Legal and regulatory frameworks
System structure and the law
Depending on the size and conditions of the country, the structure (or architecture) of the CRVS system can take several different formats. If the law places responsibility for CRVS at the national government level, the system is centralised. If the responsibility is placed at a state or provincial government level, the system is decentralised.
In a centralised system, CRVS is coordinated by a single set of standards for operation of the system. The laws and regulations are consistent and the same forms and procedures are used throughout the country. In centralised systems, local registration districts all have the same requirements, making it easier for the central authority to provide training and technical assistance. Preservation of vital records also generally follows more uniform archival practices in a centralised system.
However, in a centralised system it may be more difficult for local areas to customise data collection forms to add items of health interest specific to their areas.
In a decentralised system, each state or province may have its own CRVS laws and procedures. These may differ throughout the country. This can allow for management of the system that is appropriate for the different states and territories involved, depending on local laws, customs, capacity and so on. However, registration processes, data collection forms, and data items may not be consistent throughout the country making tabulations of national statistics more difficult.
In a decentralised system, states or provinces can more easily collect items of health interest specific to their own areas. Also, in decentralised systems, individuals must obtain copies of vital records from the state or province where the record was originally registered.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (1998). Handbook on civil registration and vital statistics systems: Preparation of a legal framework. United Nations, New York.