Registrar volunteers rally to support vital work

Published Thursday, 04 June 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the middle of March meant that public services quickly had to adapt to new ways of working.

Among the many examples of this was at the Register Office, Cheylesmore Manor House, which quickly had to start to prepare for an increase in death registrations.

The Council run office includes a small team of seven registrars and so a request was made to call on other areas within the Council to assist with providing staff who could be trained in registering deaths.

For the past 10 weeks this work has been supported by eight extra officers from the Council’s customer services team and from the Elections Office.

Vickie McCracken, one of the registrars, organised a training plan and within two weeks she had trained the new team.

The training had to be amended during this time, as the services switched from face-to-face appointments to registrations over the telephone.

Vickie said that the team adapted to the changes really well, remained calm and kept the service going.   

She added: “They have stepped into the role of a Deputy Registrar, where they are dealing compassionately and professionally to assist families in Coventry that are suffering the loss of a loved one.

“Their assistance has been crucial to the Register Office being able to continue to provide this service to the community’.

Vickie said: “All of the volunteers have been amazing.”

We couldn’t have managed without them. They are dealing with a completely new role in really difficult circumstances - and feedback from families has been really positive at a distressing time for them.”

Dan Freeman, Customer Experience Manager, said: “We were happy to get involved. We had to adapt to a new role and provide comprehensive support.

“It is great to see how various areas within the Council pull together like this and I know how much they have enjoyed working with such a wonderful team at the Register Office.”

Liz Read, Electoral Services Manager, added: “When the Government postponed the elections - due to be held on 7 May, my team realised that some of our colleagues would need help. So that’s why we were happy volunteer to help other services including the Register Office.” 

The new registrars are continuing to support the Register Office in helping preparations to catch up on a huge backlog of birth registrations.

Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader at Coventry City Council, said that the sensitivity shown by the volunteers is extraordinary.

He added: “Officers have shown incredible commitment. The response to COVID-19 has brought out the very best in many areas of life in Coventry and at a time of great distress for people all the registrars have handled the situation with great compassion and sensitivity.

“This is yet another example in which key workers have shown to be a credit to the city. I’d like to thank them all for their continued hard work.”

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