Further CSA disasters emerge

Staff at the Child Support Agency deliberately entered false
information onto the IT system and stockpiled claims resulting in
them not being dealt with for years, a newly-uncovered report has
revealed, writes Amy Taylor.

The research, commissioned by the Department for Work and
Pensions, also found that staff passed work to people on long-term
sick leave. Others did not answer their phones.

Problems arose after a new child support scheme was implemented,
which included a change in the way cases were assessed, for all new
cases from March 2003.

The study, which was conducted between March-September 2004 and
carried out by researchers at University of Bristol, also found
that staff were concerned that a mass walkout and early retirement
would occur if a high number of cases were not assessed under the
new scheme.

The findings throw doubt on the government’s decision to blame
the new computer system that was introduced to support the reforms
for problems at the agency.

A CSA spokesperson said that the agency had acted to improve
service to clients since the research was carried out. However,
they admitted that “there is still some way to go before the agency
is delivering for all its clients the level of service they are
entitled to expect”.

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