Children: Maintenance

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the March 2017 report of the NAO entitled Child maintenance: closing cases and managing arrears on the 1993 and 2003 schemes, HC 1054, for what reason fewer than expected parents who were asked by her Department to join the new scheme have been joining that scheme when their 1993 and 2003 scheme cases are closed.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The findings of the NAO’s report was based on information gathered in 2016, a little over half way through the case closure programme. The Department’s estimate refers to the number of arrangements once the case closure process is complete. The NAO’s report also does not take into account the order in which cases were closed. To minimise disruption to Child Support Agency arrangements, those where no money was being paid were closed first and the Case Closure Outcomes survey published in December 2016 found that, clients who did not have maintenance payments flowing under the CSA, were less likely to set up a new arrangement with the CMS than parents whose CSA case had maintenance flowing.

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