HC Deb 12 February 2004 vol 417 cc80-2WS
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions(Mr. Andrew Smith)

Progress in new scheme performance has continued to be made and future improvement is expected. The number of poor families now benefiting from the new child maintenance premium has almost tripled in the last quarter. More than three times as many non-resident parents have now made a first payment of maintenance as at the end of the previous quarter. In each of the three months during the quarter, the agency made more maintenance calculations on the new scheme than it made on the old scheme in the same months last year.

In clearing cases so far, the ratio of those reaching calculation to those that have been closed in the new scheme remained 6:4, compared with the ratio of 4:6 in the old scheme. During the third quarter, the agency cleared nearly as many cases as it did in the first two quarters combined, taking the total number of clearances (calculations and closures) to over 100,000.

The Department continues to retain around 15 per cent of each monthly due to EDS the service provider due to the continuing problems with the computer and telephone system

Technical issues continue to preclude reliable figures on compliance for the latest quarter. However, the agency is focusing more effort on compliance and is working on alternative mechanisms to derive this information.

The current accuracy (to the nearest penny) level is estimated at 83 per cent. against a 90 per cent. target. We expect to see the target reached as further improvements are made to the computer support and staff become more and more familiar with the new scheme.

Because of continuing issues with the new computer's management information systems, we are still unable to provide a reliable throughput figure for the latest quarter. Alternative methods for measuring throughput are being developed.

Summary of Agency Performance to December 2003
Agency Performance Quarter 1 Mar—Jun 2003 Quarter 2 Jul—Sep 2003 Quarter 3 Oct—Dec 2003 Scheme to 2003
Applications received 73,582 78,982 85,306 237,870
Applications cleared 12,648 38,583 49,453 100,684
of which:
Maintenance Calculations 6,671 23,857 29,672 60,200
Closures 5,977 14,726 19,781 40,484
First payments made through the Agency 461 5,164 11,473 17,098
First child Maintenance Premium payments made 77 3,314 6,173 9,564
Agency Performance (March 2003 to June 2003)
Mar-03 Apr-03 May-03 Jun-03 Total In Quarter
Applications Received 3,444 25,228 19,951 24,959 73,582
Applications Cleared 43 1,616 3,441 7,548 12,648
of which
Maintenance Calculations 10 721 1,810 4,130 6,671
Closures 33 895 1,631 3,418 5,977
First Payments Made Through the Agency *136 for 1st 3 months 325 461
First Child Maintenance Premium Payments Made *17 for 1st 3 months 60 77
Agency Performance (July 2003 to September 2003)
Jul-03 Aug-03 Sep-03 Total In Quarter Scheme To Sep-03
Applications Received 28,897 23,761 26,324 78,982 152,564
Applications Cleared 10,526 11,923 16,134 38,583 51,231
of which
Maintenance Calculations 6,922 7,199 9,736 23,857 30,528
Closures 3,604 4,724 6,398 14,726 20,703
First Payments Made Through the Agency 1,032 1,752 2,380 5,164 5,625
Agency Performance (July 2003 to September 2003)
Jul-03 Aug-03 Sep-03 Total In Quarter Scheme To Sep-03
First Child Maintenance Premium Payments Made 267 1,596 1,451 3,314 3,391
Agency Performance (October 2003 to December 2003)
Oct-03 Nov-03 Dec-03 Total In Quarter Scheme To Dec-03
Applications Received 35,724 28,841 20,741 85,306 237,870
Applications Cleared 19,832 16,011 13,610 49,453 100,684
of which
Maintenance Calculations 11,807 9,975 7,890 29,672 60,200
Closures 8,025 6,036 5,720 19,781 40,484
First Payments Made Through the Agency 3,978 3,503 3,992 11,473 17,098
First Child Maintenance Premium Payments Made 2,108 1,915 2,150 6,173 9,564


1. Figures marked with * are not available on a monthly basis for this period.

2. Figures for August and September differ from those previously published as information relating to Northern Ireland Child Support Agency has now been removed. All figures now exclude Northern Ireland.

3. A proportion of cases that have a maintenance calculation in place may already be receiving payment directly, but will not be reflected in the figures shown above.

4. Figures for Child Maintenance Premium payments include an estimate of the number of parents who receive the premium by way of a disregard to their Income Support/income-based Jobseekers Allowance. The disregard has been added from August as data was not available prior to this, and has also been included into the scheme to date figure.

Average weekly child support maintenance payments to parents with care
1 Qualifying Child 2 Qualifying Children 3 Qualifying Children
Average Weekly Payment £31.56 £45.40 £48.70


Figures are for December 2003 only and are calculated as the total amount received and allocated divided by the number of cases.