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Child Support Agency

Volume 281: debated on Wednesday 17 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what items of data are deleted on a Child Support Agency data printout when it is sent to an absent parent; and what are the reasons for each deletion. [37058]

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 16 July 1996:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about data protection issues.
Prior to the issue of a Data Protection print the Agency deletes any information which relates to an individual other than the client requesting the data print. We are prevented from disclosing this information by the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
I hope this is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 27 June, Official Report, columns 228–29, on the Child Support Agency computer system, if he will (a) provide a definition of nationally sensitive or locally sensitive cases and (b) set out the procedures that are followed in designating a case as either nationally or locally sensitive. [37114]

The administration of the Child Support agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 16 July 1996:

I am replying to the your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the Child Support Agency Computer System.
A case is considered nationally sensitive if it involves a VIP; any person so deemed for security reasons; or a transsexual. Decisions on whether a case is to be marked nationally sensitive are made by a section of the Contributions Agency (CA). This classification is then applied to all the Department's computer systems.
At present a case is considered locally sensitive if it involves a member of staff, their partner or a relative of either party; a local dignitary; or any person who asks for their case to be treated as sensitive. These criteria have been reviewed recently and the revised procedures are soon to be issued. The revised instructions state that a case should be regarded as locally sensitive if the Parent With Care (PWC) or Absent Parent (AP) is employed by CSA; a close relative (mother, father, brother or sister) of the PWC or AP is employed by CSA; a member of staff has an interest in a case; or the PWC or AP has requested the case to be made sensitive and the manager considers the request to be valid. The classification applies only on the Child Support Computer System (CSCS).
You also asked about the procedures followed in classifying cases as sensitive. Each Child Support Agency Centre (CSAC) has a nominated manger who is the focal point for sensitive cases.
If a case is identified as being potentially nationally sensitive, the Manager contacts the appropriate section in CA. If CA accepts the case as nationally sensitive all the Department's computer system are annotated accordingly. The nominated manager maintains a control record showing the case details, and all requests to have access to them. All papers are locked away in accommodation separate from the non-sensitive cases.
The same procedures are followed for cases designated as locally sensitive except that the decision on classification is made by a CSA manager and the classification is annotated only on the CSCS, not the other Departmental computer system.
I hope this is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answers on 27 June, Official Report, columns 228–29, on the Child Support Agency, how many cases have been removed from the Child Support Agency computer system due to the process of archiving or weeding out data. [36842]

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Miss Ann Chant to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 16 July 1996:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the Child Support Agency Computer system.
Your question is worded only slightly differently from the series of questions asked by James Pawsey MP, to which I replied recently. No complete cases have been removed from the Child Support Agency Computer System due to the process of weeding or archiving data. The process leaves a basic record on the system to show that there has been contact with the person concerned.
I hope this is helpful.