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Child Support

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what increase in the number of deduction from earning orders was anticipated following the introduction of the Child Support Agency's operational improvement plan; and what increase there has been to date. (129820)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 31 May 2007:

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what increase in the number of deduction from earning orders was anticipated following the introduction of the Child Support Agency's operational improvement plan; and what increase there has been to date.

In the Agency's Operational Improvement Plan we committed to using deduction from earnings orders earlier, and more frequently, for those who either default on other payment arrangements or indicate that they are unlikely to pay.

The Agency's data shows that there was a steady increase of approximately 7,000 in the number of Deduction from Earnings Orders (DEOs) recorded, from around 159,000 in March 2006 to around 166,000 in November 2006. However, following an exercise to validate this data, a long term accumulation of approximately 8,500 ineffective DEOs (cases where employers had informed the Agency that the non-resident parent on that case was no longer in their employment) were suspended pending investigation. The recorded number of DEOs then fell to around 158,000 in December 2006. These figures also include Deduction from Earnings Requests (DERs) as the two cannot be disaggregated for old scheme cases. A Deduction from Earnings Request is the Armed Forces equivalent of a DEO.

Since the launch of the Operational Improvement Plan payments via direct debit and standing order have shown a steady increase, with payments by direct debit up around 4,000 since December 2005, and payment by standing order also up by around 7,000 in the same period. Further, the number of non-resident parents who have their maintenance deducted directly from benefits payments has also risen by 27,000 in this period.