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David Laws (Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Children, Schools and Families; Yeovil, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the time taken by the Child Support Agency to secure a liability order; and what the key factors are in determining that timescale.

Photo of James Plaskitt

James Plaskitt (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions; Warwick and Leamington, Labour)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 17 July 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions regarding the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the time taken by the Child Support Agency to secure a liability order, and what the key factors are in determining that timescale.

The current time taken to secure a liability order from the courts from first referral to the Child Support Agency enforcement teams is 115 calendar days in England and Wales and 171 days in Scotland. The key factors in determining this timescale are; primarily, the local availability of court services and the requirement to allow a period of time between the court summons and court date, to allow the non-resident parent time to prepare for the hearing.

In Scottish courts, the non-resident parent also has the ability to object to the courts, which can impact on the time taken to obtain the liability order.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

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