There have been some changes to the normal death registration process. These are to facilitate social distancing practices and to make the process easier. As a result, a death is currently registered via a telephone appointment with the registry office.
The first step is to contact the doctor (GP) or hospital about obtaining the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). If a doctor is able to issue the MCCD, the death can be registered with the registrars office of the council borough where the death has occurred. You can check this using the council area look-up tool.
If this is Swindon, please call the registrars office on 01793 522738 to make a telephone appointment to register the death.
After this appointment, the registrar can issue paperwork straight to ourselves or to your chosen funeral director. You will also receive a copy or copies of the death certificate after this appointment via the post.
The death must be registered with the registrar within five days. Any delay due to the coroner’s involvement is not counted within this time frame. This is a legal requirement in England and Wales.
Involvement of the Coroner
If a doctor is unable to issue the MCCD, then the death will be referred to the coroner. In these circumstances, the office of HM Coroner will call you to discuss further options, but it may take longer than usual to arrange the funeral.
The person who registers the death is formally known as the ‘the informant’. Only relatives or certain other people are qualified by law to register a death. This will also depend on where the death occurred.
If the death occurred inside a house or public building, such as a hospital or care home, the following people may register the death:
- A relative
- Someone who was present at the death.
- The occupier of the house or an official from the public building where the death occurred.
- The person making the arrangements with the funeral director.
Information You Need to Register a Death
When you speak to the registrar, they will be as helpful as they can in registering the death. They will need the following information:
- Date and place of the death
- The address of the deceased person
- Their full name (including the maiden name of a married woman). Any former married or civil partnership names or other names by which the deceased was known can also be recorded.
- Where and when they were born (the town or county is sufficient if the exact address is not known). Only the country of origin is required for people born outside the United Kingdom. The country is recorded according to its current name if this is different from how it was known when the deceased was born.
- Their occupation
- Details of their wife or husband or civil partner (if any)
- If possible, you should also have the deceased’s NHS card (also called the medical card)
The registration process takes approximately 30 minutes.
You will be given the opportunity to purchase death certificates for a fee of £11 each. These may be required to advise financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies and pension providers.
You will also be offered the ‘Tell Us Once’ service, which enables you to notify relevant local authority and government departments, for example electoral roll, Blue Badge, the DWP, HMRC and the DVLA, via one phone call or online form.