Widow blasts ‘dis­gust­ing’ or­deal to reg­is­ter death

COUN­CIL APOL­O­GISES TO GRIEV­ING WIFE AF­TER OF­FICE MOVE DIS­RUPTS SER­VICE

Bangor Mail - - News - Jayme Hud­sp­ith

AN­GLE­SEY coun­cil has apol­o­gised af­ter a griev­ing widow faced a “dis­gust­ing” or­deal to reg­is­ter her hus­band’s death.

Carys Kilkelly, from Ben­l­lech, lost hus­band Ger­ald a week last Fri­day at the nurs­ing home where he lived.

But a coun­cil of­fice move left her strug­gling to reg­is­ter the death within the five days re­quired by law.

She tried to reg­is­ter her hus­band’s death with the coun­cil on Mon­day, but found all of the num­bers listed on the web­site were dis­con­nected and the of­fice had moved.

Mrs Kilkelly said: “My hus­band passed away last Fri­day and I col­lected his ef­fects on Satur­day.

“By law, you have to reg­is­ter a death within five days of their pass­ing. There were three num­bers listed on­line you can call to reach the regis­trar. All three of the num­bers were dis­con­nected.

“I called the main switch­board, which is au­to­mated and you can’t speak to any­one. I went through all the op­tions – press six for the regis­trar. Again, it was dis­con­nected.

“So I called the main switch­board again and went to a dif­fer­ent de­part­ment. I asked them to trans­fer me to the cor­rect de­part­ment. Again, it was dis­con­nected.

Mrs Kilkelly de­cided to drive to the regis­trar’s of­fice in Llangefni to seek help in per­son but, when she ar­rived, she found the of­fice closed and aban­doned.

She said: “There was a sign on the door say­ing they had moved, but no di­rec­tions or any in­for­ma­tion as to where they had moved to.

“I asked a girl on re­cep­tion, who was very help­ful and gave me di­rec­tions, but the area was very con­fus­ing.

“It was like a build­ing site. There were no signs to tell me where I was headed or what was what.

“I fi­nally asked a man who di­rected me to a room where two women were sur­rounded by boxes and pa­pers.

“I told them I was here to reg­is­ter a death and was in­formed by one of the women that I couldn’t do that now and that the web­site should have been up­dated to re­flect that.

“I told them that it hadn’t. They said the next ap­point­ment I could have was Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 3, which was the last day I le­gally had to reg­is­ter my hus­band’s death.”

Mrs Kilkelly said she was told she could drive to the regis­trar in Holy­head but their of­fices wouldn’t be open un­til Wed­nes­day ei­ther.

She added: “To make things worse I couldn’t get out be­cause the car park had been blocked.

“I was on my own. This was the last thing that I needed.

“It’s dis­gust­ing. The coun­cil should have some sort of plan when it’s a de­part­ment as im­por­tant as this.

“It’s no one’s fault ex­cept An­gle­sey coun­cil. They should apol­o­gise for this, and even an apol­ogy is not re­ally good enough. No one should have to go through what I went through when they’re mourn­ing a loved one.”

A coun­cil spokesper­son said: “Firstly, we’d like to apol­o­gise un­re­servedly to the lady con­cerned and for any up­set this event may have caused, and we shall be writ­ing to her di­rectly.

“The Reg­is­tra­tion Ser­vice is re­lo­cat­ing from the Shire­hall to Bryn Cefni.

“This has in­evitably re­sulted in some dis­rup­tion to the ser­vice due to a sig­nif­i­cant of­fice move, the in­stal­la­tion of new IT and tele­phony sys­tems, and re­lo­ca­tion of sen­si­tive and con­fi­den­tial doc­u­ments.

“The re­lo­ca­tion of the Reg­is­tra­tion of­fice has meant a very short break in ser­vice, where no ap­point­ments or regis­tra­tions could be made. How­ever, ser­vices will re­sume on Oc­to­ber 2.

“As part of our Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Plan, a no­tice pro­vid­ing de­tails of the of­fice move was in­cluded on the coun­cil’s in­ter­net page, and this high­lighted the de­tails of the move and the short break in ser­vice.

“This no­tice was avail­able and sign­posted via our ‘News­room’ page and shared on our so­cial me­dia chan­nels.

“On re­flec­tion, this should have been more clearly sign­posted on our main front in­ter­net page.

“The num­bers to the right of the no­tice are the of­fi­cial Regis­trar’s con­tact de­tails, which we sus­pect the com­plainant used, but these are cur­rently out of use. Again, these num­bers should have been redi­rected to our Cyswllt Môn Team and Busi­ness Sup­port staff, so that timely and ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion could be pro­vided in the in­terim pe­riod.

“With re­gards to sig­nage, the in­ten­tion was to place new sig­nage in key lo­ca­tions to­day prior to the ser­vice re­sum­ing.

“Mov­ing for­ward, we in­tend to place the above in­for­ma­tion on the front page of our in­ter­net to en­sure that cus­tomers can eas­ily be sign­posted to these im­por­tant changes.

“We will also be in­clud­ing sin­gle point of con­tact de­tails to en­sure that cus­tomers can be ad­vised of the changes and/ or their re­quest for ser­vice will be re­ferred to our Reg­is­tra­tion Team for ac­tion when the ser­vice re­sumes.”

■ Ger­ald and Carys Kilkelly on their wed­ding an­niver­sary, the last photo they took to­gether be­fore he died

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