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Child Support Agency: Vertex

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on performance in relation to Child Support Agency work carried out by Vertex at its offices in Bolton. (146170)

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 16 October 2007:

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make a statement on performance in relation to Child Support Agency work carried out by Vertex at its offices in Bolton. [146170]

Vertex Data Science Ltd manages the CSA Bolton site, a new unit we have established to deal with our clerical cases. These are cases, which for technical reasons it is not possible for our new computer system to progress. By moving all the clerical work undertaken by the Agency to one site we have released people to focus on other improvement work including reducing the number of uncleared applications to the lowest levels since 1999 and strengthening enforcement.

While the arrangement has been generally beneficial, we have experienced some operational issues including expressions of concern from some clients, MPs and the Independent Case Examiner about how the Bolton site is currently managing complaints. The Agency has now taken steps to ensure that our service to clients improves in the future. All complaints with MP or Independent Case Examiner involvement as well as those cases that require a review will be transferred to specialist caseworkers within the Agency over the coming months.

As you will know, the Agency has cleared significant numbers of applications in the last year, with uncleared cases falling by 31% across both schemes. As a result the increase in volumes of cases requiring clerical processing to be dealt with in Bolton has been higher than initially forecast and transferring complaints work to other sites within the Agency will allow CSA Bolton to focus on collecting maintenance in those cases.

Our Minister, Lord McKenzie has also recently written to all MPs concerning the changes the Agency has made to the complaints resolution process, including transferring these complaints from the Bolton office.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on the performance of the Bolton office of the Child Support Agency; and if he will make a statement. (149340)

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 16 October 2007:

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations he has received on the performance of the Bolton office of the Child Support Agency; and if he will make a statement. [149340]

Vertex Data Science Ltd manages the CSA Bolton site, a new unit we have established to deal with our clerical cases. These are cases, which for technical reasons it is not possible for our new computer system to progress. By moving all the clerical work undertaken by the Agency to one site we have released people to focus on other improvement work including reducing the number of uncleared applications to the lowest levels since 1999 and strengthening enforcement.

While the arrangement has been generally beneficial, we have experienced some operational issues including expressions of concern from some clients, MPs and the Independent Case Examiner about how the Bolton site is currently managing complaints. The Agency has now taken steps to ensure that our service to clients improves in the future. All complaints with MP or Independent Case Examiner involvement as well as those cases that require a review will be transferred to specialist caseworkers within the Agency over the coming months.

As you will know, the Agency has cleared significant numbers of applications in the last year, with uncleared cases falling by 31% across both schemes. As a result the increase in volumes of cases requiring clerical processing to be dealt with in Bolton has been higher than initially forecast and transferring complaints work to other sites within the Agency will allow CSA Bolton to focus on collecting maintenance in those cases.

Our Minister, Lord McKenzie has also recently written to all MPs concerning the changes the Agency has made to the complaints resolution process, including transferring these complaints from the Bolton office.

I hope you find this answer helpful.