Child Benefit Office and Child Support Agency

Treasury written question – answered on 6th September 2013.

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Photo of Graeme Morrice Graeme Morrice Labour, Livingston

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer

(1) what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to implement an automatic link for the Child Benefit Office to notify the Child Support Agency of its decisions;

(2) what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to improve the sharing of information between the Child Benefit Office and the Child Support Agency;

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the sharing of information between the Child Benefit Office and the Child Support Agency;

(4) what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to reduce the time taken by the Child Benefit Office to carry out investigations.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

As some child benefit decisions may impact on decisions made by the Child Support Agency, the agency has automated access to the child benefit system to check whether child benefit is or is not in payment for a child or young person. The information accessed is limited to that which is proportionate and relevant for the purposes of the agency's functions. As not all child benefit decisions are relevant to the agency, it would be disproportionate and not relevant for the agency's functions to receive notifications of all child benefit decisions.

HM Revenue and Customs has recently reviewed and improved the process and priority given to investigating allegations made by third parties that a claimant may be continuing to receive child benefit for a young person who is no longer in full-time non-advanced education.

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