Children: Maintenance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many court orders the Child Support Agency has sought for the recovery of outstanding payments from non-resident parents in each of the last 10 years.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many court orders the Child Support Agency has sought for the recovery of outstanding payments from non-resident parents in each of the last 10 years. (324689)

The table below provides information on the number of liability orders granted in England, Wales and Scotland in each financial year from 2004/5 to 2009/10. Information prior to 2004 is unavailable as this was not recorded for management information purposes.

Number of liability orders granted in England, Wales and Scotland
Year All England and Wales Scotland
April 2004 to March 2005 7,760 7,300 460
April 2005 to March 2006 11,245 10,465 780
April 2006 to March 2007 13,510 12,635 875
April 2007 to March 2008 17,755 16,580 1,175
April 2008 to March 2009 24,675 22,610 2,065
April 2009 to October 2009(1) (latest available information) 14,130 13,290 840
(1 )Figures for 2009/10 are only available until October 2009.

Notes:

1. The term court order is defined as a liability order.

2. A liability order is a document obtained from the court showing that they legally recognise that the debt is owing. This is the same in both England and Wales and Scotland. This is required before the CSA can use litigation powers (Diligence in Scotland).

3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5.

The tables below show other Enforcement Actions, some of which include court action, that have been taken in England, Wales and Scotland in each financial year from 2004/5 to 2009/10. Information prior to 2004 is unavailable as this was not recorded for management information purposes.

England and Wales
April 2004 to March 2005 April 2005 to March 2006 April 2006 to March 2007 April 2007 to March 2008 April 2008 to March 2009 April 2009 to October 2009( 1)
Distress Actions 4,765 9,225 13,625 14,765 18,380 9,325
Judgement Orders 1,315 2,330 1,920 1,390 435 25
3rd Party Debt Orders 1,235 1,710 2,090 1,790 2,395 860
Charging Orders 845 1335 1,850 1,735 2,480 1,615
(1) Latest available information
Scotland
April 2004 to March 2005 April 2005 to March 2006 April 2006 to March 2007 April 2007 to March 2008 April 2008 to March 2009 April 2009 to October 2009( 1)
Attachments 120 125 275 235 270 140
Arrestments 475 450 610 485 890 345
Bills of inhibition 250 575 860 1045 1,745 580
(1) Latest available information
England, Wales and Scotland
April 2004 to March 2005 April 2005 to March 2006 April 2006 to March 2007 April 2007 to March 2008 April 2008 to March 2009 April 2009 to October 2009( 1)
New Deductions from Earnings Orders/Requests n/a 75,760 64,915 (8) 74,550 66,705 38,195
Stock of DEO/R's charging at end of period 127,200 138,300 143,800 153,900 148,400 143,900
DEO/R compliance at end of period (percentage) 78 78 77 76 78 80
Suspended Committal sentences 225 390 420 480 580 440
Committal Sentences 5 15 40 25 45 20
Suspended driving licence disqualification sentences 25 35 30 15 45 35
Driving licence disqualification sentences 5 5 5 5 5 5
Prosecution for non-disclosure of information - - - - (2)1,390 955
(1) Latest available information

(2) Prosecutions for non-disclosure of information only available from October 2008

Notes:

1. Distress actions refer to bailiff actions in England & Wales. This is where, once the debt has been legally recognised, the agency has passed the debt to a bailiff company for collection (or equivalent).

2. Judgement orders apply only to England and Wales. This registers the person with a County Court Judgement Order, which remains on their credit record for six years.

3. Third Party Debt orders in England and Wales instruct a third party to pay any funds owed to, or held on behalf of, the non-resident parent to the agency instead. In practice this is typically used for banks and building societies.

4. Charging orders in England and Wales are where a County Court Order for the legally recognised debt is attached to the equity in the non-resident parent's property.

5. Attachments refer to actions taken by Sheriff Officers in Scotland on the agency's instruction to attach certain goods and remove for auction if the debt is not settled.

6. Arrestments refer to actions taken by Sheriff Officers in Scotland on the agency's instruction to serve an arrestment on a third party holding funds owed to, or held on behalf of, the non-resident parent to pay to the agency instead. In practice this is typically used for banks and building societies.

7. Bills of Inhibition in Scotland do not attach directly to the non-resident parent's property, but are a personal prohibition preventing heritable property being transferred, alienated or disposed of by the non-resident parent.

8. The number of new Deduction from Earnings Order/Requests showed a marked increase in January 2007. This was due to a fix on the CS2 system in December 2006 to suspend 8,500 ineffective Deduction from Earnings Orders on cases where employers had informed the agency that the non-resident parent on that case was no longer in their employment. Many of these were reinstated as Deduction from Earnings Order/Requests in January 2007 resulting in a large increase that is in effect not real. In order to allow more consistent comparisons, figures for January 2007 have been removed and therefore figures for April 2006 to March 2007 and August 2006 to July 2007 are underestimated by around 6,000 requests.

9. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

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