CSA worker was like Fidel Castro

December 16, 2012

I have been divorced since 2002 and have been paying maintainance direct to my ex via standing order and having my children on a regular basis since that time. The CSA have been involved as my ex decided she would be better off if they were. Everything has been fine up until I decided to re marry.

All of a sudden over the last ten months my ex has been extremely difficult over me having the children and having them herself on my regular weeks in the school holidays.( weeks that I have always had them). Then in June I recieved a letter from the CSA stating that they had been informed of a change in the shared care arrangements and that I was no longer considered to be having shared care.

This came as a bit of a shock as I knew things had changed a few times at the last minute, but it wasn’t me that changed them. After a number of frustrating phone calls I was advised by a grunt to keep a calender of the overnight stays for three months then send it in. Exactly a week before the 3 months was up I recieved a letter stating that they had made the decision about what I should pay and that I had no allowance for having the children. Full amount 20% of net pay. Net pay? where did they get that figure? I didn’t tell them, maybe it was hearsay. Another frustrating phone call followed to make my points.

This grunt did at least listen and said I should send in two wage slips and he would send me a calender to transfer my dates onto. this he duly did and I duly sent them. A week passed and I hadn’t heard anything so I called to check if my documents had arrived to be told ‘they might well have done, but it could take upto 2 weeks as we get so much mail’. A week later I received another letter saying that nothing had changed as no new evidence had been received.

A further phone call, this time a female version of Fidel Castro was on the other end. ‘We haven’t received your wage slips or your dates that’s why it hasn’t changed!’ She trumpeted. She then proceded to explain that abscent parents had to pay and if the parent with care said there was a change in circumstances then the abscent parent had to PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE. Well what just happened to justice I thought. I decided at this moment that I was going to be in for a rough ride with this bunch of morons.

I have now provided my earnings and dates of care on 4 separate occasions, as well as written statements for both, but still there appears to be no new evidence to change their decision. I have been told numerous different stories, they have lost wage slips, I have spent hours on the phone, a fortune in postage as they only provide 2nd class reply paid envelopes on 7 day reply letters. But still no correct outcome.

I just want the arrangements to be right and the payments I make to be based on actuals and not some figment of some faceless jobsworth’s imagination.


  • Alice says:

    to qualify for a shared care allowance you must have overnight care of the qc(s) for a minimum of 52 nights per year – this can be assessed over a 3 month period, if both nrp and pwc agree the level of shared care this will be awarded and a new maintenance calculation will be done to include the allowance. If nrp and pwc do not agree then both parties will be asked to provide their best evidence, there may be several calls between the agency and the parents to try to get an agreement, if no agreement is reached the case worker will make a decision based on the evidence supplied. Sadly some PWCs do manipulate the system and restrict shared care so that the overnight stays fall between the minimum of 52 nights, regardless of who’s decision it is to reduce the overnight stays the CSA must stick to the legislation and award shared care only if the overnight stays amount to the 52 nights or more.

    The agency receive thousands of letters per day, these are delivered not to the agency but to a central point, letters are opened and forwarded to the relevant csa location they will then be filtered and delivered to the relevant dept – it helps if correspondence is marked with the dept reference number which should be on letters sent out. It can sometimes take a couple of weeks for mail to reach the dept the case is held with – if you have access to a fax machine (most libraries or council offices will send faxes for a small charge) ask the case worker for a fax no for their dept and fax the documents clearly marked with the case workers name and/or reference number. Phone back to check that it is been rec’d.

    The 20% of your net income is the standard maintenance due for 2 children, if your income increases or decreases either party can request a re-assessment, the rise or drop must exceed 5% of what your income was on the last calculation. If you have sent in wage slips and the case worker has not rec’d these then ask if they will take the information over the phone – you will need to have the relevant wage slips in front of you and you will be asked to provide the gross, tax, ni, pension figures from your payslip. If info is taken verbally and a mc is based on this you may be asked at a later date to provide the actual wage slips – cases are picked at random for this and it is simply a measure to ensure that clients are not providing false info. You could also ask your case worker to obtain the wages info direct from your employer – again they will be able to fax in the info direct to the dept.

  • brett says:

    Your only consolation from the mess youve been put in, is that your under CSA 2 rules, paying 20% of your net pay for two children.
    Im under CSA 1 rules paying nearly 25% net pay for one child. The whole system stinks !

  • Foreverskint says:

    Or 19% gross, yes GROSS.!!!! after reading Alice’s last post I’m now clearer why the goal posts have changed……what a total fiasco, do this, do that, call us back, keep a diary that proves nothing cos you won’t be believed, cos we always side with the real victim in all this, your ex!! Fax this fax that, second class reply!?? Post is sent centrally!!?? What is the point in all this nonsense??

    if they were a private company they’d have gone skint years ago!!….shame they’re not !

    At least Alice has the decency to come on here and explain it all……..

    Good luck and don’t let them beat you, your ex has a lot if explaining to do, just like a lot of exes she sounds very bitter and vindictive….and insecure.

  • stuart says:

    and once again contrary to law……………you have to prove your innocence. The CSA way above the law and still unable to get it’s audited accounts signed off……..How do they keep their jobs.

  • Sally says:

    This story is so familar and although people appreciate Alice providing information about the CSA rules etc I would like to know what the NRP can do to prevent the PWC from reducing the overnight stays to get more money. This is a fundimental flaw in the CSA rules… NRP’s have absolutely no contro over the PWC and cannot force her/him to stick to agreed arangements.

    Will this criteria be reviewed in the near future?, is it something you and colleagues could discuss with your boss? I completely understand and agree that NRPs should pay for their children but they should (as an equal parent) be able to have the kids stay over as often as they like without money being the catalyst for the PWC!!!

  • browned off says:

    My son was taken to court twice by his ex. The reason – she was not prepared to share care 50/50 in case her child benefits and child maintence were affected. It cost my son several thousand pounds to ensure that she did not stop contact with his children altogehter. What some mothers will do to ensure that the cash rolls in.

  • Foreverskint says:

    Just wish they’d at least kiss me first before bending me over……

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