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The Child Maintenance Service must improve, says Gingerbread

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Single Parent Families has met to discuss how the Child Maintenance Service must be improved for the benefit of children of single parent families across the country.

The event, titled 'Making the Child Maintenance Service Work for Single Parent Families,' was chaired by Rupa Huq MP with speakers Victoria Benson, CEO of Gingerbread and Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, CEO of Surviving Economic Abuse, as well as Gemma and Yael, two single parents who shared their first-hand experiences of the CMS. APPG Vice-Chair Rosie Duffield MP, Stephen Timms MP, Philip Davies MP, Sally-Ann Hart MP and Peter Bottomley MP were also in attendance and joined the discussion.

In December 2021, it was revealed that since the formation of the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) in 2012, there has been over £435.9 million in unpaid child maintenance owed through its Collect and Pay service.

Having heard from many single parents about their frustrating experiences with the CMS, Gingerbread propose the following improvements:

• The CMS should make better use of its enforcement powers.

• Fairer Child Maintenance Service (CMS) charges should be introduced.

• Customer service and case management at CMS needs to be improved.

• The DWP must be more open about the data it shares about the CMS so that the system is transparent and open to scrutiny.

• The service must be better attuned to the needs of domestic abuse survivors.

For more details, click here. To watch the event, click here.