The performance of the Child Support Agency (CSA) has continued its steady improvement with the latest figures setting new records both for total maintenance payments and the number of children benefiting from them.
Figures released today show that a total of £1,146.5 million in maintenance was collected or arranged over the year to September. Over 850,000 children are benefiting from CSA payments, continuing the upward trend that has seen an additional 260,000 children benefiting in the last five years.
Quarterly compliance rates show that more than three out of four (76.5%) of parents with a maintenance liability made a payment, down slightly from last quarter but still ahead of the annual target of 76%. Compliance rates have increased by 6% since March 2009.
Total arrears of unpaid maintenance, accrued over the entire 17-year life of the Agency, fell by £21 million to £3.775 billion over the year to September. Around 35% of the Agency’s workforce is now deployed on pursuing non-compliant cases after an additional 400 people were recently assigned to pursuing historic arrears.
The number of CSA cases has also increased for the first time in almost two years with a rise of 3,100 cases in the last quarter.
Child Maintenance Commissioner, Stephen Geraghty, said: “All parents are free to make their own maintenance arrangements if they are able to. While more people are using the much-improved CSA, separated parents should first consider a private arrangement on mutually agreed terms. This more collaborative sharing of financial responsibility is often better for parents and better for their children. The Child Maintenance Options service is ready with information and support to help parents decide what’s best for them.”
The number of ‘uncleared’ applications for maintenance remained steady at 19,300, dramatically reduced from its peak of 317,500 in December 2004. Most cases (88.1%) were cleared within 12 weeks, with the vast majority (93.4%) cleared in 18 weeks.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is the non-departmental body responsible for the child maintenance system in Great Britain, including the Child Support Agency and Child Maintenance Options. Under the forthcoming Public Bodies Bill, the Commission will become an executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions.
2. The Child Maintenance Options service can be accessed by calling 0800 988 0988 or visiting online at www.cmoptions.org
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept