Letter: Watchdog is wise to problems of the CSA

You report that the Child Support Agency says its problems are almost over ("Fathers cough up as CSA improves", 27 October). A look at this week's annual report from the CSA's independent watchdog tells a different story.

The chief child support officer's report took a random sample of 610 maintenance decisions and analysed them to see if the assessments were correct and the proper procedure followed.

The assessment was completely wrong in 179 cases (29 per cent). The amount assessed and the procedure were both correct in 205 cases (34 per cent). In a further 115 cases (19 per cent), irregularities and maladministration were found, even when the end figure was right. There was insufficient information to judge if the assessment was right in 101 cases (16 per cent). The remaining 2 per cent were cases where no assessment was made. In short, one third of assessments were wrong, one third were only right by chance (or couldn't be evaluated), leaving one third correct.

The chief child support officer said: "It was disappointing to note increases in the number of MAs which were incorrect." So much for the CSA's glad tidings.

Andy Farquarson

Broadwell, Warks