Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

House of Lords written question – answered on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope Spokesperson for Work and Pensions

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to publish its client fund accounts showing the most recent levels of outstanding debt owed to parents with care.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission about the proportion of outstanding debt owed to parents with care that is likely to be recoverable.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission about its debt reduction strategy.

Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (also in Department for Work and Pensions), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government)

It was the intention of the commission to publish its client fund accounts as soon as the House returned from the Summer Recess. It has not been possible to adhere to that timetable.

The commission is now working towards laying the 2008-09 client funds account by 31 March 2010. To this end, the commission has developed a joint work plan with the National Audit Office.

Upon transfer of responsibility for the Child Support Agency functions to the commission, a review was undertaken to assess the level to which outstanding maintenance arrears were collectable. The conclusion reached was that the assumptions used previously had been over-optimistic and should be revised downwards to more realistic levels. The commission currently estimates that £1,065 million is potentially collectable.

The work plan with the National Audit Office includes a further review of the arrears classification to identify the proportion of the £1.065 million that is likely to be collected.

The commission currently prioritises collection of ongoing regular maintenance above collection of arrears. However, the full balance of arrears remains due and the commission is committed to maximising the value of the arrears it collects, within available funding.

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