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Children: Maintenance

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) mean and (b) median number of days was for child maintenance to be sent to parents with care after the non-resident parent had made payment (i) in the most recent period for which figures are available and (ii) over the last three years. (245228)

[holding answer 18 December 2008]: The administration of the child maintenance system is a matter for the Commissioner of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) mean and (b) median number of days was for child maintenance to be sent to parents with care after the non-resident parent had made payment in (i) the most recent period for which figures are available and (ii) all such periods over the last three years. [245228]

The information requested is provided in the attached table, which sets out the time between a receipt arriving in the Agency’s bank account and the Agency forwarding payment to the parent with care for all cases held on the current computer system (CS2). The table shows at September 2008, the mean and median number of days it has taken for receipts received between September 2006 and September 2009 to be paid out by the Agency to the parent with care. This represents 70% of the Agency caseload. Management information is not available for the 30% of cases held on the old computer system (CSCS).

The table also shows improvements made since the introduction of the Agency’s Operational Improvement Plan in 2006, on the length of time it takes the Agency to allocate maintenance, which includes the minority of payments where there has been significant delay.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

The mean and median number of days for child maintenance to be forwarded to the parents with care after the non-resident parent made payment, from September 2006-09

Receipt received

Mean days

Median days

September 2006

13.2

2

October 2006

12.0

2

November 2006

11.9

2

December 2006

11.5

2

January 2007

9.9

2

February 2007

9.7

2

March 2007

9.2

2

April 2007

9.3

2

May 2007

8.5

2

June 2007

7.5

2

July 2007

7.4

2

August 2007

7.3

2

September 2007

7.4

2

October 2007

6.9

2

November 2007

5.8

2

December 2007

5.3

2

January 2008

4.7

2

February 2008

4.3

2

March 2008

4.4

2

April 2008

3.9

2

May 2008

4.1

2

June 2008

3.5

2

July 2008

3.4

2

August 2008

2.9

2

September 2008

2.2

1

Notes:

1. Only includes receipts and payments for cases held on the current computer system (CS2) and represents 70 per cent. of the Agency caseload. Management information is not available for the 30 per cent. of cases held on the old computer system (CSCS).

2. Information provided calculates time between receipt arriving in Agency’s bank account and the Agency forwarding payment to the parent with care.

3. Mean—the average number of days taken, which will take into account all payments, including the minority of payments where there has been a significant delay, and as such can be significantly altered by a few extreme cases.

Median—the middle figure in a series.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what proportion of new claims for (a) income support and (b) jobseeker's allowance by parents with care the applicant opted to apply to the Child Support Agency for child maintenance in each of the last three years. (249026)

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have therefore asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 21 January 2009:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in what proportion of cases of new claims for (a) income support and (b) jobseeker's allowance by parents with care the applicant opted to apply to the Child Support Agency for child maintenance in each of the last three years. [249026]

Section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991 made provision for a claim to relevant benefits by a parent with care to be treated as an application for child maintenance. Therefore, all parents with care making a new claim to Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance would be classed as opting to also apply to the Child Support Agency for child maintenance.

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 repealed Section 6 of the Child Support Act 1991, removing this compulsion for all new claims to benefit from 14 July 2008 and for all existing cases from 27 October 2008. Information on the proportion of parents with care who have made a new claim to Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance since 14 July 2008 and who subsequently decide to make an application for child maintenance is not yet available.

I hope you find this answer helpful.