back to article CSA 2.0: defaulting dads to have travel, ID, life switched off

The Department of Work and Pensions' latest bid to salvage a viable system from the Child Support Agency catastrophe, the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), adds several extra and potentially draconian sticks to beat recalcitrant parents with. We have a 'name and shame' web site, credit blacklisting,* monitored …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will they ever get it right??

    My ex has just taken me to the CSA, after 5years without their involvement. Her reason - she wants to go on holiday!!

    Are the CSA ever going to police the resident parents to make sure the money provided by the non-resident is actually spent on the kids.

  2. The Mighty Spang

    Social Justice? I should coca

    This is about reducing the burden on the treasury, plain and simple. Or did I miss the bit where mothers will face the same penalties for refusing to let the father see his children?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this punishing non payers by making it harder for them to pay?

    Doesn't it seem a little counterproductive to punish fathers for not paying support by hurting them financially, or damaging their credit? Surely that will make it even harder for them to pay.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And what about the people who DO pay?

    Will they continue to be treated in the exact same manner as the deadbeats that don't? Will they continue to be charged additional fees that don't go to their child, in other words pay not only for the bureaucracy but also foot the bill for parents that don't pay up.

    With every pay rise my brother gets, virtually all of it is taken by the CSA. His son continues to receive the same amount as before, so in other words they are using child support as a punishment for getting divorced.

    His son (or rather his ex-wife) receives about 600 quid a month. CSA receive in excess of a 1000. When he gets a pay rise CSA take more, his son receives the same 600 quid.

    This is what is wrong with the agency, but is not the only thing that needed fixing. As far as I'm aware getting a divorce is not a crime, therefore being treated as criminal, and having ever increasing sums of money deducted from your wages for no apparent reason is surely unjust?

    If his son received larger checks he wouldn't have a problem with having his child support payment increased, but that is simply never the case. His money pays for these peoples jobs and the payments they send to the children of deadbeats. In return for his generosity, for providing them with a wage and supporting children he's never met, his reward is to be treated with the same contempt and rudeness befitting the losers that don't pay.

    Then you have the people that receive letters of enforcement out of the blue due to human error. Tell me what your wife would think if you received such a letter - regardless of the truth of the matter. Tell me that wouldn't permanently damage your marriage.

    Manage to prove that the kid isn't yours and you get treated as if you somehow got away with a crime. Actually managing to stop the enforcement letters, bills and punishments for not paying is not exactly a walk in the park - usually involves DNA testing, and often a court appearance.

    To say these people are scum is an insult people that actually are scum. IMO they are worse than the deadbeats they supposedly go after, but seem content to ignore as long they're getting the money from someone who pays.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    What when they get it wrong ?

    CMEC is going to be staffed by the same CSA staff & use the same computer system. What will change ? Will they suddenly start getting assessments right, reply to letters pointing out errors and then correct them ?

    I doubt it. The result will be loads of dads penalised in error - and without redress. The plans to 'make it easy' for CMEC to impose penalties without oversight will be a disaster.

    There is all this talk about dads having to do the right thing by their kids: most do; but when it comes to getting mums to do the right thing and have them encourage the kids to see their dads: the government just turns a blind eye -- in fact they reward they by giving more CSA money from dad.

  6. kain preacher

    child support in the states

    well here in the states they have take you before a judge before they can increase child support

  7. Matt Brigden

    And lets not forget the Mums here

    My wifes 2 children live with their dad . The CSA takes money from my wife every week . She recently came off maternity leave and her first pay packet they tried to claw back "back pay" . The system is a joke . We live 200 miles away from the kids so once a fortnight we drive to pick them up . Does that get figured into the amount she has to pay the CSA . Does it hell . The system is as crooked as the day it started .

  8. heystoopid

    Never mind!

    One slacker not so bright employee of the OZ equivalent , actually sent an official letter demanding child support back payments to a a 14 year old male school student , for fathering a womans child when he was only six years old at the time the alleged incident was supposed to have taken place! , and almost caused a divorce for another innocent male with a similar surname!(in all he accused 6 innocent males of that crime , and the only penalty he faced was a meaningless letter of censure from his department head, and instead of being sacked for incompetence and stupidity and was undoubtedly later promoted above his peers based on the "peter principle')

    Now we know why the French invented a special word to describe these idiot employees that the government routinely hire to terrorize the population at large!

    Osama Bin Laden and his boys are but mere amateurs in this game , when it comes to the mindless democratically elected government department officials , operating without the normal checks and balances that the general population face in their daily lives , can and do terrorize their own population at large with absolute impunity to all laws!

    For it wasn't all that long ago we saw such a sample of mass terrorism by Government Employees at Heathrow Airport! , over fictional liquid explosives !

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just to be expected

    In another thread someone remarked that No10 has NEVER agreed to do what an epetition has requested. So here. The CSA, its heir executors or assigns, are beyond criticism. They can do no wrong. If you think they can/have, perhaps Mr Plod ought to visit you for "bringing the Government into disrepute".

    If they get away with this bit of administrative diktat (and I think they will because they have carefully chosen a subject that few will get excited about), then we really are in the early stages of a police state dictatorship.

  10. Paul M. Clements

    The War Against Fathers

    The article on depriving divorced dads of their passports, creating an internal passport/ID, etc was an interesting. Odd, though, that similiar sanctions are not imposed on murder suspects, armed robbers, rapists, and other REAL criminals.

    One must assume that the government considers men who refuse to subscribe to a Communistic "TRANSFER OF WEALTH" scheme (child support/alimony) to be worse than violent criminals.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, you were beaten to it.

    Sorry guys, someone started thinking a bit earlier that you. From :

    I noticed the proposals for dealing with absent parents who won't pay

    maintenance include :

    1) Imposing a curfew on parents who refuse to pay for their children

    2) Removing the passports of parents who refuse to pay maintenance

    3) Allowing C-MEC to take money out of people's bank accounts if they

    fail to co-operate

    4) Using latest available tax-year information and fixing the award

    for a year

    5) Using gross weekly income, rather than net - to limit opportunities

    for manipulating income levels

    6) Charging absent parents for the costs of tracking them down

    7) Information sharing with credit reference agencies - potentially

    affecting future loan or mortgage applications

    8) Naming and shaming absent parents who refuse to pay maintenance

    Let's look at those a bit closer shall we ?

    1) Imposing a curfew on parents who refuse to pay for their children

    How's this going to work ? Who will police it ? What happens if a

    curfewed person loses their job as a result of complying (imagine a

    sales rep who must stay at home between 6pm and 7am - how can they

    travel the country).

    In short WALOB. And that's *before* we look at the HRA implications

    2) Removing the passports of parents who refuse to pay maintenance

    Again, how's that going to work. Similar points as for (1) except here

    we have the facinating prospect that when ordered to hand over their

    passport, the defaulting parent finds they've "lost" it. Obviously you

    can't produce what you can't find. Let's say a "lost" passport gets

    "found" (I never thought to look in the biscuit barrel). Since I have

    never had my passport cross-checked (that's when it gets checked at all) at

    an airport, how will the authorities know I've used it ? What if I

    don't hold a passport, or only hold a non-UK passport ? I presume

    foreign powers will be quite happy to see the UK government taking

    possession of *their* property like some dodgy third world loan

    shark ?

    3) Allowing C-MEC to take money out of people's bank accounts if they

    fail to co-operate

    Possibly a sensible measure. Although given the governments track

    record of tax credits et al, I can't see it working effectively.

    Especially when they get the wrong people.

    4) Using latest available tax-year information and fixing the award

    for a year

    Again possibly sensible. But see (3).

    5) Using gross weekly income, rather than net - to limit opportunities

    for manipulating income levels

    Again possibly sensible. But see (3).

    6) Charging absent parents for the costs of tracking them down

    Again possibly sensible. But see (3). Although this will sound less

    impressive when you offset it against the payouts and legal fees they

    will incur from people who are wrongly identified.

    7) Information sharing with credit reference agencies - potentially

    affecting future loan or mortgage applications

    Hard to see how this will fly in light of the DP issues.

    8) Naming and shaming absent parents who refuse to pay maintenance

    I'll be curious to know how this can be suggested, when people who

    have absconded from control orders (suspected terrorists !) weren't

    able to be named in case it infringed their rights.

    So there we have it. What I spent 10[1] minutes this morning thinking

    about. I now place this post in the wonderful internet memory bank

    that is Google, and defy a government spokesperson to try an tell us

    that "there were unforeseen complications" when one by one these

    "proposals" evaporate like election manifesto promises.

    [1] Actually it was 30seconds thinking, and 9 1/2 minutes typing.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money for old Rope - so the Governmanet can hang itself??

    So let me get this straight, if I fail to pay the CSA then they will take my driving license and passport away.

    Which means I will be unable to work, which means I will legitimately be able to live off the state and claim bankruptcy to clear my debts.

    So the only person who really suffers is my son. So I will pay pay the CSA as my son is important to me, even though the payments are so high that I have to claim bankruptcy anyway.

    So no matter what I do some innocent person loses out.......

    Never give a politician a gun he'll only shoot himself.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK has a lot of things going for it. Any friends living there seem to love it.

    But the CSA seems to me to be the best of intentions implemented in the worst of all ways. The idea was well meaning but it may need to be reformed branch and root - or replaced with a less aggressive system. It also seems (anecdotally) to be default agressive, and not ramp up as appropriate.


  14. Danny

    Back to the old system

    Having had many years of abuse from the CSA, despite paying for him and having him to stay with me, I know that any system like this is never going to work. They cannot get anything right. I have been accused of not paying when I have, had demands far in excess of my salary (how they expected me to pay that I don't know) and been spoken to like sh*t everytime I have rung them. Renaming the agency and applying draconian laws is not going to do anyone except the treasury any good. they should go back to the system they had BEFORE the CSA. Under that a couple could come to private agreement that was nobody elses business. If that was not adhered to, a person could be taken to court and told to pay a fixed amount plus the owed back-pay. If they refused or failed to comply, they went to jail. Nice, simple, straightforward and didn't penalise people who didn't deserve it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Removing ID cards

    I seem to remember the Govt. touting the ID card as an "entitlement" card. One that would allow you to claim your entitlements, and which employers would be obliged to check to make sure you had an entitlement to work in this country. So just taking the card away could easily make sure that people could no longer find new employment. This really is treating a civil tort worse than a criminal offense.

  16. Andy Davies

    what am I not understanding..

    they can stop money from your wages, and have access to your tax code

    - so where does <b>not paying</b> come into it and why are any other sanctions needed???

  17. Steve

    RE: Never give a politician a gun he'll only shoot himself.

    Really ? Cool. And that would be a probem because ... ?

    "Arm Parliament" campaign anyone ?

  18. ichael

    Naming & Shaming

    Interestingly enough (and unsurprisingly) the reality doesn't quite match up to the spin - according to the CSA website the intention is only to publicise those parents convicted of failing to supply information or supplying false information.

    There appear to be no plans to publicise the names of parents who, like me, refuse to pay the Agency because we are directly discriminated against in that we have shared care of our children but under the Child Support Act 1991 are not entitled to receive any maintenance/Child Support from our ex-partners for the time when our children are with us.

    I was looking forward to being able to identify and link up with like-minded parents and start something rolling :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's not surprising some otherwise law-abiding Dads default on payments - the CSA is unbelievably biased towards Mothers. My 2 children live with me exactly half the time, and I pay for half of their expenses, yet even though their mother gets child tax credits and child benefit, if she chose to go to the CSA I would still have to pay her maintenance.

    Let's make the system fair, then it may be more reasonable to pursue nonpayers.

  20. Chris Donald

    More nanny state rip off shite.

    Yep, it's true, if this crap happens we are simply being gently led via "good intentions" towards a dictator state...a police state if you like.

    If you don't believe me, have a think about the kind of government that would seriously interdict on people's personal freedoms with ever increasing "justifictions" of the do-gooder kind.

    Very few dictators will have started out by saying, "I'm going to be an evil sadistic control freak". Instead they will have had quite deep sincere "good intentions" for their country. It goes wrong when you try to control the population too much.

    Are we individuals or simply numbers for the state to dictate to. This lot needs kicking out rapid. Both sides of the house!"!!

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