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Children: Maintenance

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) for what reasons the Child Support Agency offices in Birkenhead and Bolton have different criteria for determining eligibility for an advance payment of arrears; (146852)

(2) for what reasons the Child Support Agency parliamentary business unit in Birkenhead is unable to communicate via telephone with the CSA office in Bolton.

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 17 July 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, for what reasons the Child Support Agency offices in Birkenhead and Bolton have different criteria for determining eligibility for an advance payment of arrears, [146853] and

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and pensions, for what reasons the Child Support Agency Parliamentary Business Unit in Birkenhead are unable to communicate via telephone with the Child Support Agency office in Bolton. [146853]

All cases, including those being managed clerically at the Bolton office, are subject to the same legislative and procedural rules. This includes the decision to make an advance payment where maladministration has occurred and a range of pre-defined criteria are satisfied.

We actively encourage use of the telephone as the primary means of communication between offices to update or discuss particulars on a case. It is only in the case of a complaint being received in the Agency about a clerical case maintained by the Bolton office that, initially, the inquiry is emailed to Bolton. This is to ensure the Bolton office has all the necessary information to progress and resolve the client’s concerns. Subsequently, contact should be made by telephone.

I hope you find this answer helpful.