Children will benefit from changes to child support service

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The new powers introduced will expand the list of businesses and organizations required to provide information to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS), which will help the service track down the paying parent, calculate child support and enforce arrears more efficiently.

To enable businesses to respond quickly and safely, the process is now streamlined so that information can be transmitted through secure digital means instead of the mandatory in-person visits by CMS inspectors.

The government is also presenting proposals to allow all communications to be digital, which will speed up service and ensure that information is delivered quickly to parents.

Following responses from children’s charities, parents and interested organisations, the government published details of the new powers in its response to the consultation on the childcare service.

DWP Lords Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said:

At the heart of these changes is our commitment to ensuring that children receive the financial support they need to have the best start in life.

We’re bringing service into the modern age, removing barriers that can slow cases down and keep money from reaching kids.

The Child Maintenance Service has raised or organized £1 billion for children over the past 12 months, improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of children across the UK.

The CMS is set up for parents who have not been able to come to an agreement between themselves on the support of their child’s living expenses. Child support helps lift around 120,000 children out of poverty across the UK each year.

Plans for future changes when the legislative calendar allows:

  • include unearned income in child support calculations
  • extinguish small volumes of debt of very low value (£6.99 and below) when the maintenance calculation is complete but there is still an outstanding debt and the value of the debt is significantly less than the cost of collecting it
  • extinguish arrears where child support has been deducted from a parent’s income and their employer has gone into administration, and the unpaid arrears can no longer be recovered.

Additional information: – The Child Maintenance Service was established in 2012 to replace the former Child Support Agency, to increase levels of cooperation between separated parents and to encourage parents to fulfill their responsibilities to provide their children the financial support they need to achieve better outcomes in life. – The full consultation response can be found here. – The Digital Notifications Regulation and the expanded Information Regulation will be established and will enter into force as soon as parliamentary time permits. – Postal communications will still be available for all communications where parents prefer.

Media inquiries for this press release – 0115 965 8781

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