Henshaw Review

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library the datasets, statistics, calculations and assumptions underlying Sir David Henshaw's review of the system of child support.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

The assumptions underlying Sir David Henshaw's review of the system of child support are set out in his report "Henshaw D, 2006, Recovering child support: routes to responsibility, CM 6894".

The further internal analysis referred to in his report was based on publicly available statistics and datasets

Wikely N et al, 2001, National Survey of Child Support Agency Clients, Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 152

Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics March 2006

2004-05 Family Resources Survey

2003 Families and Children Study

2004 Families and Children Study

These statistics were used to calculate two key components of the Henshaw report: the impact of an increasing emphasis on private maintenance arrangements on the caseload of the administrative system; and the impact of the reforms on child poverty.

As a result of the reforms which Sir David Henshaw put forward he estimated that the number of children receiving maintenance would increase from 1.1 million to 1.75 million, with an increasing proportion of parents making private arrangements. In steady state Sir David Henshaw estimated the long run administrative savings to be in the region of £200 million, based on a caseload of between 0.8 million and 1.1 million in the new organisation. In making these estimates Sir David identified in his report the need to do further research to support the transition of cases and that there is an element of unpredictability about such transitional flows.

The assumptions about increased numbers of children receiving maintenance were used in conjunction with the Family Resources Survey to estimate the potential impact of the redesigned system on child poverty. This suggested that a full disregard of maintenance in benefit calculations could reduce child poverty by 80,000 to 90,000 children. A further 30,000 children could be lifted out of poverty as a result of expected increases in compliance and the number of cases with a positive maintenance liability.

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