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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 01:39 GMT 02:39 UK
Child support complaints up by a third
child support agency
The CSA is preparing to introduce a simpler system
The number of complaints accepted for investigation against the Child Support Agency (CSA) rose by nearly a third last year.

The Independent Case Examiner (ICE), Anne Parker, received 1,488 complaints, 765 of which were accepted for investigation - an increase of 31%.

In her annual report, Mrs Parker also predicted a further massive leap in grievances from April when the CSA starts to calculate maintenance payments on net pay rather than a complex formula of up to 108 pieces of information.

The government has indicated the new system will be phased in during a five-year period.


Parts of the system are getting better and my overall concern is that the new system should not be damned if complaints go up

Anne Parker Independent Case Examiner (ICE),
But the examiner warned that people being dealt with under the old system might want to be transferred to its replacement, while others would battle to remain under the old regime for as long as possible because it favoured their cases.

"The agency is facing real challenges next year," added Mrs Parker, who leaves her post at the end of this month to head the National Care Standards Commission.

"Parts of the system are getting better and my overall concern is that the new system should not be damned if complaints go up.

Legitimate complaints

"People will still have legitimate complaints, which will get put right much more quickly."

The Child Support Minister, Patricia Hollis, said: "The agency clearly faces a challenging year as it prepares for the new, simpler system being introduced for new cases in April.

"I am sure that it will rise to the challenges ahead."

The ICE has received funding for an extra 18 case examiners to increase its staff to 55.

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See also:

17 Nov 99 | UK Politics
CSA reform tops welfare bill
30 Nov 99 | UK Politics
Single mothers could face DNA tests
01 Jul 99 | UK Politics
The turbulent history of the CSA
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