The Office for National Statistics has signed a deal with Siemens Business Services to digitise 250 million birth, marriage and death records.
The three-year Digitisation of Vital Events project will involve scanning, digitising and indexing records dating back to 1837 to improve services for members of the public seeking certificates.
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Processes will be streamlined and automated at the ONS, which responded to more than two million applications for certificates last year.
The 80,000 microfilms used to archive the ONS' records will be scanned and encrypted and the images transmitted to Siemens' business process operation centre in India for data capture. The contract includes targets for completeness, accuracy and quality.
ONS project director Carrie Armitage said, "It is essential to create new solutions to save time and money and give better service to the public, particularly as there is a growing number of applications for certificates."