HC Deb 15 July 1997 vol 298 c143W
Mr. Gordon Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors underlie the length of delay between the deduction of maintenance money from serving personnel's wages and its subsequent payment to separated partners. [7714]

Dr. Reid

This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from C. G. Winsland to Mr. Gordon Marsden, dated 15 July 1997: I am replying to your Question to the Secretary of State for Defence about the factors which may delay maintenance payments made by Service personnel as this matter falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency (AFPAA). There are 3 general processes employed by the Agency to make maintenance payments from Servicemen's pay:

  1. (a) Automatic credit transfer through the Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS).
  2. (b) Payable Orders in the form of a cheque, which are sent by post and are drawn against HMPMG account.
  3. (c) Allotment or payment books which are pre-funded and against which credits are drawn on the due date.
In each case, the method of payment is dictated by the Child Support Agency (CSA), the Court, or the dependant. The 3 systems have proven to be effective and payments are rarely delayed, other than through exceptional circumstances such as postal delays, technical failure in the BACS system or the production of the payable orders. In the vast majority of cases, payments deducted from pay due on the last working day of each month are credited to the separated partner's account or paid by cheque on the same day. Usually, AFPAA is directed to make payment to the CSA or Magistrates Court for them in turn to issue funds to the individual. From past experience, this can be the most significant factor in any delay between the deduction of maintenance from a Serviceman's pay and subsequent payment to a separated partner. If your question relates to a specific case, I would be happy to initiate a review if you can provide the necessary detail.

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