Agenda item

Celebratory Services - Relocation and Fees Review

-           Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.


Councillor Rushforth, Cabinet Member for Culture and Tourism, introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services proposing to relocate Celebratory Services to Clifton Park Museum and revise fees for Services delivered under the Well Being Power.


The Registration Service, delivered by the Local Authority on behalf of the General Register Officer (GRO), was governed by the Registrar General and delivered in accordance with Legislation and the GRO good practice guide.  The Service offered a range of statutory and non-statutory services.  Statutory fees were set by the Registrar General for certain services, applied nationally and could not be varied.  The local authority had discretion to deliver additional services in accordance with the Well Being Power contained in the Local Government Act 2000.


Celebratory services were primarily delivered at present from the Town Hall.  A premises rationalisation programme had enabled the Council to improve the use of the Town Hall and transferred the Members’ base there from the Eric Manns Building.  It had also created an opportunity to review and improve facilities for the delivery of celebratory services with Clifton Park Museum having been identified as the preferred site.


The relocation would bring significant benefits to celebratory services as well as advantages/opportunities for Clifton Park Museum and the Town Hall:-


-          Improved sustainability for the Museum, increase to opening hours, potential visitor numbers and likely supplementary spend.

-          Provides opportunities for Heritage Services, in partnership with Green Spaces,  to increase revenue through the potential to offer reception package options e.g. function room hire, catering.

-          Possibility of closing Town Hall on Saturdays if no other functions were taking place.

-          Possibility of increase revenue at Town Hall if the Garden Room/John Smith Room become available for hire.

-          Improved access for Members and others to facilitate within the Town Hall.


It was proposed that group citizenship ceremonies continue to be delivered from the Town Hall due to the large number of attendees, the requirement for the involvement of the Mayor or other dignitary and the expectation that they were delivered in a Civic setting.


However, private citizenship ceremonies, attended by individual citizens, their families and guests would be held at Clifton Park Museum.  These were only delivered when citizens were unable to attend a group ceremony.


It was proposed that the new Service model be implemented as from 1st December, 2013, as a number of customers had already made bookings for the Town Hall during 2013.  It would also allow sufficient time for the preparation of facilities in the Museum.


A full fees review for celebratory services had not been carried out for over 5 years and the full cost of services provided was not currently being met by the fees charged.  Since fees were last set, the Register Office had moved from Bailey House to Riverside House with the majority of celebratory services taking place in the Town Hall.  The change in location and the need to offer off-site delivery of celebratory services came with additional costs for caretaking and building attendants, neither of which was accounted for in current fees.  In order to minimise the impact on customers, it was proposed that the increases to fees were tied in with the relocation of celebratory services to Clifton Park Museum.


The proposed set of fees and charges was set out in the Appendix submitted.


Cabinet Members welcomed this report and suggested that as part of the relocation of the services to the Museum that consideration be given to wedding packages that could be tailored to meet individual needs at these facilities.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the relocation of Marriages, Civil Partnerships and individual Citizenship ceremonies from the Town Hall to Clifton Park Museum be approved with effect from 1st December, 2013.


(2)  That the changes to the fees for non-statutory celebratory services be approved.


(3)  That the required increase in opening hours of Clifton Park Museum to accommodate the requirement to deliver statutory services be approved.


(4)  That the resultant budget pressure on Heritage Services be noted.

Supporting documents: