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Records bodies could be merged

Three organisations charged with handling public records in Scotland, including the burgeoning office responsible for the genealogy boom, have been asked to look at merging.

Ministers have asked the General Register Office for Scotland, National Archives of Scotland and Registers of Scotland to explore the benefits of amalgamation.

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It is claimed that a merger of the three bodies has the potential to deliver savings for the taxpayer while maintaining the high level of services provided.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: “The Scottish Government has been acting to make our public services simpler, sharper, better co-ordinated and more responsive.

“We are asking the General Register Office for Scotland, National Archives of Scotland and Registers of Scotland to work together to explore ways of working more closely together, and the potential of amalgamation.”

The General Registry Office is responsible for births, deaths and marriages as well as historic census data , making its ScotlandsPeople website an asset during the genealogy boom.

The National Archives gather historical documents, while the Registers of Scotland compile property and other legal documents.

Mr Mather added: “This proposal underlines the Government’s commitment to simplifying the public bodies landscape in Scotland. Our Simplification Programme has already delivered a reduction in the number of public bodies from 199 to 154.

“We are on track to reduce this to around 120 in 2011, as well as delivering estimated net savings of around £125m by 2013.”

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