Meet Ruth Hastie. Registrar for births, deaths and marriages at Warwickshire County Council (WCC).
Ruth started working at WCC 23 years ago and throughout her career has taken on many opportunities including training to become a Deputy Superintendant Registrar to conduct marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships.
Ruth said, “One of the reasons I applied to become a Registrar at WCC was because a couple of years before, I’d had to go and register my mother’s death. I was really nervous before I went but when I got to the registration office, it ended up being such a lovely experience because I was able to talk about my mother. I remember thinking what a nice job it must be, and here I am today!”
During her career at the council, Ruth has been involved in several projects to improve the registration process for residents, including the introduction of “tell us once”, a one-stop-shop scheme to allow bereaved families to more simply notify all relevant government agencies at the time of registering. Ruth said ‘Warwickshire County Council has always been receptive to ideas and embraced suggestions to develop and extend our services. I have always been supported and encouraged by my managers who have also helped me to go on and train for lots of different things.’
Ruth was also one of the Registrars at the first marriage after the first COVID-19 lockdown. As a Deputy Superintendent Registrar, you are required to take notices of marriage and conduct marriages and civil partnerships. This involves asking couples to repeat their legal vows and ring promises and make their ceremony a wonderful and memorable occasion for them. Another Registrar will also be there to complete an entry in the marriage register for the couple to sign, and also present them with a handwritten certificate. Ruth explained, “I was apprehensive at first to be responsible for the first wedding after such a long time in lockdown but when we were there it was absolutely perfect. It was mainly down to the couple who were so happy and committed, and just excited to finally get married! You couldn’t help having a smile on your face, it was a lovely experience and so rewarding to start registering marriages again.” Ruth and the rest of the registrations team are continuing to keep busy catching up on registering births as they were also put on hold during the first lockdown.
Working in registrations is a big responsibility that can be challenging at times, but this is what drives and motivates Ruth and other members in the team, as they all want to do the best job possible for people. Ruth said, “You just want to get everything right for people. Whether it’s taking information for a birth, marriage or death, you need to make sure the questions you ask are completely accurate. When you’re registering such big life occasions, you have to take it quite seriously and write the exact information correctly. As a Registrar, you’re creating a record for the next generations so that they can look back on their family history. Registration records are a huge part of enabling people to find out about their previous ancestors, including who they married and if they had any children. It’s absolutely fascinating knowing that you’re recording that information and future generations will be looking at it.”
Ruth added, “I love my job because it’s a privilege to be a part of people’s special occasions and to meet so many different people. You have to be very meticulous and accurate, but you also have to be a people person. Whether it’s registering a birth or sharing memories of somebody’s life when you’re registering a death – they’re all very special and emotional moments for everybody involved. It’s an honour to be a part of that time in people’s lives and it’s really rewarding. As a Registrar, I just want to make it the best possible experience for those people.”
Ruth is just one example of just how much of a meaningful difference you can make to the community. The breadth of roles at the council means you can shape your own career, whether that’s becoming the best at what you do, progressing with your strengths and ambition, or exploring interests in other areas within the Council, you’ll grow into who you want to be.
To view the latest vacancies at Warwickshire County Council go to www.warwickshire.gov.uk/jobs.