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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. Introduction. 3 phases of operational approach:

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uk child support policy 3 operational phases

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.

introduction
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

phase 1 policy drivers
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

phase 1 policy drivers1
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

new child support agency
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

policy aims 1993
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

1993 competing interests
1993 - Competing Interests

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

1993 p rotests
1993 – Protests
  • Formula too complex
  • Retrospective implementation
  • Poorly promoted – ‘Wrong Dads’
  • Errors +++
  • No account of 2nd families
  • 2 Emergency enquiries – 6 and 12 months

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

1995 act
1995 Act
  • 22 recommendations
  • 6 changes to formula
  • New discretion – depart from formula
    • Account of father expenses and 2nd families
    • Account of cheating/ hide income details

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

1995 1997
1995 -1997

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

phase 2 new labour 2000 act
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

phase 2 problem
Phase 2: Problem

2000 scheme delayed to 2003 (IT)

2 different caseloads:

  • CSA1- Old scheme largest cases
  • CSA2 - 2000 % formula

Collected £4.5 billion

Arrears £3 billion

Costs £3 billion

Cost 70p to collect £1

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

2006 csa collapse
2006 - CSA Collapse
  • 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

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

phase 3 2008 act
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

phase 3 2008 act1
PHASE 3: 2008 Act
  • 4 new principles:
    • Reduce child poverty
    • Promote private agreements
    • Cost effective & professional
    • Simple & transparent
  • Operational Aims:
    • single system 2013-14
    • Parents keep all £ in 2010

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

2008 competing interests
2008 - Competing Interests

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

conservative coalition elected 2010
Conservative Coalition elected 2010

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
phase 3 new 2012 act
Phase 3: New 2012 Act

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

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

phase 3 new model 2012
Phase 3: New Model 2012

Primary aim 3rd & voluntary sector work with parents ‘collaborative culture’

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

new model 2012
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 2014-17

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

fees for cms
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

relationship support services
Relationship Support Services

2012 -£20m (£14m Innovation Fund)

Innovation Fund: test new projects help parents collaborate.

Web App

Telephone networks

Training agencies ‘collaborative parenting’

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

sum up
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

sum up problems
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

sum up problems1
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

how balance c ompeting interests
How balance competing interests?

Third & Voluntary Sector

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

conclusion new challenges
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

slide28

APPENDIX

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work

uk broader policy context
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

references
References

Bradshaw, J., *Stimson, C., Skinner, C. and Williams, J., Absent Fathers?, London: Routledge, pp. 232, 1999.

Bradshaw, J. and Skinner, C. Child Support: the British fiasco, Focus, 21, No. 1, 2000, 80-86.

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, 2007.

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, 2009.

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, 222-348.

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 1. 2013, 47-60.

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, 242-265.

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 15th of July 2014.

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work