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UK Child Support Policy: 3 Operational Phases Dr Christine Skinner International Conference Commemorating the Enactment of the Child Support Enforcement.

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Presentation on theme: "UK Child Support Policy: 3 Operational Phases Dr Christine Skinner International Conference Commemorating the Enactment of the Child Support Enforcement."— Presentation transcript:

1 UK Child Support Policy: 3 Operational Phases Dr Christine Skinner International Conference Commemorating the Enactment of the Child Support Enforcement Act in the Republic of Korea. Seoul Korea, 10 July 2014.

2 Introduction 3 phases of operational approach: Phase 1 - Policy Origin, CSA 1993 Phase 2 - Simplification 2000 Phase 3 - Private Agreements 2008/12 Conclusion and remaining challenges The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

3 PHASE 1:Policy Drivers 1990’s Lone parents a concern More LP’s and more costs: £1.4b (1981) - £4.3b (1990) Their employment fell < 40% was 51% 1978 Only 23% got child support 1989 (50% 1979) Social problem The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

4 PHASE 1:Policy Drivers DUAL SYSTEM: Courts & “liable relative procedures” in social security law and administration. Ineffective – inefficient – inconsistent Moral panics lone parents & ‘absent’ fathers The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

5 New Child Support Agency CSA implemented 1993: Effect ALL ‘non-resident parents’ Retrospective – overturn all previous agreements The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

6 Policy Aims 1993 Make more men pay & pay more money Efficient, consistent, CSA Formula Strong enforcement Fiscal goals – £530m benefit savings target More lone parents to work Change ‘culture’ of non-compliance The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

7 Competing Interests State Tax Payer Non-resident parent Child Lone Parent The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

8 Formula too complex Retrospective implementation Poorly promoted – ‘Wrong Dads’ Errors +++ No account of 2 nd families 2 Emergency enquiries – 6 and 12 months The Department of Social Policy and Social Work 1993 – Protests

9 22 recommendations 6 changes to formula New discretion – depart from formula Account of father expenses and 2 nd families Account of cheating/ hide income details The Department of Social Policy and Social Work 1995 Act

10 CSA near collapse: 40% assessments wrong 100 bits info - chaos Not met aims: Only 1/3 lone parents got CS Ave amounts low New problem … £1.2billion arrears The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

11 Phase 2: New Labour 2000 Act Emergency debate CSA ‘brought unnecessary hardship and suffering to thousands of fellow citizens and this was unacceptable for a public body’ Blair - based ‘sound principles’ Need simpler % formula Stronger enforcement New aim tackle child poverty Parents on benefits keep £10 - if paid. The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

12 Phase 2: Problem 2000 scheme delayed to 2003 (IT) 2 different caseloads: CSA1- Old scheme largest cases CSA % formula Collected £4.5 billion Arrears £3 billion Costs £3 billion Cost 70p to collect £1 The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

13 CSA Collapse The Department of Social Policy and Social Work CSA - ‘failing’.. in crisis.. need wind up Bad marketing Complexity Admin chaos CSA 1 and CSA 2 Individualised justice failed Need independent review - a fresh start

14 PHASE 3: 2008 Act U-TURN: ALL parents make private agreements New agency CMEC – new Gross income formula Rebrand as ‘child maintenance’ New Child Maintenance options The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

15 4 new principles: Reduce child poverty Promote private agreements Cost effective & professional Simple & transparent Operational Aims: single system Parents keep all £ in 2010 PHASE 3: 2008 Act

16 Competing Interests State Tax Payer Non-resident parent Child Lone Parent The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

17 BUT… argue no improvement since 2008 Act Only 1 in 5 private arrangement 50% children no arrangement 38% LP got CM (8% rise since 1991) CSA increases parental conflict CSA default option Costly to run Conservative Coalition elected 2010

18 2011 – change tone Parents’ range of issues Separation complex and difficult Child-well-being perspective 2012 Act: Holistic: new ‘relationship support’ services. New ‘model’ of child support service Phase 3: New 2012 Act The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

19 Phase 3: New Model 2012 The Department of Social Policy and Social Work ’ Primary aim 3 rd & voluntary sector work with parents ‘collaborative culture’

20 New Model 2012 New Statutory Child Maintenance Service (CMS) CSA1 & CSA2 still going CMS a ‘new-new service’ Fully operational in 2014 All CSA cases closed The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

21 Fees for CMS Application Fee: £20 Collection Charge: Receiver 4% deducted from CM Payer 20% charge on top of CM Enforcement Charges: £50-£300 depending on action Implement fees late 2014 if CMS working The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

22 Relationship Support Services Web App Telephone networks Training agencies ‘collaborative parenting’ The Department of Social Policy and Social Work £20m (£14m Innovation Fund) Innovation Fund: test new projects help parents collaborate.

23 Sum- Up 3 key phases: Phase 1: Make men pay and enforcement Phase 2: Simplification and enforcement Phase 3: U-Turn private agreements & CWB: ‘If we can help to ensure that both parents play a role in the upbringing of their children, taking joint responsibility, then we can alleviate the often debilitating after-effects of coping with parental relationship breakdown, including anxiety and depression, increased aggression, hostility and anti-social behaviour.11’ (DWP 2012:10) The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

24 Sum up problems Formulae: too complex no magic ingredient for success Policy aims - conflicted Reduce state costs Tackle child poverty Enforce moral responsibility Promote private responsibility The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

25 Sum up problems Implementation: too rapid, not piloted operational systems not tested staff poorly prepared When policy introduced first time, public misled re purpose CSA too many reforms CSA administrative overload CSA lost legitimacy The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

26 How balance competing interests? State Tax Payer Non-resident parent Child Lone Parent The Department of Social Policy and Social Work Third & Voluntary Sector

27 Conclusion – new challenges Future challenges less on operations Relationship support services Supporting ‘collaborative parenting’ Can we make happy families….? What about child poverty? The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

28 APPENDIX The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

29 Problems Pre CSA Courts & DSS CSA - ChaosCSA – 1 & 2 Chaos CSA1 & 2 & CMEC CSA Closed Arrears ?? Costs ?? Low private agreements ?? Lone parents ?? Fathers ?? 1/3 CM 38% CM ??

30 UK broader policy context Non-compliance CM now recognised problem of: poverty Poor parental relationships But private agreements trapped in social inequalities Poverty Unequal pay Gendered patterns of caring and earning Worry power imbalance in private agreements The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

31 References Bradshaw, J., *Stimson, C., Skinner, C. and Williams, J., Absent Fathers?, London: Routledge, pp. 232, Bradshaw, J. and Skinner, C. Child Support: the British fiasco, Focus, 21, No. 1, 2000, Skinner, C., Bradshaw, J. and Davidson, J., Child Support Policy: an international perspective, Research Report No. 405, Department of Work and Pensions, Leeds: Corporate Document Services, pp. 211, I. Curry-Sumner and C. Skinner, (Eds) (2009) Persistent Problems, Finding Solutions: Child Maintenance in The Netherlands and the UK. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers pp 168, Skinner, C., Hakovirta, M. and Davidson J.(Eds) 'Special Issue: Child Maintenance Schemes In Five Countries', European Journal of Social Security, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012, Skinner C. And Main G. 'The Contribution of Child Maintenance Payments to The Income Packages of Lone Mothers' in Journal of Poverty and Social Exclusion Vol. 21, No , Skinner, C. ‘Child Maintenance Reforms: Understanding fathers' expressive agency and the power of reciprocity’ in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 27(2), 2013, Skinner, C. Meyer, D. Cooke, K. Fletcher, M. Cost Recovery, Social Assistance and Child Maintenance Obligations: UK, US, Australia, and New Zealand Compared Paper (Forthcoming) Social Policy Association conference, Sheffield,UK 15 th of July The Department of Social Policy and Social Work


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