§ Malcolm Wicks
The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Doug Smith to Mr. Steve Webb, dated 2 April 2003:The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in replying to your recent parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.You ask how many lone parents were permitted by the Child Support Agency not to name the father of their child because of fear of violence in each year for which the concession has been available.I do not have the information to answer this fully. I do however have some relevant information in relation to sole parents who are in receipt of "prescribed benefits". They are obliged to provide information to the Agency. Some parents may not wish to provide this because they have a genuine fear of violence or intimidation from the other parent, or where there are child welfare issues, which would mean that it would not be prudent to contact the other parent. We do not press the parent with care to provide information about the alleged other parent if there are reasonable grounds to believe that to do so may harm or distress the parent with care or any child living with him or her—this is known as "good cause".I do not have figures relating to periods before April 1997. Since then approximately 120,000 applications were on the grounds of a genuine fear of violence or intimidation. My best estimate is that around 100,000 of those cases were lone parents.