Magazine article Public Finance

Child Support Agency's Demise Was 'Inevitable', Says Henshaw

Magazine article Public Finance

Child Support Agency's Demise Was 'Inevitable', Says Henshaw

Article excerpt

The man who made the decision to scrap the troubled Child Support Agency has told Public Finance that the organisations demise was 'inevitable' because it 'simply was not up to the job' of supporting single parents.

But Sir David Henshaw, who published his proposals for overhauling the UK's child support network on July 24, defended the CSA's staff and said that they had prevented a complete meltdown at the agency.

Speaking to PF after his report was published, Henshaw said: 'Clearly the CSA has been struggling for many years and its problems have been well documented. Its successor needs to go back to basics and focus on delivering critical child maintenance cases. Fundamental change was inevitable.

'But what struck me during the review process was the extraordinary commitment of the CSA's staff, who had been rather unfairly criticised in the past. They were using platforms and systems that simply weren't fit for purpose.'

The CSA has a backlog of more than 300,000 cases and around £3bn in uncollected maintenance. It has struggled to transfer recalculated maintenance payments across a flawed £465m computer system.

A senior source at the Department for Work and Pensions said that Henshaw, the former chief executive of Liverpool City Council, had discovered 'a complete mess'. …

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