§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been(a) the average number of employees and (b) the total caseload of the Child Support Agency in each year since the Agency was established; and what estimates she has made in each case for the next three financial years. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
We are looking for substantial and sustained operational improvements from the Agency, in particular on getting more maintenance paid, reducing the backlog and improving customer service.
The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mrs. Faith Boardman. She will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Faith Boardman to Mr. Steve Webb, dated 23 January 1998:I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the employees and caseload of the Child Support Agency.The information on the number of staff since the Agency was established is shown in the table:not always coincided with the end of the financial year; the figures quoted in the table below are therefore from the nearest year-end:
Date Live and assessed Work on hand (less than 52 weeks)1 Backlog (cases over 52 weeks) Total caseload June 1994 203,600 523,968 727,568 March 1995 345,400 212,780 212,780212 770,960 February 1996 460,800 180,263 223,382 864,445 February 1997 579,200 178,024 240,345 997,569 December 1997 706,800 2183,440 171,927 1,062,167 1 Includes cases from week 1 to week 52. 2 The increased work on hand is due to a higher intake than anticipated.Current projections suggest a forecast for live and assessed cases as follows:
- March 1998: 730,000
- March 1999: 855,000
- March 2000: 950,000
- March 2001: 1,035,000Between April 1998 and March 2002 the live and assessed caseload is due to rise by around 50 per cent, to reach a figure of 1,115,000. Of the number of cases cleared from the work available each year (current work on hand plus new intake), the proportion which will lead to assessment and join the live and assessed caseload 122W is expected to rise from 35 per cent. in 1997–98, and 1998–99, to 40 per cent. in 1999–2000 and 2000–01. This is due to improved clearanace times and 'cleaner' intake as a result of Closer Working with Benefits Agency.I hope this is helpful.