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Kara Swift
Kara Swift
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CSA Does Not Deliver

Date:4 JUL 2006

A National Audit office (NAO) report on the Child Support Agency (CSA) reforms of 2003 was published in June 2006. Described in the report as a final but, in the event, unsuccessful attempt to deliver the policy behind the creation of the CSA in 1993, with hindsight the CSA was never structured in a way that would enable the policy to be delivered cost-effectively. While the reforms had benefited a number of the poorest parents and children, overall, they had not secured good value for money and have failed to deliver much-needed improvements in customer service and administrative efficiency. So far, the reforms had cost 539 million for a scheme that had performed no better than its predecessor, although there were recent signs of improvement. A CSA operational improvement plan, involving new investment of up to 120 million, had been launched to clear the backlog of cases, deal with operational problems and to enforce payment from parents who did not meet their responsibilities. Reflecting the inherent difficulties in delivering the original policy, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions had commissioned a fundamental redesign of the child support system by Sir David Henshaw, which is expected to recommend options for longer-term policy and delivery arrangements. See August [2006] Fam Law for the full news article.