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Children: Maintenance

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many deduction of earnings orders the Child Support Agency had in place in each month since January 2000; and if he will make a statement. (141095)

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 21 June 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many deduction of earnings orders the Child Support Agency had in place in each month since January 2000; and if he will make a statement.

Such information as is available, is presented in the attached table.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Number of cases, which have a deduction from earnings order (DEO) or a deduction from earnings request (DER) in place from February 2000 to March 2007

Month ending

Cases with DEO or DER as method of maintenance collection

February 2000

138,400

May 2000

141,700

August 2000

142,000

November 2000

141,300

February 2001

141,100

May 2001

140,100

August 2001

140,100

November 2001

138,500

February 2002

140,000

May 2002

138,600

August 2002

138,400

November 2002

139,000

February 2003-July 2004

1

August 2004

132,900

September 2004

133,800

October 2004

134,500

November 2004

136,000

December 2004

141,300

January 2005

138,000

February 2005

139,800

March 2005

141,300

April 2005

142,100

May 2005

142,900

June 2005

144,500

July 2005

146,400

August 2005

148,600

September 2005

149,900

October 2005

151,300

November 2005

153,000

December 2005

153,700

January 2006

155,100

February 2006

156,200

March 2006

158,600

April 2006

160,100

May 2006

161,600

June 2006

162,600

July 2006

164,200

August 2006

165,200

September 2006

165,400

October 2006

165,500

November 2006

166,100

December 2006

158,100

January 2007

160,400

February 2007

160,600

March 2007

162,700

1 Robust information covering the period February 2003 to July 2004 is not available.

Notes:

1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. The table includes deduction from earnings orders (DEOs) and deduction from earnings requests (DERs). DERs are the equivalent of DEOs when a non-resident parent is a member of the Armed Forces.

3. The table above includes those old-scheme cases with either a Full Maintenance Assessment or an Interim Maintenance Assessment; plus those new-scheme cases with either a Full Maintenance Calculation, or a Default Maintenance Decision. New-scheme cases being processed clerically are excluded from this analysis.

4. Data prior to March 2003 are only available quarterly. March 2007 is the most recent available.

5. The volume of deductions from earnings orders/requests (DEO/Rs) decreased to 158,000 in December 2006. This sudden fall was caused by a fix to the new computer system to suspend 8,500 ineffective DEOs on cases where employers had informed the Agency that the non-resident parent on that case was no longer in their employment. These DEOs have been suspended and the Agency put together a recovery plan to trace those non-resident parents and restore compliance, through DEOs where appropriate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what performance targets he has set for Vertex to respond to cases referred to the Child Support Agency Bolton office by or on behalf of hon. Members; and if he will make a statement; (141304)

(2) if he will list the (a) performance indicators and (b) performance targets which he has set for Vertex for its management of the Bolton office of the Child Support Agency.

[holding answer 12 June 2007]: 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 21 June 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what performance targets he has set for Vertex to respond to cases referred to the Child Support Agency Bolton office by or on behalf of hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [141304]

and;

You also asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will list the (a) performance indicators and (b) performance targets which he has set for Vertex for its management of the Bolton office of the Child Support Agency. [142317]

Although the agency has contracted out the maintenance of its clerical cases to Vertex Data Science Ltd, the performance targets set by the Secretary of State apply to all Child Support cases regardless of whether they are clerical or not.

The Secretary of State targets for the current operation year are:

Number of children—By 31 March 2008, maintenance will be collected or have been arranged by the Agency on behalf of 720,000 children.

Total Maintenance Collection (Arrears)—Collect or have arranged £970 million in child maintenance between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2008; of which at least £120 million maintenance will be arrears.

Maintenance Outcomes—By 31 March 2008, in 66% of cases across both the new and old schemes in which a liability to pay maintenance exists, the non-resident parent has either made a payment via the collection service or a Maintenance Direct arrangement is in place.

Uncleared applications to the New scheme—By 31 March 2008, the volume of uncleared new scheme applications will be no more than 140,000.

In addition, the Agency’s Client Service Standards, including responding to hon. Members correspondence applies to cases maintained by the Bolton office. We aim to reply to letters and either resolve complaints, or agree next steps, within three weeks of receiving them.

Vertex Data Science Ltd performance against these measures is continually reviewed to ensure they are supporting the Agency’s aim to deliver more money for more children.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimates he has made of the number of children who would be lifted out of relative poverty if all non-resident parents were fully compliant with the payment of child support. (143587)

No estimate has been made of the number of children who would be lifted out of relative poverty if all non-resident parents were fully compliant with the payment of child support. To produce a robust estimate we would require information on the position in the income distribution of parents with care where the non-resident parent in the case is not fully compliant. This information is not available for all the relevant parents with care.