£13.9 million owed to CSA in Wearside and East Durham

April 24, 2008

A staggering 5,100 non residents parents across the Wearside and East Durham area owe the child support agency £13.9 million in child maintenance.

A spokesman for the child support agency, Richard Percy, who is a legal enforcement manager, said:

This is about children who are not being provided for.

The CSA’s focus on enforcement and its determination to use the powers available to recover the debt owed.

Unfortunately, there are some parents who go to great lengths to avoid paying what they owe for their children and this is unacceptable.

Children are being brought up at a disadvantage and are not going to have the same comforts as their friends whose parents do accept their responsibilities and who do provide for them.

They will not have as many luxuries such as treats, clothes and holidays.

Of course he fails to mention all of the non resident parents who are being charged too much or have had to quit their jobs because they can’t afford to work. He also mentioned how the CSA profits from the money raised. He also doesn’t mention all of the parents who have agreements to pay between themselves, but because the CSA aren’t getting their cut; they class them as not having paid.

Richard Percy went on to say:

It’s important to remember that this isn’t about securing money for the CSA, but about recovering money for those children who are owed it.

Yeah right mate, not about securing money for CSA. Sure thing pal.

This debt isn’t going to go away.

We are not denying that in the past the agency has not always delivered the service expected of it but If non resident parents think they can ignore their responsibilities and that we are never going to get in touch they are wrong.

Not always delivered the service expected? That’s an understatement.

If non resident parents have problems or are struggling to pay, they cannot ignore it, they should get in touch with the agency as soon as possible to discuss their situation and how they will pay the money back.

They have tried getting in touch. They have all tried getting in touch. It doesn’t work. You threaten them with bailiffs, court summons, deduction of earnings orders etc.

It is making non-resident parents realise they must pay for their children. The message is that if you don’t pay the agency, the agency is going to do something about it.

Ah, yes. Right on cue. The threats.

We will use all the enforcement powers at our disposal to recover the debt that is owed to children.

It doesn’t go to the children though does it? These people live in their own special world where they’re always in the right. You cannot appeal to the CSA because it is all dealt with internally. Only by exposing them publicly can you raise awareness of their injustices.

Oxford woman recieves CSA information for someone else

April 21, 2008

An Oxford woman, Emma Kelly, has received confidential information for nine other people from Oxford County Court. The information includes NHS records, information on court orders and naturally, CSA information.

Mrs Kelly is particularly concerned at the fact that the page she has been sent is marked at ‘page 3 of 4’. Where have the other 3 pages been sent?

The court has classed the mistake as an ‘administrative error’… where have we heard that before?

You would have thought that after losing the details of 25,000,000 people last year, they’d be a little bit more careful with confidential data.

The HMCS said in a statement:

HMCS takes this matter extremely seriously and constantly reviews all processes to ensure the safe transfer of data throughout its systems.

The data concerned was sent following an administrative error. Processes have been tightened to prevent this incident happening again.

Father sent to prison over CSA, despite ex-wife’s protests

April 16, 2008

A loving father who both provided for, and cared for his children while his ex-wife worked, was sent to prison because of the child support agency, despite the children’s mother protesting saying she wouldn’t be able to work if he wasn’t there to look after the kids.

Michael Cox is 43 and a barrister.

The parents had an arrangement worked out between them, the father provided for the children whenever they needed anything. He shared custody of the children. Everyone was happy, except for the CSA, as they weren’t getting their cut.

This a tale of horrific management on behalf of the child support agency as they’ve broken up a unit that was working and sent the father of three children to prison, when he had done nothing wrong. None of the family asked for, nor wanted the ‘help’ or interference of the CSA. The CSA of course had other ideas.

The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) responded with a typically standard statement that showed no understanding of the circumstances whatsoever:

We always give non-resident parents every opportunity to comply with their responsibilities, but will take enforcement action where necessary. We will continue to reform the system of child maintenance to ensure that all parents fulfil their duty of care.

Michael Cox acts as a legal advisor for Fathers 4 Justice, who believe the CSA have victimised Michael because of his involvement in their organisation. Fathers 4 Justice’s Matt O’Connor said:

Prisons are bursting at the seams and yet here is a man that has been vindictively pursued by the CSA, to jail him on a matter of principle is scandalous.

He already looks after, feeds, clothes and provides a roof over their heads half the time. Why should he have to pay that money twice?

He’s treated as an absent father because of his gender.

This shows how the child support agency has completely lost the plot with regards to providing for children. How does taking a father of three and jailing him help the kids? They’ve lost their father and their mother is now unable to work because of the CSA, costing the country more money in terms of benefit for her and keeping the father in prison.

Well done CSA!

Via the BBC

New CSA Advice Forum

April 15, 2008

A fairer CSA for all‘ is a new forum dedicated to offering advice with dealing with the Child Support Agency. It’s not that busy at the moment but I’d imagine it will pick up fairly quickly.

There’s an even a special room for non resident parents to moan.

We’ll be launching our own forum here on CSAHell.com before too long. More on that when we have news for you.

Sperm donor ordered to pay Child Support by the CSA

April 14, 2008

In a staggering display of heartlessness from the child support agency, they have been deducting over £400 per month from the pay of Andy Bathie, a fireman from North London, for children he fathered as a sperm donor!

Andy donated sperm to a lifelong friend of his so that she and her lesbian partner could have a child. They eventually had two children, both as it transpired fathered by Andy’s sperm.

However, the lesbian couple split up, prompting the mother to pursue child support from the father, a bewildered Andy Bathie. Andy says they had an agreement that he would be under no financial or moral obligation to any child fathered from his donation as he was merely helping out a couple that could not have children. The CSA, in their infinite wisdom, see it differently. They say Andy has an obligation to his two children, requiring him to pay child support.

Furthermore, they have been deducting money direct from his pay with a DEO (deduction of earnings order). Andy claims he cannot survive with over £400 being removed from his pay each month. But then, who could?

From the BBC.

You can watch Andy Bathie being interviewed on BBC news here.

CSA blunder almost splits up a family

April 13, 2008

The CSA are known for their blunders, but this one is exceptional even for them. They sent a letter to Andrew Ward claiming he owed money for a three year old child he had fathered, which resulted in his wife thinking he had cheated on her. She ordered him to pack his bags and leave the house, even though he had no idea what was going on.

When he realised he had been accused of sleeping with another woman and fathering a child three years prior, he knew it was a terrible error on behalf of the child support agency, as he had had a vasectomy eight years previously.

As it turned out they’d made an error with the national insurance numbers, and thus caused his wife to believe he had cheated on her.

Unbelievable.

You can watch the video interview from the BBC here.

Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd helps father with CSA complaint

April 11, 2008

John Hall, father of 3, was having trouble with the Child Support Agency when then insisted he was in arrears after he had arranged an agreement with the mother of his children. They upped his payments to £400 per month, forcing him into depression and to be laid off work.

It wasn’t until he went to his MP, Ann Clwyd, that he managed to get any results from the CSA’s convoluted and incompetent complaints procedure.

I followed the complaints procedure, spending hours and hours on the phone, but it was a waste of time.

After Ann Clwyd became involved with John’s case the CSA’s high level complaints department looked at the case and found that indeed John was correct, he was no in arrears and was paying too much. They awarded him a £2,000 cheque for his refund and lowered his payments.

This is a familiar story with the CSA, and sadly most cases aren’t brought the attention of any MPs. We’d advise you do this if you feel you’re having difficulty getting through to the child support agency.

You can read the full story here at IC Wales.

Watchdog lambast the CSA

April 10, 2008

The Child Support Agency has come under fire from Watchdog because of its abject failure to collect the monies owed to children by absent parents.

The amount owed in Northern Ireland alone is £71 MILLION according the a report from the Public Accounts Committee at Stormont.

The CSA considers 58% of the £71 MILLION owed to be uncollectable, which is unacceptable.

John O’Doud, of the PAC said:

We have urged that the CSA does go out after the money, that they set higher targets – £1.5m of debt collection next year is not acceptable.

It is the committee’s view that this is sending out the message that if someone is assessed by the Agency for child maintenance they do not have to pay because it is unlikely that the Agency will collect it.

This is just the icing on the cake of course, because while the CSA has written off countless millions of pounds worth of debt, they’re also targeting absent parents who don’t owe the amounts they’re being forced to pay, in many cases causing bankruptcy.

via BBC

CSA use Adwords on broad match

April 9, 2008

We mentioned on Monday how the CSA are using Google’s Adwords to advertise their bounty hunting services in the UK. It’s actually worse than that as they’re using Adwords, but have the keyword ‘CSA’ on broad match with no negatives. This is an awful way to run a PPC campaign as they’ll be eating through budget very quickly.

You can see this by Googling ‘CSA’ and adding any other word with CSA, such as what we’ve done here, ‘CSA Complaints’. You can see that the standard CSA advert shows up, in position 1 every time. This means they’re bidding high and are appearing for any search that uses the letters CSA together.

What a waste of money, but then would you expect anything less from the child support agency?

CSA Adwords

In addition to using broad match with no negatives, they’re using their homepage as the landing page for every ad, and aren’t catering the ad in any way for the search. For example, if they had any sense (which of course they don’t) they’d have different ads and different landing pages to cater for different searches, such as a search for CSA Complaints could take you to the complaints procedure page on their website.

But that would require knowledge and intelligence, something blatantly lacking with the child support agency.

Margaret Ritchie comes under pressure because of CSA

April 8, 2008

Margaret Ritchie, the Social Development Minister, has come under growing pressure to outline the future of the Child Support Agency CSA) after the publication of an extremely critical report from the Stormont Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Margaret Ritchie and her department are responsible for the day to day running of the CSA and her department is set to absorb the entire agency in the near future.

Simon Hamilton, a member of the PAC said:

The idea behind the CSA is a sound one but the history of the agency has been disappointing.

On one hand you have parents who don’t face up to their responsibilities escaping the net and on the other, responsible parents being penalised by an inept system.”

A spokesperson for the child support agency said in response to the report:

However, the CSA welcomes the publication of the report and will consider the PAC’s recommendations fully.

I wonder if the CSA will take on board what has been said and actually make any changes to their operating procedures, if they even can?

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