Overhaul is ‘last chance’ for agency

Campaigners have warned that government plans to revamp the Child Support Agency were the “last chance” to get it right.

Last week, work and pensions secretary John Hutton announced that the agency would be completely overhauled as it could never be made “fit for purpose” in its current state.

One Parent Families director Chris Pond said this was the third review of child support in 15 years and ministers had to improve the system once and for all, a position backed by Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Kate Green.

Hutton said that, pending the rethink, there would be new investment of £120m to clear the backlog of cases, resolve operational problems and get tougher on parents who fail to pay maintenance.

The government has pledged that by 2008 the agency will deliver an additional £140m in maintenance payments to 200,000 more children, more cases will be taken to enforcement and backlogs cleared.

Sir David Henshaw, who recently retired as Liverpool Council chief executive, will lead the work to redesign the system.


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