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Legal and regulatory frameworks

Roles and responsibilities for civil registration

The civil registration law should specify the government agency where the central or national authority for the civil registration system will be located. 

A registrar-general or director-general is usually appointed to provide oversight of the civil registration system, and the law should specify the general authority and duties of the registrar-general. In practice, the civil registration of vital events usually takes place at a local registration office or registration unit, and the civil registration law should include provisions for establishing those offices. Sometimes, smaller secondary registration areas are established under a primary local area to improve the registration process. 

The civil registration law may also designate the agency for tabulating and compiling vital statistics. It may or may not be the agency responsible for civil registration. 

Duties and responsibilities of the local civil registrar

The duties and responsibilities of the registrar should be clearly stated in civil registration law and should typically include conduct or oversight of:
  • Recording specific information regarding vital events according to established methods and procedures
  • Ensuring compliance with registration law
  • Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of each record
  • Adopting such measures as are required to enable the to be informed of the necessity, procedures and requirements of registration, and the value of vital statistics
  • Taking custody of records
  • Ensuring the completion of a statistical report for each registered vital event and its transmission according to a regular time schedule to the compiling agency, for data processing and dissemination
  • Issuing certificates or copies of the vital records upon request
  • Providing customer services
  • In the case of death registration, ensuring that the certification of the cause of death is part of the documentation.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2014). Principles and recommendations for a vital statistics system. (Sections 328–334). United Nations, New York. 

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