Monday, July 02, 2007

Pointless?

Cover-up and Spin AgencySo, the Child Support Agency has published the first names it wishes to shame. The pages on their website show the names of some of those who have been successfully prosecuted each month for either failing to provide information, or for providing incorrect information to the Agency, with the latest appearing here (previous months can be found from the menu on the left, under 'Recent prosecutions').

It seems to me that these people will only be shamed if someone who actually knows them happens to visit the site, but what are the chances of that? OK, the recipients (or should I say non-recipients) of child support will no doubt tell their friends and family that their former partner has been named, but these people will already be aware of the story.

You may, therefore, think that naming and shaming is pointless. Wrong. Its true purpose is to give government ministers something else to say when asked the question: What are you doing about the child support problem?

3 comments:

  1. People will also only be shamed if they are ashamed of not paying, or if they (or their friends and famiyl) consider it shameful.

    Many will no doubt see it as further proof that they are being 'victimised'.

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  2. You're right, John. I think I agree with this policy, but I agree ministers think in exactly the way you describe - regardless of their effectiveness, it's crucial for them to be able to point to actions they've taken.

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  3. Hi HoL, hope you are keeping well. This sort of political thinking leads to ill-considered policies where change is needed, and a 'can't leave it alone' mentality where change is not (necessarily) needed.

    ReplyDelete

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