Why the variations form doesn’t work

June 7, 2011

When the non-resident parent is lucky enough to have access to their children (something we don’t all get, regardless of the situation) it’s often a struggle financially to keep up regular access when you’re already paying the Child Support Agency.

As part of a measure to ensure that children keep regular contact with both of their parents (at least, that’s originally what it was for) the CSA has something called a variations form. This form allows the NRP to note down costs associated with visiting and caring for their children. These costs are then taking into consideration when revaluating how much the NRP has to pay the CSA.

Costs such as travel expenses (whether made via car or train for example) can be considered, as well as meals and entertainment for the children and even accommodation costs if an overnight stay is involved. Usually these figures are quite low, and there is no problem. However, when the NRP and the parent with care live far apart, such as when the PWC takes the children and relocates, these costs can be incredibly high – especially when you factor in the outrageous fuel costs at the moment, and the high cost for using public transport.

For example, if the NRP lives in Manchester and the PWC relocates to Cambridge, the costs involved with driving down to Cambridge can run into hundreds of pounds. Trains from Manchester, if booked in advance, can still cost a similar amount. The travel time itself too is around three to four hours by car, each way, so making the round trip on one day would give the NRP just a few hours with their children before they had to head back. Of course, they could always look for Cambridge hotels, but this again is an added expense that will add more to the variations form.

The problem then is, what happens when the CSA receives this variations form with several hundred pounds worth of expenses listed? What happens is that they explain the contents of the form to the PWC and how, if they accept it, then they’ll receive less money – hundreds of pounds less. If however they decided to reject the form, and stop access, then they’ll receive the full amount from the NRP.

As with most things in this world, money talks. The variations form from the CSA doesn’t do what it is supposed to do and, instead of ensuring that children have regular contact with BOTH of their parents it merely acts as a method of ensuring the NRP is cut off from their children and that the CSA can claim the full amount possible.


  • John says:

    The variations form! Yet another example of mumbo jumbo, claptrap from this quango that is a shambles.

    I have been paying for 11 years. I don’t know whether the amount that I have been paying is correct or not! I don’t join in by doing CSA calculations. Why should I?

    These thieves want it to be complex, in order that they screw us all for money.

    The legislation is flawed and the system is not fit for purpose!

    If I EVER get enough money to employ top barristers, I will be heading for the courts to destroy the myth that is the CSA.

    People paying, people not paying. Billions of pounds uncollected and millions wasted on failed I.T projects in order that contractors awarded contracts by the Executives, can scam the system by fraud!

    £25 million pounds worth of errors, plus or minus 6 million! Some under paying, some over paying!

    Shut this bloody shambles down now!

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