Letter from Doug Smith to Mr. Frank Field, dated March 2003
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in replying to your recent parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You ask what percentage of lone parents refuse to disclose the details of the father of their child (a) in the year prior to the introduction of the CSA and (b) in the latest year for which he has data.
I do not have the information to answer this fully. I do however have some relevant information in relation to sole parents who are in receipt of "prescribed benefits". They are obliged to provide information to the Agency. Some parents may not wish to provide this because they have a genuine fear of violence or intimidation from the other parents, or where there are child welfare issues, which would mean that it would not be prudent to contact the other parent. We do not press the parent with care to provide information about the alleged other parent if there are reasonable grounds to believe that to do so may harm or distress the parent with care or any child living with him or her—this is known as "good cause".