Children: Maintenance

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of Alison Seabeck Alison Seabeck Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what powers the Child Maintenance Service has to address non-compliance by employers with a notice of deduction of earnings; and how many cases have there been of such non-compliance in each of the last three years.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

It is a criminal offence under section 32(8) of the Child Support Act 1991 not to comply with a deduction from earnings order. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action being taken against the employer, which can include a fine of up to £500.

The 2012 child maintenance scheme, administered by the Child Maintenance Service, was opened to all new applicants on 25 November 2013. We are not yet in a position to release full statistics for this scheme. When 2012 system data become available and fully assured they will be released as part of a managed process, which will be pre-announced and in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

With regard to cases on the 1993 and 2003 schemes operated by the Child Support Agency (CSA), it is not possible to specify the exact number of instances of non-compliance with these orders. This is due to the fact that while data are collected on the numbers of deduction from earnings orders not receiving payment, this can be for reasons other than non-compliance, including time delays of the employer implementing the request and the time to action a change in employment circumstances.

However, information on the number of prosecutions under section 32(8) of the Child Support Act 1991 in cases on the 1993 and 2003 schemes can be found on page 48 of the CSA Quarterly Summary of Statistics at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-statistics-december-2013

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