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Most arrangements under Child Maintenance Service are still in place one year later

Results of 30-month review published by DWP

The Department for Work and Pensions has published research which, it says, shows the majority of separated parents using the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) are managing child support payments themselves.

Most arrangements set up using Direct Pay under the new CMS are still in place a year later, the research suggests.

The CMS, launched in 2012 and replacing the old Child Support Agency, is designed to support separated families to come to their own financial arrangements. The DWP says that the old system was failing families because it was complicated, did not encourage collaboration, and was not providing value for taxpayers.

Four pieces of research have been published as part of a 30-month review into the impact of charging by the CMS.

The research shows:

Caroline Nokes, Welfare Delivery Minister, said:

"We know children grow up to have better health, emotional well-being and educational attainment if their parents, whether together or separated, have a positive relationship. All children deserve the best start in life and that's why the Child Maintenance Service is designed to help separated parents to work together, where possible, to make an arrangement to support their children, and our early research suggests most are able to do this.

"But we understand in a minority of cases this isn't possible and for those parents in difficult or vulnerable situations our staff can give them extra support and the CMS can collect payments on their behalf."

Parents who cannot manage their child maintenance payments on Direct Pay can use the CMS's Collect and Pay service. The CMS has powers to enforce payments, for example by deducting payments from the paying parent's earnings or benefits.

Publication of the research reports concludes the 30-month review into the impact of charging for child maintenance services. The government will be responding to the findings from the 30-month review in 2017.

To access the research reports, click here and scroll to the foot of the press release.