£3 billion in child support debt ‘lost’

Children|Family|March 28th 2017

As much as £3 billion in child maintenace debt owed by parents under the Child Support Agency  (CSA) may never be recovered, the government believes.

In a new report, the National Audit Office (NAO) reports on the continuing winding down of the notorious agency. The Department for Work and Pensions has been engaged in the task for five years it says, but the prcess has been slow and bogged down at times, the NAO says, citing staffing shortages and inaccurate assessments.

Out of outstanding maintenanance arrears of approximately £4 billion, the watchdog belives three quarters is now “uncollectable”. Some of this debt dates back decades.

An additional £527 million is “potentially collectable” it says, while just £366 million is “likely to be collected”.

As much as £1.4 billiion is owed by a tiny minority of non-resident parents the report claims – just four per cent of the non-resident parents.

Meanwhile, closure of the CSA is behind schedule but the Department for Work and Pensions still hopes to complete the process by the end of this year.

A government spokesman insisted:

“The old system wasn’t good enough, which is why the CSA has been replaced, and today nearly 90 per cent of parents are paying the maintenance they owe. We are taking enforcement action in a higher proportion of historic cases than in the past and will be publishing a strategy for addressing arrears in due course.”

Photo by Zechariah Judy via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(6)

  1. Andrew says:

    Some of this must be “owed” by men now deceased and no personal representatives appointed because they left nothing worth the trouble.

    CMEC needs to take a realistic view and write off what is beyond collection. And such debt should be subject to the Limitation Act, and discharged on bankruptcy. As should debts arising from financial orders in divorce, which should however be postponed for dividend behind debts to non-matrimonial creditors.

  2. Paul says:

    I have just received a letter from CSA or whatever they call themselves now.
    Im being moved onto the THIRD collection system since I started dealing with them. THEY ARE CRIMINAL !! THEY ARE INCOMPETANT !! They have shamelessly stollen money for me. I have a folder 3 inches thick of their misakes blunders and miscalculations.
    An now I have just been informed that from the money they take from me more of the money will go to them than to my kids. To pay them for their service… lol
    I absolutly dispair of them.
    Bear in mind that my ex has been stopping me from seeing my children for 2 years.
    She has made false alegations to the police which cost me a job.
    Thankfully i overturned the false conviction and attend my first meeting with CAFCAS on Friday.
    Social justice does not exist in any way shape or form for men. The British family court system is shamelessly predudicial.
    What I have seen so far is a national disgrace.

  3. Andy says:

    It is no supplies that the agency as known CSA could not organist the collection of money owed.
    It also comes as no supplies that the CSA then, was totally incompetent as well.
    It is no supprisingly that the NRP never paid as the calculation was just unworkable as it still is today CMS,,,

    Because of all the FXXk ups in the CSA and the new CMS that now demand increased payments then no bloody wonder..In the end the CMS will always be incompetent and there will always be the non payers.I don’t blame the non payers at at all. The CMS calculation basically wipes any financial gain from the NRP who cannot survive in today’s world…you try and deal with the CMS you will see..
    The answer to this is CMS, how dare you challenge our calculation…we are right and you are wrong..
    Battle on.

  4. Yvie says:

    A percentage of these arrears may be fictitious, where fathers have been in and out of work yet the CSA has accrued debt owing despite this. If arrears cannot be collected after a certain length of time they should be written o,f as it perpetuates the myth that dads don’t pay, when the majority of dads certainly do pay. Interestingly, on the Gingerbread facebook page, there were a number of comments from mums to the effect that they are owed money from their ex., who they couldn’t stand and who their children didn’t want anything to do with, (the children’s choice apparently, nothing to do with mum). These mothers seem to have their priorities wrong, money owed being more important than the children’s relationship with their father. This is something which Government could and should address, rather than trying to chase arrears, fictitious or otherwise, which are unlikely to be recovered.

  5. Maurice Barnett says:

    There is no money owed to the CSA as they never pay any money out in the first place. We assist fathers who receive these communications of threats of prison, disqualification of drivers licence, or even charge orders on homes from the CSA; We do requests to the CSA to show the public accounts of the CSA to show where they have paid out this money they allege is owed to them, The CSA all of a sudden dont want to comply with the criminal nature of the case to show their loss, as it would show they commit fraud at every case.
    The CSA or CMS as they like to be known as now, have not even learnt from the Karoonian ruling, in that committal to prison or removal of drivers licence is to be treat as criminal in nature and that they still breach our human rights by failing to provide any witness statements or evidence of means statements,
    A recent case for committal to prison ended up with our member being found guilty of wilful refusal to pay child support, given a six weeks prison sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge. The Court issued a notice of fine and collection order to pay a total of £325.The notice of fine and collection order ordered the money to be paid direct to the court, which our member complied with. Three weeks later a letter is received from the CSA that states he has failed to comply with the court order and that was to pay them £10 a week off a £13000 arrears made under an interim assessment; After numerous requests to the CSA to show this alleged order neither the CSA or the Courts could produce one, of they couldnt because they had already issued a signed and sealed notice of fine and collection order;
    Needless to say another summons arrived for failure to comply with an order the CSA and the courts could not provide, but then threatened our member with removal of his drivers licence, so now we had a double jeopardy case. The Disrict Judge stated this was a civil matter, when we produced the facts of karoonian v CMEC in thatthese cases are criminal, she stated that she did not care and wasnt interested, and she said the Notice of Fine and Collection was made in error and that our member is to pay £10 per wek direct to the CSA until the £13000 is paid off.
    Our member then complied with her order and started to pay the CSA £10 a week direct, a week later he received a Furhter Steps notice this time from the court stating he failed to comply with the order to pay the court direct £10 and is now facing prison.
    It seems as though the CSA are to continue in the role of the secret police with the knowledge of security from the courts to work in their favour no matter what, and they say we have the best justice system

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