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Child Support Agency

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many clients have appealed against their assessment since the establishment of the CSA; and what percentage of appellants have been successful in winning their appeal. [14545]

We expect the Child Support Agency to provide an efficient and effective service to all its clients throughout the child support assessment process. We are looking for substantial and sustained operational improvements from the Agency, in particular on getting more maintenance paid, reducing the backlog and improving customer service.The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Faith Boardman to Mr. Jeff Ennis, dated 21 November 1997:

I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about appeals to the Child Support Agency.
I am unable to give you precisely the information that you have requested, so I have provided as much information as is available. Although appeals were received during the first year of operation, reliable information on this area of performance has only been collected since April 1994. From that date to 30 September 1997, 25,754 appeals have been received by the Agency.
Not all appeals sent to the Agency are sent to the Independent Tribunal Service and not all of those sent to Independent Tribunal Service are heard by a tribunal. Some will be withdrawn by the appellant, others may lapse or be ruled as outside the jurisdiction of the tribunal before they are allocated a hearing.
From April 1994 to September 1997 26,280 cases have been lodged with the Independent Tribunal Service (during the same period the agency has completed or in some way reviewed approximately 1.1 million assessments). More cases have been lodged with Independent Tribunal Services than have been recorded as received by the Agency, as this includes some cases which were received by the Agency in 1993–94. Of those cases lodged with Independent Tribunal Services 17,091 have been cleared by a hearing, 12,990 of which have been returned to the Agency for reassessment; the reassessment requested can be linked to the reason for the appeal, or may be a result of other factors which have come to light during the appeal process. This represents 49 per cent, of cases lodged with the Independent Tribunal or approximately 1 per cent, of assessments completed or reviewed during this period.
I hope this reply is helpful.