The CSA didn’t know what they were doing

November 9, 2012

This is for all us mums and dads who have been duped by the CSA.

My story stems back 14 years where I have been battling with the Agency to simply ‘get it right’.

It is apparent that perhaps you need little to no intelligence to work for the Agency. In fact the most valued level of expertise is incompetence!

Losing the will to live when dealing with the Agency is an understatement. Un-returned phone calls, unanswered letters, un-collected maintenance, the list just goes on.

Before the Agency became involved (1997) my ex was paying me £246 per month (cash) for our 4 children.  In 1998 when the Agency completed their assessment, they deemed that my ex’s affordable liability should be £12.99 per week for all four children.

After a long, arduous and extremely stressful battle via phone and letters, I eventually won a hearing in 2003 when i took my case to a Departure hearing. My concerns were upheld by the tribunal and maintenance increased and backdated to 2000.  The Agency were ordered to re-calculate their assessments using the Departure ruling and apologise!

I continued in chasing the Agency as weeks, months, years!! went by. By 2005 I was advised that a Liability Order had been obtained for £20,000 arrears.

With little to no money being received from my ex, my Utter frustration led me to apply to ICE. It took almost 2 years for an investigation to be completed as it transpired that the Agency had lost contents of my case and used the excuse that my case was a clerical one and therefore took more time to sort.

In 2007 ICE ordered/recommended that the Agency provide me with a full break-down of what money was owed by my Ex.

A  drawn out calculation was eventually made and a finally I received notification that the arrears amounted to a mere £7,000.

When I contacted the Agency and asked them why the amount was so low when in 2005 a liability for £20K was made, they were rude and dismissive.  A quick recalculation was made and arrears miraculously increased to £16K.   Again I contacted the Agency to tell them the calculation was wrong, i was abruptly told “whats your problem, £16K is a lot of money”.

It transpired that they did not know what they were doing.  The Departure had not been applied and the £20 Liability order had been “lost”.

I had to send supporting documentation for both liability order and departure ruling to the agency more than once as they just kept ‘mislaying’ relevant documentation. I was now the only source of kept documentation!!!!!!

To cut a very epic story shorter, I have just received my third ICE investigative report upholding all of my complaint.

From the Tribunal Hearing in 2003 to November 2012 the Agency has failed to i) calculate the correct maintenance amount due each week, ii) pursue any element of regular payment for current liability or arrears, mainly because they hadn’t worked out what it should be, iii)secured the correct amount of arrears (now some £42K) by a liability against my Ex.

In total I have received some £1K in consolditation payments from the Agency – to say sorry along the way for not doing its job!!

Whilst finally the 3rd ICE investigation has forced the Agency to get to the most accurate figure it has achieved in its 14 years of working on my case it is a bitter-sweet pill to swollow.  The injustice that I have endured, being percieved as the ‘one in the wrong’ for so many years by arguing and disputing the ridiculous calculations leave little room for any celebration to this monumental victory. In reality there is little to no likelihood of getting such sums from my Ex as I believe he is now stating he is unfit to work and there is little to no equity left in his property to pursue an order for sale.

So what exactly has been the point of my stress.    It beggers belief that the Agency remains to an extent untouchable.

I have pursued matters through my MP for many years, I have taken the matter to the Ombudsman who simply referred the matter back to ICE.   For my recent efforts to be rewarded with a £300 consolidation payment for the Agency’s failure to ‘simply do its job’ and yet another letter of apology is just absolutely mind bogglingly ‘fucked up’ when outstanding maintenance because they couldnt get it right sits at some £42K!

I dont know where the law currently stands insofar as taking a Government Agency such as the CSA to Court.  My past research found a test case where the Agency were taken to court for the hardship it had caused a parent by failing to do its job – the outcome of which stated that the Agency owed no duty of care to the parent and therefore recompence was not pursuable.

Maybe if several parents got together to pursue the matter jointly it would have a greater press coverage or impact on the human rights of individuals being grossly compromised by this delightful Agency!

Comments

  • karen bedford says:

    Well done for taking your case so far, unfortunately many of us have tried the press coverage route but cant get anyone to take this up. Watchdog were the only one – a few years back. Your story would be great to go on the facebook groups Child Support Agencies Failings and other groups which are set up to help and advise others of what people have done or could do, i.e. a self help group.

  • >