Superintendent registrars can marry people in register offices and also at various approved premises throughout the UK. For example, at certain stately homes and hotels, it is possible for registrars to carry out marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.
It is important that registrars are willing to work unsocial hours. Most weddings take place on Saturdays and Sundays, so weekend work is very common.
Note: major changes in this area of work are planned to be introduced over the next couple of years. These changes may affect the number of vacancies available, and also the type of work carried out by registrars.
Couples intending to marry will have more choice about where the wedding takes place and how the ceremony is carried out. There will also be far more computerisation of records.
It is now possible to register civil partnerships for same-sex couples over the age of 16. Civil partnerships enable same-sex couples to gain legal recognition for their relationships.
You will probably need to travel to different places within your district to carry out marriage ceremonies, so it would be useful to have a driving licence and access to a vehicle.
If you become a superintendent registrar, you will have to speak in front of people when carrying out the marriage ceremony, so it's important that you are a confident public speaker.
Pay Salaries vary depending on the post and local agreements.
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Salaries for registrars are in the range of £18,000 - £23,000 a year, rising to around £28,000 a year. Higher salaries are possible for superintendent registrars.
Hours of work Registrars normally work 36-37 hours per week. This is likely to include Saturdays and some Sundays and bank holidays. They might also have to do on-call work, to record deaths outside office hours. Part-time work is sometimes available.
Demand Demand for registrars is steady.
Vacancies occur only occasionally. Changes in this area of work are likely to be introduced over the next few years, which may affect the employment status of registrars, the number of vacancies available, and the type of work they do.
Where could I work? Registrars are statutory officers paid by the local authority, but are responsible to the Registrar General.
Promotion is usually from additional registrar to deputy and then to registrar and superintendent.
Opportunities for registrars occur in offices in most towns and cities throughout England and Wales.
Where are vacancies advertised? Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers and at Jobcentre Plus.
The LG jobs website is a good place to look for all local government vacancies.
Entry routes There are no set entry routes into this career. However, employers prefer entrants to be educated to at least GCSE, or equivalent, level. Passes at grade C or above in subjects like English and Maths would be useful.
A Foundation or Higher Diploma in Public Services would be very useful.
Training Most of the training to become a registrar is done on-the-job. You will be trained in areas such as registration law and procedures.
NVQs in Business and Administration are available at levels 2, 3 and 4. These courses contain units of relevance to people wishing to go into this career.
There are no minimum entry requirements for this career; however, you should have a good standard of general education. GCSE passes at grade C or above in subjects such as English Language and Maths would be very useful.
Some applicants have more GCSEs, or higher level qualifications such as A levels.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
No formal academic qualifications are specified. However, applicants with administrative experience have an advantage.
Those from certain backgrounds cannot work as a registrar whilst continuing in their employment. These include: doctors, midwives, ministers of religion, funeral directors, and anyone working in the life assurance industry.
NVQs in Business and Administration are available at levels 1, 2 and 3. These courses contain units of relevance to people wishing to go into this career.
Most training takes place in the work-place, including detailed training in registration law.
Edexcel offers a Level 3 BTEC National Award in Applied Law at centres throughout the UK.
The Law Society
Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)