Blair hints at restructuring of CSA

Tony Blair yesterday hinted that the Child Support Agency could be split into three separate agencies in a bid to ensure it operates more smoothly.

During prime minister’s Question Time, leader of the Liberal Democrat party Charles Kennedy highlighted that for every pound that the CSA spends on its own bureaucracy, it gets only £1.85 to the children it is supposed to help.

Kennedy then reminded the prime minister that in 1998 Blair had admitted the CSA was a “mess” and needed “urgent reform” and asked him to defend the appalling track record.

Blair said he would make no defence of the current situation but insisted that it was in an “extremely difficult position”.

“It is the investigating agency, then it is the adjudicating agency, and then it is the enforcement agency,” said Blair. “That is an extremely difficult situation, and the staff who have to work in the present system do so in conditions of very great difficulty.”

Adding that the government was looking urgently at what the solutions might be, Blair added: “The problem is fundamental to the nature of the task that it is called upon to perform.”

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