§ Mr. Robert McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will ensure that the Child Support Agency distinguishes in correspondence to parents between basic payment amounts and arrears amounts; and if she will make a statement. 407W
§ Mr. Worthington
Responsibility for this subject has been delegated to the Northern Ireland Child Support Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. Patrick Devlin, and I have asked him to arrange for a response to be given.
Letter from P. Devlin to Mr. Robert McCartney, dated 19 June 1997:I am replying to your Parliamentary Question about distinguishing between basic payment amounts and arrears amounts in correspondence to parents.When a child maintenance assessment is calculated notifications are issued to both the absent parent and parent with care informing them of the amount and the effective date of the weekly liability. At this stage accounts are set up and further notifications setting out the method, frequency, amount and date of the first regular payment are sent to both parents. They are also advised of the amount of maintenance due for the initial payment period. The absent parent is advised that if he has paid any maintenance during this time for any of the children named the amount of the initial payment may be reduced to take account of monies already paid.If an absent parent fails to make payment on the due date he is advised that child maintenance payments are in arrears. The notification sets out the due date, amount due, amount paid/adjusted and arrears. He is also asked to pay the arrears in full or if he is unable to do so to contact the Agency immediately to discuss an agreement to pay them. The notification also advises that if an agreement to pay the arrears is reached then payments of regular maintenance must be maintained.I hope you find this information useful.