Widow blasts ‘disgusting’ ordeal to register death
COUNCIL APOLOGISES TO GRIEVING WIFE AFTER OFFICE MOVE DISRUPTS SERVICE
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