Council sing praises of a service that’s been hammered by cutbacks

South Ayrshire Council has sung the praises of their registration services this week despite Carrick residents being up in arms at cutbacks.

The council sent out a statement entitled “Council’s registration service is one of the best in Scotland ... it’s official” to highlight the accuracy rate of registrars in South Ayrshire during last year.

That was a year which saw the Girvan registration office in Knockcushan Street which serves the whole of Carrick hit by sudden staff absences in October and these major problems in registering births, marriages and deaths in Carrick have continued on throughout 2015.

That was despite council chiefs insisting the problems of staff shortages at the Girvan office were only “temporary.”

The council highlighted a 99.61% accuracy rate, putting them only behind East Dumbartonshire in terms of Scotland’s local authorities.

Councillor Phillip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council’s Housing and Customer Services portfolio holder even highlighted the cutbacks in staff when praising the results: “The team has not been operating at full capacity, and despite this, they have still managed to achieve the second highest accuracy rating in Scotland.

“It is testimony to the experience of our registrars that our accuracy levels are so high despite them often working under difficult and emotional circumstances.

“I am sure the team will continue to build on this success.”

However, Girvan and South Carrick’s Independent Councillor Alec Clark was in no mood for celebrating.

He said this week: “It is very difficult to celebrate success in Girvan and South Carrick in terms of registration services, when the level of service has been abysmal and has been decimated over the last two years.

“We would only be celebrating if the service went back to a full capacity like we were promised when the Maybole office was closed.

“They are actually turning people away in Carrick and sending them elsewhere at an emotional time.

“Having proper services in theses areas is vital for the regeneration of the economy of Girvan and South Carrick and right now we don’t have that with registration services.”

The Gazette reported last month on how the council is claiming that the level of service will improve at the Girvan registration office.

From Tuesday 1 December a registrar will be there for two half days on a Tuesday and a Friday from 8.45am to 12pm before from 1 February 2016 this increases to a full day from 8.45am to 4pm on a Friday alongside a half day on a Tuesday.