CSA collects less cash than old unit

BY POLLY TOYNBEE

The Child Support Agency is collecting far less money from absent fathers than the system it replaced, according to a study by the Network Against the Child Support Act. The CSA did not deny the findings yesterday.

Before the CSA was set up in April 1993, money was recouped from absent fathers whose former partners claimed benefits.

The Department of Social Security's liable relatives unit collected pounds 313m in its last year, with a staff of 1,600. The CSA last year only collected pounds 44m with a staff of 6,500. A further pounds 108.61m was collected via maintenance agreements inherited from the old unit.

This shows that each CSA officer has only collected pounds 6,797 in new money, while under the old system each officer collected pounds 195,625. Operating costs under the CSA are estimated at pounds 8.31 per case; under the old scheme each case cost pounds 3.42.

However, the report does show a further pounds 20.43m was saved from the social security budget as a result of the money collected from fathers lifting mothers off benefit altogether.

By far the biggest success the CSA has had has been in exposing benefit fraud. Following CSA inquiries so many parents with care abruptly stopped claiming benefit that pounds 165.95m has been saved. This is thought to be due to fraud where couples said they had separated, each claimed more benefit separately, but were in fact still living together. In other cases mothers on benefit may also have been receiving undeclared funds from absent fathers.

The CSA says it has cleared over 800,000 cases. However, only 299,000 full assessments have been made, while 403,000 have been "cleared without assessment". These are cases where sabotage by one parent, usually the absent father, has prevented it gaining enough information and it has abandoned the attempt at collection.

The other 129,000 are interim assessments where the CSA, having failed to get a response, makes a high estimated charge to scare parents into responding. Few of these have been paid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine