Childbirth

Home Department written question – answered on 13th March 2014.

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Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom Conservative, South Northamptonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) what assessment she has made of the number of births which took place where no medical attendant was present in each of the last five years;

(2) what plans she has to promote child protection through more stringent enforcement of the Birth and Death Registration Act 1953;

(3) pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2014, Official Report, column 732W, of the 113 cases of births in the last five years not registered with the General Register Office, what assessment has been made of those births not registered; and whether any of these cases have been the subject of police investigations, care orders or serious case reviews;

(4) pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2014, Official Report, column 732W, of the 113 cases of births in the last five years not registered with the General Register Office, how many remain unregistered;

(5) pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2014, Official Report, column 732W, of the 113 cases of births in the last five years not registered with the General Register Office, what assessment has been made of the whereabouts and wellbeing status of these cases.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The General Register Office (GRO) is responsible for administering the law and processes for birth registration in England and Wales. The 113 births referred to in the answer of 4 March 2014, Hansard, columns 731-32W, remain unregistered. GRO records do not indicate whether any of these cases have been the subject of police investigations, care orders or serious case reviews.

There are a number of possible reasons for a delay in birth registration and each case needs to be handled with sensitivity. Any enforcement action under the Birth and Death Registration Act 1953 is considered in this context.

Issues such as monitoring the level of medical attendance at births and assessing the whereabouts and wellbeing of children whose birth has not been registered are matters for a number of other organisations, rather than GRO.

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