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Children: Maintenance

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 27 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long, on average, parents with care in receipt of benefits awaited payment in (a) old scheme and (b) new scheme Child Support Agency cases in each month since January 2003. (122890)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the Chief Executive.

He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 long on average parents with care in receipt of benefits awaited payment in (a) old scheme and (b) new scheme Child Support Agency cases in each month since January 2003.

Such information as is available can be found in the attached table, which shows both the number of months that parents with care in receipt of benefits and with a positive liability, to whom maintenance is due have been awaiting payment from the non-resident parent and the median average wait experienced by all parents with care on benefits. Figures for the new scheme should be taken in the context of that for a new caseload, and that for the old scheme in the context of an ageing caseload that is no longer receiving any new cases. In addition, any increase in the total number of non-compliant cases should be viewed in the context of an increase in the overall caseload over the same period.

It should be noted that, in establishing whether a parent with care was in receipt of benefit, the Agency has to match its data to DWP benefit data. The DWP information is only available on a quarterly basis; the latest available is for August 2006.

As you will be aware, the Agency has committed in its Operational Improvement Plan, published in February 2006, to improve performance, including that 80 per cent. of new applications will be cleared within 12 weeks of receipt by March 2009 and helping 200,000 more children to benefit from maintenance payments, equating to an additional £140 million in maintenance collected, by March 2008, growing to £250 million by March 2009.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Table 1: The number of months that cases with a positive maintenance liability have been awaiting payment from the non resident parent, and the median average wait where the parent with care was in receipt of benefit, May 2003 to August 2006, by scheme

Cases paying in month

Cases waiting less than 3 months

Cases waiting 3 to 6 months

Cases waiting 6 to 12 months

Cases waiting 1 to 2 years

Cases waiting Over 2 years

Time bands of Median average wait for maintenance for all PWC’s on benefit

New Scheme

May 2003

-

4,000

-

-

-

-

0-3 months

August 2003

1,000

9,000

3,000

-

-

.

0-3 months

November 2003

4,000

16,000

6,000

2,000

-

-

0-3 months

February 2004

8,000

14,000

11,000

7,000

-

-

0-3 months

May 2004

13,000

14,000

9,000

12,000

1,000

-

0-3 months

August 2004

18,000

13,000

9,000

14,000

5,000

-

0-3 months

November 2004

23,000

13,000

8,000

12,000

9,000

-

0-3 months

February 2005

28,000

14,000

8,000

11,000

12,000

-

0-3 months

May 2005

35,000

16,000

8,000

11,000

14,000

1,000

0-3 months

August 2005

42,000

17,000

9,000

11,000

14,000

3,000

0-3 months

November 2005

48,000

20,000

10,000

12,000

13,000

5,000

0-3 months

February 2006

56,000

22,000

11,000

13,000

13,000

7,000

0-3 months

May 206

68,000

21,000

11,000

14,000

13,000

9,000

In Payment

August 2006

75,000

22,000

11,000

14,000

14,000

10,000

In Payment

Old Scheme

May 2003

85,000

25,000

6,000

8,000

8,000

23,000

In Payment

August 2003

78,000

20,000

14,000

9,000

9,000

21,000

In Payment

November 2003

71,000

16,000

9,000

14,000

9,000

19,000

In Payment

February 2004

65,000

15,000

7,000

14,000

10,000

20,000

0-3 months

May 2004

62,000

12,000

6,000

10,000

13,000

19,000

In Payment

August 2004

60,000

11,000

5,000

9,000

14,000

19,000

In Payment

November 2004

56,000

13,000

5,000

8,000

18,000

21,000

0-3 months

February 2005

51,000

8,000

8,000

7,000

17,000

21,000

0-3 months

May 2005

49,000

8,000

3,000

10,000

14,000

26,000

0-3 months

August 2005

48,000

6,000

3,000

9,000

12,000

28,000

0-3 months

November 2005

46,000

5,000

3,000

5,000

13,000

29,000

0-3 months

February 2006

43,000

7,000

2,000

5,000

11,000

29,000

3-6 months

May 2006

44,000

5,000

2,000

4,000

10,000

28,000

0-3 months

August 2006

42,000

6,000

2,000

3,000

9,000

28,000

0-3 months

Total-Both Schemes

May 2003

85,000

28,000

6,000

8,000

8,000

23,000

In Payment

August 2003

78,000

29,000

17,000

9,000

9,000

21,000

0-3 months

November 2003

75,000

31,000

15,000

16,000

9,000

19,000

0-3 months

February 2004

73,000

29,000

18,000

20,000

10,000

20,000

0-3 months

May 2004

75,000

26,000

15,000

23,000

15,000

19,000

0-3 months

August 2004

78,000

24,000

14,000

23,000

19,000

19,000

0-3 months

November 2004

79,000

26,000

12,000

20,000

27,000

21,000

0-3 months

February 2005

79,000

22,000

16,000

18,000

29,000

21,000

0-3 months

May 2005

84,000

24,000

11,000

21,000

28,000

26,000

0-3 months

August 2005

90,000

24,000

13,000

20,000

26,000

30,000

0-3 months

November 2005

95,000

25,000

13,000

17,000

27,000

34,000

0-3 months

February 2006

99,000

28,000

14,000

18,000

24,000

36,000

0-3 months

May 2006

112,000

27,000

13,000

18,000

23,000

37,000

0-3 months

August 2006

116,000

28,000

13,000

18,000

22,000

38,000

0-3 months

Notes to table:

1. Due to limitations with available management information, it is not possible to calculate the mean average time that cases have been waiting for a payment; hence the table shows the median average time band (in months) either since a payment was received on the case or since the case was calculated as having a positive liability.

2. The table shows cases where the parent with care was on benefit at the end of the month shown. This does not necessarily mean that the parent with care has been on benefit for the entire duration of the CSA claim.

3. Cases are classed as waiting if they are currently open, either non-compliant or have a calculation/assessment but no active charging schedule in place, and no maintenance has been received in the quarter ending with the month shown.

4. The table includes both old scheme cases on the old computer system and old scheme cases, which have been migrated onto the new computer system.

5. The table starts from May 2003, as this is the first month it is possible to provide comparable data across both the new and old schemes.

6. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand. ‘-’ Indicates a figure less than 500.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures are in place for the Child Support Agency to reimburse payments of child maintenance collected by the Agency through deductions from earnings orders imposed after liability had ceased; whether interest accrued is passed on; and what time limits are set for the Agency to effect reimbursements. (138698)

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 25 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 measures are in place for the Child Support Agency to reimburse payments of child maintenance collected by the Agency through deductions from earnings orders imposed after liability had ceased; whether interest accrued is passed on; and what time limits are set for the Agency to effect reimbursements. [138698]

It is Child Support Agency Policy that any money sent in error must be refunded; even if the receipt has already been paid out to the third party. Where a deduction from earning order continues in force once liability has ceased, the Agency aims to reimburse such payments of child maintenance to employers, with ten working days following a request to reimburse. The Agency does not calculate interest accrued on individual payments. However the Agency is able to consider redress where the non-resident parent has suffered financial loss as a result of an error made by the Agency.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of Child Support Agency liability order applications were inaccurate in any particular for each quarter since March 1997; and if he will make a statement; (141936)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of liability orders made by the Child Support Agency which were incorrect in each year since 1997.

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 25 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 proportion of Child Support Agency Liability order applications were inaccurate in any way for each quarter since March 1997; and if he will make a statement. [141936]

And;

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of Liability Orders made by the Child Support Agency, which were incorrect in each year since 1997. [143583]

To ensure the Agency applies for an appropriate Liability Order, a number of management checks are undertaken prior to a Liability Order application being made, including the provision of an account audit. In a small percentage of cases the Agency may identify a case where a Liability Order has been granted but subsequently discovered an issue, which requires remedial action before further civil proceedings can be considered. This information is set out in the attached Table 1.

In addition, although Magistrates are not able to consider the accuracy of the Agency’s debt calculation, the Courts can dismiss an Agency Liability Order application following representation from the Non-Resident Parent. Information on cases dismissed by the courts is set out in the attached Tables 2 & 3.

The software for recording data was introduced in 2003, therefore information is not available on the earlier years.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Table 1: Liability orders, further Agency work required

Quarterly period

Inaccurate liability order applications (Percentage)

April 2004 to June 2004

2.5

July 2004 to September 2004

2.9

October 2004 to December 2004

2.6

January 2005 to March 2005

2.7

April 2005 to June 2005

3.5

July 2005 to September 2005

2.5

October 2005 to December 2005

1.3

January 2006 to March 2006

2.6

April 2006 to June 2006

2.3

July 2006 to September 2006

1.5

October 2006 to December 2006

1.2

January 2007 to March 2007

1.9

Table 2: Liability orders, dismissed by the courts, England and Wales

Quarterly period

Percentage of liability order applications dismissed

April 2004 to June 2004

0.0

July 2004 to September 2004

0.3

October 2004 to December 2004

0.1

January 2005 to March 2005

0.3

April 2005 to June 2005

0.6

July 2005 to September 2005

0.4

October 2005 to December 2005

0.7

January 2006 to March 2006

0.4

April 2006 to June 2006

0.5

July 2006 to September 2006

0.3

October 2006 to December 2006

0.4

January 2007 to March 2007

0.4

Notes:

1. Information on liability orders accepted by the courts by requiring remedial work by the Agency before enforcement action is only available from April 2004.

2. Information on liability orders rejected by courts in England and Wales only available from April 2004.

Table 3: Rejected liability orders, dismissed by the courts, Scotland

Quarterly period

Percentage of liability order applications dismissed

April 2006 to June 2006

0.0

July 2006 to September 2006

0.0

October 2006 to December 2006

0.0

January 2007 to March 2007

0.0

Note:

1. Information on liability orders dismissed by Scottish courts is only available from April 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effect on Child Support Agency compliance levels of naming and shaming on a website those non-compliant non-resident parents who have been successfully prosecuted; what the annual cost of the procedure is estimated to be; and if he will make a statement; (141937)

(2) how many names of non-compliant non-resident parents he expects to be placed on the Child Support Agency website in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement.

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 25 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 assessment he has made of the likely effect in Child Support Agency compliance levels of naming and shaming on a website those non-compliant non-resident parents who have been successfully prosecuted; what the annual cost of the procedure is estimated to be; and if he will make a statement. [141937]

and

how many names of non-compliant non-resident parents he expects to be placed on the Child Support Agency website in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement. [141938].

The decision to publish the names of successfully prosecuted non-compliant parents on the Child Support Agency website is only one measure in a broad programme aiming to build a culture of compliance among non-resident parents. The intention is to promote the message that not paying for your children is not a choice you can make, refusal to pay brings consequences including being named and shamed.

The cost of publishing this information is negligible; information on successful prosecutions is currently gathered as a matter of course and publishing names on our website will take place as part of regular maintenance activity, any remaining cost relates to our decision to consult parents with care which places little burden on our resources.

The number of names published on the Agency website is dependent on the numbers of non compliant non-resident parents found guilty in open court of refusing to provide information to enable child maintenance assessment to be made. In the 12 months to March 2007, there were 485 such successful prosecutions. However we hope that even those who are most determined to avoid their legal responsibilities will respond positively, such that this measure is not required in the future.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the caseload of the Child Support Agency and its successor, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, for each quarter from March 1997 to March 2012; and if he will make a statement. (141939)

The caseload of the Child Support Agency is published in the Quarterly Summary Statistics (QSS). The table 1 of the QSS shows the reported caseload of the Child Support Agency between May 1999 and March 2007. The caseload before this date is not reported by the Quarterly Summary Statistics as changes in the calculation methodology mean that the numbers are not comparable. Table 6 of the QSS shows the number of CSA cases with a calculation from February 1997. The table can be found at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/child_support/csa_quarterly_mar07.asp

It is estimated that the steady state caseload of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will be approximately one million. However, this estimate is subject to significant behavioural uncertainty and is dependent on the exact policy design and future decisions made by the Commission. It is therefore not possible to give quarterly estimates due to these dependencies.

The research report “Summary of Child Maintenance Redesign Survey—Indications of future behaviour and choices” was published on 22 June and provides further evidence to underpin the planning assumptions. The Department for Work and Pensions is currently conducting further research to assess demand for the services that the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will offer through the Relationship Separation Survey which is due to be published in spring 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much outstanding liability there is in respect of (a) interest under the Child Support (Arrears, Interest and Adjustment of Maintenance Assessments) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1816) and (b) fees under the Child Support Fees Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3094). (143039)

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 25 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 much outstanding liability there is in respect of (a) interest under the Child Support (Arrears Interest and Adjustment of Maintenance Assessments) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1816) and (b) fees under the Child Support Fees Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3094).

The Child Support Fees Regulations 1992 , S.I. 1992/3094 were repealed in 1996 and the Agency no longer charges interest on arrears of child support maintenance. As at March 31March 2006, £1.966 million in interest has been charged on outstanding maintenance.

Fees under the Child Support Fees Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3094) have not been charged since the 1994-95 financial year as the Agency no longer has the powers to charge interest since the powers to do so were repealed in 1996. As at 31 March 2006 the outstanding balance on fees recoverable from non-resident parents was £12.35 million.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how the 100 parents with care written to by the Child Support Agency (CSA) in June 2007 informing them that their non compliant non-resident parent’s name would be displayed on the CSA website unless they objected were selected; (143588)

(2) if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter sent to parents with care which informed them that their non compliant non-resident parent’s name would be displayed on the Child Support Agency (CSA) website unless they objected.

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 25 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 the 100 parents with care written to by the Child Support Agency (CSA) in June 2007 informing them that their non compliant non-resident parent’s name would be displayed on the CSA website unless they objected were selected (143588), and

If he will place in the Library a copy of the letter sent to parents with care which informed them that their non compliant non-resident parent’s name would be displayed on the Child Support Agency (CSA) website unless they objected (143589).

The Agency identified those non-resident parents who were successfully prosecuted from January to March 2007 for either supplying incorrect information or failing to provide information.

We did not write to the parents with care where our records indicated that there was a possibility that the non-resident parent was potentially violent, where the case status was ‘closed’ or where there was insufficient contact details for the parent with care.

I have placed a copy of the letter sent to the parents with care in the Library, as requested.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) maximum time has been for child maintenance payments to be processed by the Child Support Agency and made available to the parent with care in the last 12 months. (143804)

[holding answer 19 June 2007]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 the (a) average and (b) maximum time has been for child maintenance payments to be processed by the Child Support Agency and made available to the parent with care in the last 12 months.

Information is available for those cases on the Agency’s CS2 computer system. Equivalent data on CSCS payments is not available.

In the year to March 2007 the average number of calendar days between a payment being cleared in the Agency’s bank account and paid out to the Parent With Care was 2 days. This excludes the time taken to clear the funds on receipt from the Non-Resident Parent.

Around 32 per cent. of payments are paid out on the same day, and 93 per cent. are paid out within 7 days of the money being cleared. Unfortunately information on the maximum number of days is not routinely recorded, and therefore not readily available. We cannot provide an answer to part b) of your question.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many driving licences were seized from payment defaulters as a result of enforcement action by the Child Support Agency in each year since the sanction was introduced. (144061)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 driving licences were seized from payment defaulters as a result of enforcement action by the Child Support Agency in each year since the sanction was introduced.

The power to withdraw driving licences was brought into effect on 2 April 2001 (under the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000). The court, not the Agency selects the withdrawal of driving licences, committal to prison or a suspended sentence following a successful action brought by the Agency.

The information provided in the attached table, relates to the total driving licence sentences passed for the United Kingdom. Prior to 2002, the Agency did not maintain a robust system for reporting sentences. The Agency’s system for reporting includes sentences passed for England, Wales and Scotland.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Table 1: Numbers of Committals and Driving Licences

April 2002 to March 2003

April 2003 to March 2004

April 2004 to March 2005

April 2005 to March 2006

February 2006 to January 2007

Number of suspended prison sentences passed

36

107

*225

*390

*385

Number of Prison Sentences passed

4

9

*5

*15

*40

Number of suspended driving licence disqualification sentences passed

7

9

*25

*35

*30

Number of driving licence disqualification sentences passed

1

1

*5

*5

*5

Notes:

1. The figures marked with an asterix are sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics. Prior to April 2004, the figures given were clerically collated and are actual figures, not subject to rounding.

2. Figures sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics are rounded to the nearest five.

3. The figures for 2006-07 are from February 2006 to January 2007 and these are the latest figures published available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parents with care written to by the Child Support Agency (CSA) have not agreed to have the details of their non-compliant non-resident parent displayed on the CSA website. (144120)

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 25 June 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions regarding 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 Parents with Care written to by the Child Support Agency (CSA) have not agreed to have the details of their non-complaint Non-Resident Parent displayed on the CSA website.

The Agency, as part of the Enforcement Campaign, issued letters to parents with care on 6 June 2007, requesting their consent to name successfully prosecuted non-resident parents on the Agency website. The parent with care was asked to reply before 20 June 2007. The target date has now passed, and the Agency has the active consent to publish the names of 40 non-resident parents to date. Only 18 parents with care have actively refused to consent to the non-resident parent being named.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many deductions from earnings orders sought by the Child Support Agency were (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully appealed in each month since March 2003. (144787)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of incorrect (a) old scheme and (b) new scheme child maintenance assessments made in each month since March 2003 were incorrect to within (i) 1p, (ii) 10p, (iii) £1, (iv) £5, (v) £10 and (vi) £20 or more of the correct amount. (144788)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of (a) old scheme and (b) new scheme child maintenance assessments made in each month since March 2003 were incorrect. (144789)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 and what proportion of (a) old scheme and (b) new scheme child maintenance assessments made in each month since March 2003 were incorrect.

Information is only available on the proportion of incorrect assessments from March 2004. This is presented in the attached table. Information on accuracy is collected from a small sample of cases and therefore the overall number of incorrect assessments is not available.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

The proportion of incorrect assessments 2004 to 2007

Reporting Period

Old Scheme (%)

New Scheme (%)

August 2003

to

July 2004

16

19

September 2003

to

August 2004

16

20

October 2003

to

September 2004

17

20

November 2003

to

October 2004

18

21

December 2003

to

November 2004

19

22

January 2004

to

December 2004

18

22

February 2004

to

January 2005

19

24

March 2004

to

February 2005

20

25

April 2004

to

March 2005

22

25

May 2004

to

April 2005

22

25

June 2004

to

May 2005

22

25

July 2004

to

June 2005

23

25

August 2004

to

July 2005

23

25

September 2004

to

August 2005

23

24

October 2004

to

September 2005

22

24

November 2004

to

October 2005

22

24

December 2004

to

November 2005

20

23

January 2005

to

December 2005

21

21

February 2005

to

January 2006

20

21

March 2005

to

February 2006

18

20

April 2005

to

March 2006

16

19

May 2005

to

April 2006

16

19

June 2005

to

May 2006

16

18

July 2005

to

June 2006

15

19

August 2005

to

July 2006

15

19

September 2005

to

August 2006

15

20

October 2005

to

September 2006

15

19

November 2005

to

October 2006

16

19

December 2005

to

November 2006

16

19

January 2006

to

December 2006

16

20

February 2006

to

January 2007

16

20

March 2006

to

February 2007

18

22

April 2006

to

March 2007

17

21

Notes: 1. This table shows the proportion of maintenance decisions (calculations or assessments) carried out in the reporting period that were checked and found to be inaccurate by a penny or more. 2. Figures are calculated on a rolling 12 month basis 3. March 2004 is the earliest data available, and March 2007 is the latest. 4. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unprocessed cases in each London borough were held by the Child Support Agency in each of the last 12 months. (145213)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 unprocessed cases in each London borough were held by the Child Support Agency in each of the last 12 months.

The Agency begins to process new applications as soon as they are received and continues until they have been cleared. Any applications that have not yet been cleared can be regarded as outstanding. The amount of work required to achieve clearance and the elapsed time it involves varies considerably depending on, amongst other things, the circumstances of the parents and how readily they cooperate with the Agency.

I have provided the available information on uncleared cases in the attached table. It should be noted that that an uncleared application is not necessarily the same as an unprocessed one. Uncleared applications will be at varying stages in the application processes, with very few being completely unprocessed.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Volume of uncleared applications in each London borough from April 2006 to March 2007

2006

April

May

June

July

August

September

London GOR

22,480

22,200

22,050

21,790

21,210

20,660

Inner London—West

2,420

2,360

2,320

2,280

2,220

2,180

Camden

460

450

450

450

440

420

City of London

10

Hammersmith and Fulham

510

500

490

490

470

460

Kensington and Chelsea

260

260

260

250

240

240

Wandsworth

790

770

740

720

720

710

Westminster

380

380

380

360

350

340

Inner London—East

7,670

7,470

7,340

7,210

7,000

6,800

Hackney

830

790

770

750

720

700

Haringey

880

920

890

890

850

820

Islington

690

670

640

640

620

590

Lambeth

1,440

1,410

1,400

1,370

1,340

1,320

Lewisham

1,080

1,050

1,020

990

990

950

Newham

900

870

880

860

790

760

Southwark

1,280

1,200

1,180

1,170

1,140

1,120

Tower Hamlets

580

560

560

550

560

540

Outer London—East and North East

5,130

5,260

5,290

5,300

5,200

5,040

Barking and Dagenham

840

860

850

830

800

780

Bexley

630

610

600

610

600

580

Enfield

890

970

990

980

970

920

Greenwich

940

900

920

960

960

940

Havering

470

480

460

440

440

410

Redbridge

700

720

730

730

710

700

Waltham Forest

660

740

740

750

720

710

Outer London—South

3,140

3,090

3,100

3,080

2,980

2,930

Bromley

720

700

690

690

670

660

Croydon

1,340

1,330

1,350

1,360

1,300

1,280

Kingston upon Thames

200

200

190

180

170

170

Merton

450

430

440

440

430

420

Sutton

430

430

430

420

410

400

Outer London—West and North West

4,120

4,030

4,000

3,920

3,810

3,710

Barnet

640

630

650

660

640

620

Brent

670

660

640

620

580

560

Ealing

750

740

730

700

700

680

Harrow

510

480

460

450

430

420

Hillingdon

770

750

740

710

720

710

Hounslow

620

610

600

610

600

590

Richmond upon Thames

170

170

170

170

150

150

20062007

October

November

December

January

February

March

London GOR

20,290

20,150

20,200

20,050

19,800

18,990

Inner London—West

2,100

2,080

2,140

2,110

2,060

1,970

Camden

420

410

430

430

420

400

City of London

Hammersmith and Fulham

450

420

440

440

430

410

Kensington and Chelsea

220

220

230

220

220

210

Wandsworth

680

680

700

680

660

630

Westminster

340

340

350

340

330

310

Inner London —East

6,650

6,600

6,550

6,540

6,500

6,220

Hackney

670

650

640

650

630

590

Haringey

810

810

790

780

790

740

Islington

580

590

600

570

570

530

Lambeth

1,300

1,300

1,280

1,290

1,270

1,210

Lewisham

940

930

930

950

950

920

Newham

770

730

710

680

690

660

Southwark

1,080

1,080

1,090

1,100

1,110

1,100

Tower Hamlets

510

510

510

510

500

460

Outer London—East and North East

4,970

4,950

4,950

4,900

4,860

4,690

Barking and Dagenham

780

770

790

760

770

760

Bexley

570

580

560

580

590

580

Enfield

880

870

880

840

830

780

Greenwich

920

920

900

900

900

860

Havering

420

430

440

450

450

440

Redbridge

690

680

680

680

650

630

Waltham Forest

710

700

710

700

670

660

Outer London—South

2,910

2,880

2,850

2,830

2,790

2,680

Bromley

650

630

620

610

610

590

Croydon

1,290

1,280

1,270

1,270

1,230

1,170

Kingston upon Thames

170

160

160

160

150

140

Merton

400

410

410

400

410

390

Sutton

400

400

390

390

390

390

Outer London—West and North West

3,670

3,640

3,700

3,680

3,600

3,430

Barnet

620

620

610

580

560

520

Brent

550

540

530

520

510

500

Ealing

670

670

700

710

700

680

Harrow

390

390

390

390

360

340

Hillingdon

690

670

670

680

660

640

Hounslow

590

600

640

640

650

620

Richmond upon Thames

150

160

150

160

150

150

Notes:

1. A potential new application is cleared when it:

has had a calculation and a payment arrangement set up (new scheme only);

has had an assessment (old scheme only);

has been closed (both schemes);

has been identified as having had a good cause decision accepted (both schemes);

has been identified as being subject to a reduced benefit decision (both schemes);

has been identified as a change of circumstances to an existing case, as opposed to a new

application (new scheme only).

An application remains uncleared until it achieves one of the states above. It should be noted that that an uncleared application is not necessarily the same as an unprocessed one. As such, uncleared applications will be at varying stages in the application processes, with very few being completely unprocessed.

2.Volumes are rounded to the nearest ten. ‘—’ indicates a figure less than 5.

3. This table counts applications for Child Support. Not all applications become live cases. It is not possible to quantify the extent to which the Agency’s clerical new-scheme caseload is or is not included in the above numbers.

4. This table does not include those cases where the parent/person with care's residential postcode is not recorded. In some of these cases, the Agency holds a residential address without a postcode; a “contact” address; or a business address. We have excluded cases that have not yet reached the stage in the process where the postcode information has been confirmed, as it is not possible to associate them to a local authority. At March 2007 there were 35,200 cases with an ‘unknown’ Local Authority. This equates to 17% of all cases in March 2007.

5. The figures are subject to revision and therefore may differ slightly from previously released figures.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what budget will be allocated to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to allow it to assist parents in making their own private arrangements for child maintenance; and if he will make a statement. (145364)

It will be up to the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to decide how best to deploy its resources to meet its statutory objectives. The overall level of resources allocated to the Commission will be negotiated in the usual way as part of the Department’s planning processes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the average level of maintenance payments for two children (a) through the existing Child Support Agency on the new scheme and (b) through the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; and if he will make a statement. (145366)

The information requested is as follows.

(a) The average maintenance liability for cases where there are two qualifying children through the existing Child Support Agency on the new scheme is £30 per week.

(b) With the increased focus on voluntary arrangements and the ending of the requirement that parents with care on benefit be treated as applying for child maintenance, not all of the current Child Support Agency caseload will choose to use the statutory maintenance service. Since we do not know the precise composition of the resulting caseload, it is not possible to estimate the average level of maintenance liabilities that will arise.

However, the new formula has been chosen to broadly replicate the current system, although the new rates mean that non-resident parents with two qualifying children at most income levels will pay slightly more as the following table shows:

Two qualifying children

Weekly gross income

2003 rules

Proposed rules

£50

5

7

£150

17

20

£250

41

40

£350

55

56

£450

68

72

£550

82

88

£650

96

104

£750

110

120

£1,000

141

152

£3,000

377

392

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of child maintenance cases under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission are expected to be calculated using HM Revenue and Customs gross income figures for the previous year; and if he will make a statement. (145367)

Initial estimates are that in steady state around 90 per cent. of cases will have their liability based on HMRC income data or DWP benefits data.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of child maintenance cases which will have (a) overpayments and (b) underpayments under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; how such under and overpayments will be managed; and if he will make a statement. (145368)

No estimates have been made on the number of child maintenance cases that will have overpayments and underpayments under the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. The management of such payments will be an issue for C-MEC to consider and take steps as necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provision there will be for those paying maintenance under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to request in-year reviews of their maintenance liabilities when their income changes; and if he will make a statement. (145369)

Immediate in-year reviews will be allowed when a non-resident parent’s income changes by at least 25 per cent.

Other immediate in-year reviews will still be allowed. These will include:

The non-resident parent leaves work and goes onto benefit—or vice versa.

A qualifying child dies, or moves abroad, or starts work.

Maintenance is applied for in respect of a new child from the same non-resident parent.

An application for a variation is successful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the Child Support Agency's maintenance arrears were collected in each (a) month and (b) quarter since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (145370)

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 26 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 much of the Child Support Agency's maintenance arrears were collected in each (a) month and (b) quarter since 1997; and if he will make a statement.

The information you asked for is included in the attached tables. Data on the old scheme was only recorded quarterly (until March 2003). Monthly figures are available from March 2003 onwards.

The Agency now collects more than double the amount of arrears payments each quarter, than in 1997. We will continue to focus on collecting arrears of maintenance during 2007/08, as we aim to increase the total maintenance collected to £970 million, collecting at least £120 million in maintenance arrears.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

(a) The amount of monthly arrears received by the Agency in each month between March 2003 and March 2007

Monthly

Arrears received (£ million)

March 2003

5.5

April 2003

5.1

May 2003

5.3

June 2003

5.3

July 2003

5.6

August 2003

5.0

September 2003

5.4

October 2003

5.7

November 2003

4.9

December 2003

5.2

January 2004

5.6

February 2004

4.9

March 2004

5.8

April 2004

5.3

May 2004

5.1

Jun 2004

6.3

July 2004

5.6

August 2004

5.8

September 2004

5.4

October 2004

5.5

November 2004

6.0

December 2004

5.6

January 2005

5.6

February 2005

5.6

March 2005

6.3

April 2005

5.9

May 2005

6.5

June 2005

7.0

July 2005

7.5

August 2005

6.7

September 2005

6.2

October 2005

6.7

November 2005

7.2

December 2005

6.4

January 2006

6.9

February 2006

6.2

March 2006

7.5

April 2006

6.4

May 2006

7.9

June 2006

7.3

July 2006

7.4

August 2006

7.0

September 2006

6.7

October 2006

8.0

November 2006

7.7

December 2006

7.0

January 2007

7.9

February 2007

8.0

March 2007

9.2

Notes:

1. Arrears are accrued when the non-resident parent does not pay the full amount of regular maintenance due.

2. Monthly management information is not available prior to March 2003.

3. Monetary values are rounded to the nearest 0.1 million.

4. Monthly amounts of maintenance collected (total regular and arrears) will not sum to the financial year figures published in the Annual Accounts, as they do not include end year adjustments.

(b) The amount of quarterly arrears received by the Agency in each quarter since May 1997

Quarterly

Arrears received (£ million)

May 1997

8.8

August 1997

10.2

November 1997

11.1

February 1998

11.8

May 1998

13.3

August 1998

13.5

November 1998

15.2

February 1999

14.6

May 1999

15.9

August 1999

16.9

November 1999

16.0

February 2000

15.7

May 2000

15.5

August 2000

15.9

November 2000

15.5

February 2001

15.6

May 2001

16.0

August 2001

16.2

November 2001

15.7

February 2002

15.4

May 2002

16.5

August 2002

16.1

November 2002

16.5

February 2003

15.7

June 2003

15.6

September 2003

16.0

December 2003

15.8

March 2004

16.4

June 2004

16.7

September 2004

16.8

December 2004

17.2

March 2005

17.5

June 2005

19.4

September 2005

20.5

December 2005

20.3

March 2006

20.6

June 2006

21.5

September 2006

21.1

December 2006

22.7

March 2007

25.1

Notes:

1. Arrears are accrued when the non-resident parent does not pay the full amount of regular maintenance due.

2. In mid 2003 the month in which this data was collected changed, therefore, there is a change in the quarterly time series between February 2003 and June 2003.

3. Monetary values are rounded to the nearest 0.1 million.

4. Monthly amounts of maintenance collected (total regular and arrears) will not sum to the financial year figures published in the Annual Accounts, as they do not include end year adjustments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) were sent to prison and (b) lost their driving licences for failing to co-operate with the Child Support Agency in each (i) quarter and (ii) year since April 1997. (145374)

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 25 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 people (a) were sent to prison and (b) lost their driving licences for failing to co-operate with the Child Support Agency in each (i) quarter and (ii) year since April 1997.

The power to withdraw driving licences was brought into effect on 2 April 2001 (under the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000).

The attached table relates to information from 2002, as prior to this the Agency did not maintain a robust system for reporting sentences. The Agency’s system for reporting includes sentences passed for England, Wales and Scotland. Numbers of committals and driving licence disqualifications are not routinely collected quarterly and are not readily to hand.

Commitment to prison or disqualification from holding a driving licence is the ultimate sanction available to the courts for recovery of arrears of Child Support maintenance. If the non-resident parent is found guilty of wilful refusal or culpable neglect the court will decide which of the available sanctions is the most appropriate.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Table 1: numbers of committals and driving licences

April 2002—March 2003

April 2003—March 2004

April 2004—March 2005

April 2005—March 2006

February 2006—January 2007

Number of suspended prison sentences passed

36

107

*225

*390

*385

Number of prison sentences passed

4

9

*5

*15

*40

Number of suspended driving licence disqualification sentences passed

7

9

*25

*35

*30

Number of driving licence disqualification sentences passed

1

1

*5

*5

*5

Notes:

1. The figures marked with an asterix are sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics. Prior to April 2004, the figures given were clerically collated and are actual figures, not subject to rounding.

2. Figures sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics are rounded to the nearest five.

3. The figures for 2006-07 are from February 2006 to January 2007 and these are the latest figures published available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many non-resident parents paid maintenance through the Child Support Agency only by deductions of up to £5 per week from benefits in each quarter since 2000-01. (145494)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive.

He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 25 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 non-resident parents paid maintenance through the Child Support Agency only by deductions of up to £5 per week from benefits in each quarter since 2000-01 and if he will make a statement.

Such information as is available on the number of cases, which have a deduction from benefit in place from February 2000 to March 2007, is presented in the attached table. Information covering the period of December 2002 to September 04 is not available.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Number of cases, with a deduction from benefit in place, from February 2000 to March 2007

Quarter ending

Cases with deduction from benefit as method of maintenance collection

February 2000

23,200

May 2000

22,600

August 2000

21,900

November 2000

21,400

February 2001

18,500

May 2001

17,600

August 2001

17,100

November 2001

16,500

February 2002

15,500

May 2002

15,300

August 2002

14,000

November 2002

13,700

December 2002-September 2004

3 n/a

December 2004

49,200

March 2005

54,600

June 2005

63,300

September 2005

71,100

December 2005

79,800

March 2006

90,900

June 2006

98,000

September 2006

103,100

December 2006

106,600

March 2007

113,200

Notes:

1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. The data in the table covers 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.

3. Robust management information covering the period December 2002 to September 2004 is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to improve the child maintenance and support arrangements for parents with responsibility for care in situations where the non-resident parent is unemployed and is unable to provide full maintenance payments. (145514)

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 25 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 steps his Department is taking to improve the child maintenance and support arrangements for parents with responsibility for care in situations where the non-resident parent is unemployed and is unable to provide full maintenance payments.

The amount of child support maintenance assessed depends on the income of the non-resident parent and will therefore differ from case to case. The Agency believes parents on benefit have as much of a responsibility for their children’s upkeep as those who are working. Child Support Reforms introduced in 2003 required non-resident parents on benefit to pay child support maintenance at a flat rate of £5 per week. The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill will, subject to Parliamentary approval, increase the flat-rate amount payable to parents with care, from £5 to £7 per week.

Parents with care who are also unable to work are of course eligible to claim benefit. Those on Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance will benefit from the Child Maintenance Premium which allows parents with care on benefit to keep a higher proportion of child support maintenance, up to £10 each week without it affecting their benefit.

I hope you find this answer helpful.