Today, I, along with my hon. Friend the Minister for Disabled People (Mark Harper MP) and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Freud), are publishing the Command Paper Cm 8986 “Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 Post-legislative Scrutiny Memorandum to the Work and Pensions Select Committee”.
The 2008 Act comprises a range of provisions including those which provided for the establishment of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (“C-MEC”), a non-departmental public body, which has since been abolished. In addition, it contains the provisions underpinning the new calculation measures for the 2012 child maintenance scheme and provisions for closing and transferring cases from the older child maintenance schemes, currently operated by the Child Support Agency: a process which began in June of this year. It also contains a range of debt management, collection and enforcement powers for the statutory child maintenance schemes, and provision to provide compensation payments for sufferers of mesothelioma or their dependants, where the sufferer has died before making a claim under the Act.
As many of the child maintenance powers have only commenced in the past two to three years, and because the Secretary of State has committed to undertaking a wider review of child maintenance reforms, this memorandum provides information on the set up of C-MEC and how its functions are now carried out, how the 2008 Act’s provisions fit with wider coalition Government policy and when a more detailed assessment of child maintenance reforms will be available. The evaluation strategy, which sets out our plans for assessing the impacts of the reforms, will be published shortly.
The 2008 Act provisions relating to mesothelioma lump sum compensation scheme payments came into force on 1 October 2008. We are therefore able to publish today, information about the implementation and take-up of the scheme since the scheme’s introduction.