IT system updates are biggest cost in same-sex marriage law

Changes to IT systems could be the biggest costs in pushing through same-sex marriage laws, a government report has found

They say you can’t put a price on true love, but a government consultation into same-sex marriage has done just that. According to an impact assessment report, the Home Office has found that changes to IT systems could be the biggest cost associated with the change in law.

It will cost up to £4m to take out references to marriage between men and women from government IT systems, found the report.

The Home Office has received more than 100,000 responses to its consultation proposal to push through legislation that will give same-sex couples equal rights to get married, which ends today.

The impact assessment estimated the largest expenditure would be through changes to the General Register Office (GRO) IT system, which could cost up to £2m. The GRO will require changes to its Registration Online (RON) system to allow for same-sex couples to marry. But it said this would be a one-off cost spread over two years.

There are currently significant functional differences between civil marriage and civil partnerships on the RON IT system, it said.

The Department for Work and Pensions faced costs of £1m to update benefits and pensions systems to allow same-sex couples to be recorded as married or in a civil partnership.

Other costs included up to £250,000 to reform HMRC’s IT systems, up to £200,000 for the Office for National Statistics, and £165,000 for the Ministry of Justice courts’ FamilyMan IT system.

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