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‘tell Us Once' Automatically Updates Government Departments

27th June 2017

A new service for the bereaved in Highland is launched today by The Highland Council called ‘Tell Us Once'. The service will ensure that when a death is registered in the Highland area, a notification is automatically issued to most government agencies which removes the need for grieving families to notify multiple public bodies. The Registrar will explain this opt-in service when a death is being registered.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of the Council's People Committee described the service as: "An extremely helpful support arrangement for people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one which is always a stressful time. Tell Us Once will help the bereaved while they are making necessary arrangements, often within limited timescales. The new service is a good example of government departments working together to ease the pressure on individuals."

Chairman of the Corporate Resources Committee, Councillor Alister MacKinnon praised the scheme and said: "At a very difficult time Tell Us Once will lighten the burden of having to notify various government departments when there are many other arrangements to be made. I am hopeful that Tell Us Once will be used extensively as it will mean that passports, driving licences, housing benefit, blue badges, High Life Highland library and membership cards, and DWP benefits for example will be automatically reviewed without the need for the bereaved to make multiple contacts."

To make the most effective use of the service, it is important that key documents are made available to the Registrar. Councillor Allan Henderson, Chairman of the Council's Places Committee added: "I very much welcome this service and encourage people to opt-in to benefit from the scheme. The opt-in process is very quick and easy. Where possible, key documents relating to the deceased person should be provided to the Registrar when registering the death as this will ensure that the various government departments will be notified. This includes details of the deceased person's driving licence and passport numbers, any benefits that were in payment from the DWP and the Council, their national insurance number, etc. This service should help at a time of personal loss."

Further information regarding the Tell Us Once Service is available on the Council’s website at:

1. This opt-in service is used to automatically notify the following agencies:

• HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - to deal with tax and cancel benefits

• Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - to cancel benefits or entitlements, for example Income Support or State Pension

• Her Majesty’s Passport Office - to cancel a British passport

• Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) - to cancel a driving licence

o and if using the online service, to remove the person as the keeper for up to five vehicles (Road Tax is not transferable you must re-tax the vehicle before it is driven)

• The Highland Council - to cancel Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, a Blue Badge, inform council housing services and remove the person from the electoral register

• High Life Highland - to cancel library and membership cards

2. Depending on the agencies that are to be notified, people using Tell Us Once will be required to provide the following details of the person who died:

• date of birth

• driving licence number and / or vehicle registration number

• passport number, town and country of birth

• their National Insurance number (if you want to notify Local Government Pension Fund you will need the deceased’s national insurance number, as it is used to locate the appropriate fund)

• details of any benefits or entitlements they were getting, for example State Pension

• details of any local council services they were getting, for example Blue Badge

• details of any public sector or armed forces pension schemes they were getting or paying in to

• the name and address of their next of kin

• the name and address of any surviving spouse or civil partner their date of birth and / or National Insurance number

• the name, address and contact details of the person or company dealing with their estate (property, belongings and money), known as their ‘executor’ or ‘administrator’

3. People using Tell Us Once need permission from the next of kin, the executor, the administrator or anyone who was claiming joint benefits or entitlements with the person who died, before they provide the deceased person’s details.

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