JIS News

A record 43,845 clients have used the services of the Registrar General Department’s (RGD) service in October. Speaking with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RGD, Dr. Patricia Holness, said that the agency satisfied these clients in the month of October, and that figure represented a vast increase in the number of applications this year, with an average monthly rate of 26,000 applications.
Between April and October, the Agency satisfied a total of 214,566 applications surpassing the production level for the corresponding period last year by 35,380. With continued implementation of new strategies to maintain this growth, the agency is poised to significantly exceed last year’s output.
According to Deputy CEO and Director of Operations at the RGD, Bryan Aikman, the agency was able to satisfy the more than 40,000 applications as a result of the implementation of a third shift in September.
“Based on the increased intake which we anticipated from the Name the Child Project, we implemented a third shift to handle the additional applications which we would receive outside of our usual intake,” he said.
The ‘Name the Child’ Project was an initiative undertaken in an effort to reduce the number of children, whose names do not appear on the RGD’s birth records. The project targeted some 18,000 children who were born between January 1, 2003 and August 31, 2004.
So far, the RGD has satisfied some 1,000 applications of the 1,014 that were submitted under the Name the Child Project and officially recorded 9,733 names to birth records of children born between January 1, 2003 and August 31, 2004 outside of the Project.
The third shift, which operated from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, included the Print Room, Record Updating, and Production Departments as well as the agency’s call centre. This resulted in a 23-hour workday for the staff.
Supervisor of the Record Updating Unit, Audrey Roper Elliott, explained that with the additional shift, the RGD also took the opportunity to revisit outstanding applications. “We were able to go as far back as the late 90’s and got in touch with persons who had outstanding information on their applications.they came in and we were able to satisfy some of the cases that were lagging,” she informed.
The applications, Mrs. Elliot said, included birth, death, and marriage certificates as well as addition of father’s particulars, late entry of name, late registration, re-registration and correction of errors.
“Not only were we able to produce the certificates but our 12 couriers delivered 96 per cent of these satisfied applications to customers across Jamaica,” Dr. Holness explained.
The Agency is also reporting a significant reduction in the amount of money it had to refund to customers for the month. In October, the total amount refunded by the RGD was $186,900 compared with $260,900 in September. “Our total refund has decreased by between 50 and 60 per cent,” Dr. Holness told JIS News.
She also informed that the RGD’s Application Tracking System showed that the agency’s 134 customer service representatives completed 20,550 of the 23,572 applications that they had received for the month of October.
Clarifying the difference in the figures, Dr. Holness said that there was a possibility that the agency could have close to a 100 per cent satisfaction rate for October but the figures would not necessarily reflect this as some applications would be carried over into the following month based on the date of application.
For example, if a client applied on the last day of the month, the certificates would not be due until the following month – some four to six weeks later.
“There are some customers that would not be satisfied (within the month) because they had opted for a product which has a time-line of four to six weeks,” Dr. Holness said.
One of the RGD’s main concerns, Dr. Holness pointed out, was that of persons making applications that the RGD could satisfy. “On average we have at least 200 such customers each month. These include applications for persons who were not born in Jamaica or for individuals who were not married in Jamaica,” she highlighted, adding that the agency received numerous requests for death certificates for Jamaicans who died overseas as well. “To date, we have received over 1,700 applications which we cannot satisfy. These cases we have had to close,” she said.
The RGD is responsible for capturing all vital events – births, deaths, marriages and stillbirths – occurring in Jamaica for the purposes of providing timely statistics and analysis to support planning by the Government.