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Children Support Agency

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was collected in maintenance by the Child Support Agency in each year since 1993-94; what the cost of running the agency was in each year; how much he expects it to collect in 2007-08; what the expected cost is of running the agency in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (145362)

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

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much was collected in maintenance by the Child Support Agency in each year since 1993-1994; what the cost of running the Agency was in each year; how much he expects to collect in 2007-08; what the expected cost of running the Agency in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement.

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

Child Support Agency’s actual and forecast net administration costs and maintenance collections for the years 1994-95 to 2007-08£ millionAnnual agency net administration costsTotal maintenance collected and arranged (see note 7)Estimated value of maintenance direct arrangements in place m (see note 8)2007-08570.00970.00310.002006-07520.34882.6276.92005-06465.22828.5234.32004-05425.59793.2208.52003-04451.60794.7214.22002-03428.90572.55—2001-02361.90528.45—2000-01298.30502.55—1999-00266.70460.68—1998-99231.20393.38—1997-98225.90306.16—1996-97224.50213.21—1995-96199.30134.45—1994-95192.4074.20— Notes:1. The increase in administration costs over 3 years from April '06 is as a result of the extra £120 million costs associated with the Operational Improvement Plan.2. We are unable to provide figures for 1993-94, as audited accounts were not published for that year and as such the information is not available.3. Information from 1994-95 to 2005-06 is sourced from the Child Support Agency’s published Annual Report and Accounts, and differ slightly from the published QSS which uses monthly figures, not subjected to yea-end adjustment.4. In 2005-06, following national Audit Office advice, the Agency’s accounting boundaries were changed to include Child Support Reform Programme costs in the Agency’s annual accounts. The 2005-06 accounts and the 2004-05 comparatives were changed accordingly. In line with this policy the table below includes Child Support Reform costs from 1999-00.5. The 2006-07 net administration costs and maintenance collections may be subject to change and will be confirmed when the audited accounts are published in July 2007.6. The 2007-08 estimate for maintenance collections is consistent with the published Agency target to collect or arrange £970 million of maintenance outcomes. The residual £310 million in maintenance will be delivered via private arrangements outside of the Agency’s collection service.7. Total maintenance collected and arranged from 1994 to 2003 does not include maintenance direct.8. Maintenance Direct figures are sourced from Table 19.5 of the Quarterly Statistical Supplement. Maintenance Direct information is only available from April 2003 onwards.9. The amount of maintenance received is that collected via the CSA collection service. This includesboth clerical and system payments.10. Monthly amounts of maintenance collected will not sum to the financial year figures published in theAnnual Accounts as they do not include end year adjustments.11. The value of Maintenance Direct arrangements in place shows the value of the assessments that the Agency has made i.e. the recommended amount to be paid to the Parent With Care by the non-resident parent. This value is an estimate because it is not possible to calculate, for every day of the year, the value of Maintenance Direct arrangements in place at that point in time. However, it is possible to calculate the value of weekly Maintenance Direct arrangements in place at the end of each month and derive a full monthly estimate from that.12. Money relating to Maintenance Direct arrangements is not collected directly by the Agency. As such, the arrangement in place is the best estimate of the money being paid by the Non-Resident Parent.13. Figures are rounded to the nearest £0.1 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many liability orders the Child Support Agency (a) applied for and (b) obtained in each (i) year and (ii) quarter since 1997; how many of the original orders were inaccurate; and if he will make a statement. (145372)

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 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 liability orders the Child Support Agency (a) applied for and (b) obtained in each (i) year and (ii) quarter since 1997; how many of the original orders have been inaccurate; and if he will make a statement.

Due to the arrangements for assigning a court hearing date, the Agency may make an application for a liability order during one reporting year which has a court date assigned for the next therefore I have given the granted liability orders for a year only.

Information about the numbers of liability order granted is only available since March 1998. Table 1 attached, shows the information requested since April 1998. We do not routinely collate information with regard to civil enforcement processes on a quarterly basis, so this information is unavailable at this time.

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. These may be procedural steps, including dealing with new information received as well as numerical inaccuracies. This information is set out in the attached Table 2.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Table 1: Numbers of Liability Orders granted in each year from April 1998 to January 2007

Liability Orders granted

April 1998-March 1999

2,033

April 1999-March 2000

2,523

April 2000-March 2001

1,755

April 2001-March 2002

1,427

April 2002-March 2003

2,383

April 2003-March 2004

3,885

April 2004-March 2005

*7,760

April 2005-March 2006

*11,245

February 2006-January 2007

*13,335

Notes:

1. A liability order is a document obtained from the court showing that they legally recognise that the debt is owing. This is the same in both England and Wales and Scotland. This is required before the Agency can use litigation powers (Diligence in Scotland).

2. 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.

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

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

Table 2: Liability Orders—further Agency work required

Quarterly period

Percentage

April-June 2004

2.5

July-September 2004

2.9

October-December 2004

2.6

January-March 2005

2.7

April-June 2005

3.5

July-September 2005

2.5

October-December 2005

1.3

January-March 2006

2.6

April-June 2006

2.3

July-September 2006

1.5

October-December 2006

1.2

January-March 2007

1.9

Note:

Although the software for recording data was introduced in 2003, robust information did not become available until April 2004 following remedial work by the Agency.