Performance indicators have been set for those aspects of child maintenance activity that are most critical to the objectives set out in the Government’s strategy on arrears published in January 2013, namely to prevent the build up of arrears in the first place and prioritise the recovery of arrears where this will benefit children today. We therefore have indicators, for example, on the clearance of cases, collections, the number of cases contributing towards current liability and the number of children benefiting. A simple indicator for the collection of arrears would not reflect the objectives of the strategy. Since 2010 we have collected almost £600 million in arrears.
The recommendations are set out on pages 20 to 34 of the Advisory Panels 2011 Report “Advisory Panel on Arrears of Child Maintenance” which can be found at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120716161734/http:/www.childmaintenance.org/en/pdf/advisory-panel-arrears-sep-11.pdf
In response to the report the Department published its Arrears and Compliance Strategy 2012 – 2017 – “Preparing for the future, tackling the past.” which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214338/cm-arrears-and-compliance-strategy-2012-2017.pdf
In December 2012, the Department introduced two sections of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008; the ability to write off debt in prescribed scenarios and to accept part payment in full and final satisfaction.
We have also trialled the use of the Australian Model of arrears classification, and are considering the results to inform future action.