PLANS to establish a near 24 hour service for weddings and civil partnerships in South Derbyshire have been nixed by council chiefs.
Derbyshire County Council revealed a ‘lack of interest’ has seen it scrap proposals that would have seen ‘greater flexibility’ after various problems were identified with the new policy following a consultation with staff and members of the public.
However, the authority would be offering a slightly extended service between 8am and 8pm.
A report into the proposal stated: “As a result of the consultation, 49 out of 62 employees responded and 33 indicated that they would be willing to provide a service between 8am to 8pm.
“The majority who responded had raised concerns about health and safety and remuneration.
“It appeared that there was support for a move to a reasonable extension of the hours between 8am to 8pm but not for extending beyond these hours.
“Five out of 102 licensed venues in the county had responded and these all supported the principle of extended hours, although three did not expect to take advantage of the changes.
“The low number of responses received from venues, and the content of responses, also demonstrated that there did not appear to be any great demand to extend operating hours beyond the times proposed.
“It was therefore recommended that the county council extended the hours during which it would provide marriages and conduct civil partnerships to 8am to 8pm – this will include Bank Holidays, subject to staff availability.
“The service would not be provided on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.
“One issue that arose during the consultation exercise was the lack availability of registration staff to undertake ceremonies at the busy and popular times – mainly on a Friday or Saturday – which was adversely impacting on business. This issue is currently being considered.
“It was felt that the proposed extended service could be provided utilising existing staff working voluntarily beyond their current contracted hours.
“All new employees would be employed on contracts that took into account the revised opening hours.
The decision was given to the county council to decide whether or not it wished to extend the hours as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Despite support the 24 hour plan, the 12 hour scheme was approved.