Technical problems take down registration of births, deaths and marriages
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    Technical problems take down registration of births, deaths and marriages

    © Google Street View
    The offices of Brussels-City commune
    © Google Street View

    Members of the public have reported problems this week when attempting to register births, deaths and marriages in Brussels-City as well as several other communes in the capital. The problem is a new computer system introduced by the federal government to make all new registrations take place digitally, to replace the paper documents used until now. The system came into operation on Monday.

    However according to a spokesperson for Ahmed El Ktibi, the Brussels councillor in charge of civil status, the system was introduced without a test phase. “It started up immediately without us being able to try it out,” he told Bruzz. “We’re now looking internally to see how we can limit the damage.”

    Another spokesperson, this time for the population service in charge of registrations, told the paper the problems were limited, brief in duration and rapidly resolved.

    That is not, however, what members of the public were being told. “Last week our son was born,” said Daan Fonck. “On Monday I went to register the birth and they told me I couldn’t.” According to him, the officials at the commune said he should try again “in several weeks”.

    The consequences are not merely bureaucratic. “Our son now has no national number,” he said. “That means it’s also impossible to register him with the mutuality. So for the time being we receive no reimbursement or birth allowance, and also no child benefit.”

    The problems are not confined to Brussels-City; Bruzz also reports problems in Jette, where councillor Claire Vandevivere said, “Since Monday we’ve been unable to input anything into the system.”

    Councillors from the 19 communes of the capital will now meet on Monday to draw up a statement, intended for the federal government, detailing the various problems their services have encountered.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times