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Child Maintenance Written Answer, 20/03/14 [E/NI/S/W]

Written Answer given in the House of Commons on 20 March 2014 in response to Kate Green's (Lab) question asking the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  in how many cases within the Child Support Agency collection service, excluding those with a deduction from earnings order, the agency was notified of a missed child maintenance payment in the quarter up to and including December 2013; and in what proportion of such cases the non-resident parent was contacted by the Agency within 72 hours.

The Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb, replied that there are currently three statutory maintenance schemes. The 1993 and 2003 schemes are delivered by the Child Support Agency and the 2012 scheme is delivered by the Child Maintenance Service.

In all schemes, the aim is to act within 72 hours of when notified of a missed payment where there is a current liability. The notification trigger comes after a five day tolerance period of a missed payment. This tolerance period is to allow for issues which may have caused the missed payment to be resolved (ie clearances through bank accounts) without the need for intervention. While this trigger is built into the design for the 2012 system, there is no comparable automated process for the 1993 and 2003 systems.

As such, information on (a) the number of notifications of a missed child maintenance payment in cases within the Child Support Agency collection service and (b) the proportion of such cases where the non-resident parent was contacted by the Agency within 72 hours is not available as it is not routinely recorded for management information purposes. To provide this information would require the creation of new information which could be completed and appropriately assured only at a disproportionate cost.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the House of Commons Hansard 20 March 2014 which is available from the UK Parliament website.

Further Information

House of Commons Hansard 20 March 2014