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Children: Maintenance

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of people contacting the Child Maintenance Options service who have established private maintenance arrangements; and if she will make a statement. (300982)

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

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

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

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the number of people contacting the Child Maintenance Options service who have established private maintenance arrangements; and if she will make a statement. [300982]

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission has recently conducted an in-house survey of Child Maintenance Options customers to gain an initial indication of outcomes. The survey was carried out in September 2009 and involved people who had contacted the service between August 2008 and August 2009.

From this survey, we estimate that approximately 38,000 effective private arrangements have been put in place following contact with the Options service and approximately 60,000 children are benefiting from these arrangements.

It should be noted that the survey is in-house, not independently assured and does not provide robust findings but provides an early indication of outcomes. The Commission has recently commissioned an independent survey to more effectively establish the impact the service has had and it expects the findings in 2010.

I hope you find this answer helpful.