Freedom of Information Request

Deaths during the pandemic

Received: 20 April 2020

Barnet has a relatively elderly population and has had a relatively large incidence of COVID-19 cases thus far. Part of the public health, economic and goverment response to the pandemic relies on analysis ONS data based on registered deaths. In recent years the ONS has reported an increase in the time taken to register deaths and some local authorities are taking longer than 5 days more frequently. There would appear to be a risk that the pandemic response is ill-informed or delayed because of a failure to pick up significant numbers of unregistered deaths.

It is therefore of public interest to understand how quickly Barnet is managing to register deaths during the pandemic in order to understand whether there is a significant and/or rising backlog of unregistered deaths. It is also of public interest to know if there has been many more deaths than those which have so far been registered since it may be necessary to escalate the public health response to avoid further deaths.

Please provide the following information for each working day for the registry over the past 120 days (counting back from the date at which the response to this request is drafted):

1. number of outstanding deaths notified to the council but yet to be registered 2. number of outstanding deaths notified to the council for which a death certificate has not yet been completed, printed and sent to a next of kin / executor (if it is the case that printing death certificates occurs independently of their registration) 3. a breakdown showing the number of days since notification of all outstanding unregistered deaths

In the event this information is not available on the requested daily basis over the last 90 days please provide it with as much granularity as possible, eg weekly. It is expected that this information is available as part of the council's normal service performance monitoring and also because, as mentioned above, the ONS monitors delays in registering deaths.

In the event that any of the above information is not available in exactly this form please provide as near as possible the statistical data for the same time period showing performance monitoring data regarding the backlog / outstanding death certification and registration process.

In the event of any questions regarding this request please contact the requestor as soon as reasonably practicable and do not wait until the end of the statutory response period.

Outcome / Documents

  • Response (cost exceeds limit) - application/pdf - Download

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