Sorry for the leading title Jeremy it seems to be the way things are done these days. I am hoping that you survive to lead the labour party and the government [he did at the time!].
That said because I want to say that’s why I am targeting you to help.
There are SMALL problems with the new CSA called the CMS the Child Maintenance Service. They are small preventable problems and require some small tweaks and little reform. I don’t think it’s all bad news and many agree it’s an improvement on the CSA – my word how bad could that have been.
One broken flow – there are others.
What happens is that for whatever reason (it’s not justifiable under the cover of motivating the father to pay) CMS switch payments from a mother or father from a privately arranged arrangement to what is called collect and pay. At this point the CMS arrange for auto arrears payments and also add on 20% to future payments. This leaves the paying parent with a problem that usually ends up with them getting legal advice. One is shocked to learn that often this is not a legal way to trump up charges against a father. That advice tells them if they pay they will not get it refunded and that the back pay is not legal as there is no legal juristiction on payments under private arrangements – although most fathers do pay did pay something and want to continue.
The result is often that payments are not made and here is the thing. Collect and pay is sold as being a service where the Parent with Care PWC doesn’t get paid as much if anything as before. And the usual response is leveraging the child as a way to try and enforce payment or plain spite to the father.
In effect the CMS is coming between mother and father in this scenario and making things much work and creating debt. There would be very few cases where this is effective and justifiable yet nothing is evaluated and the system continues to hurt society at the core – the family unit.
The Fix is simple.
- Do not allow the PWC to auto switch the arrangement to Collect and Pay with no discussion. Of course if there are reasonable grounds then it should be looked at.
- Stop the fear based rhetoric which has I think the wrong effect. Bad lads wont care about it and decent people end up getting legal advice at this stage. It sends up defensive shutters and damages the relationship between parents.
- Reduce the 20% fee. Seriously leverage/use cloud payment systems if there are big admin costs in taking payments. We all know this is a lie however so we offer this cheaper solution to remove this argument in theory. The PWC doesn’t see any of this 20% and they themselves taking a 4% hit on their payments.
Warn the PWC that Collect and Pay does not guarantee payment. If payment comes its -4%
- Do not try and charge arrears if there is evidence the without care parent has been paying.
The tweaks need to recognise that whatever effects it has should not affect the movement of the child and the right of both parents to see the child.
Simple effective actionable steps for a better U.K. and more importantly people.