Long term cost savings mean short term cost rises at Births Deaths and Marriages (BDM) after it finishes moving its 10 million paper records to electronic format.
BDM, part of the Department of Internal Affairs, is about to finish a four-year project to computerise its extensive records collection. The department announced the charge to end users for a variety of services would increase from the start of October this year.
But when the project, dubbed Day One, began in 1998 the registrar general Brian Clarke told Computerworld that it would reduce compliance costs "because of the greater efficiencies" (see Govt to automate Births, Deaths system).
"I think that's still the case it's just that we're in the middle of doing stage two and that doesn't happen until stage three," says DIA's general manager for identity service, Annette Offenberger.
Stage one, which involves the computerisation of records dating back to 1848, is due for completion in June 2002. Stage two will see the records indexed fully and that will eventually be available online - that will be searchable from a web browser.
"At the moment we're only geared up for internal searching and to go beyond that is quite a lot more work."
But in the mean time users of the system will be paying more to find certificates or any of the other services offered by BDM.
"At the moment you do but what will happen is that as more departments gain access to the records individuals won't need to request certificates and the like from us because the department can access them directly." This would mean an end to individuals having to go to BDM for basic details to give to another government department.
"It's really at the heart of the government's e-business push. Why enter the information multiple times when you can enter it once and access it repeatedly?"