The facts speak for themselves. More than one in three non-resident parents fail to pay any of the money they owe, amounting to £3.5 billion in uncollected maintenance. Around 230,000 of the almost 250,000 cases where a parent isn’t complying have not been handed to the enforcement arm of the Agency. And 275,000 cases are stuck in the system and so going nowhere.
He calls the agency's IT system "a turkey from day one", which still had 500 defects three years after it was introduced. Most damningly of all he says:
It took thirteen years of failure for the department to reach the conclusion that the Agency was not fit for purpose. During this time, thousands of children suffered; as thousands of absent parents have neglected their duties.
It is hard to think of a body in which the public has less confidence: in 2005-06 alone, there were 55,000 complaints about the CSA.
Of the future, he somewhat worryingly says:
In 2008 the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will replace the CSA. But it is by no means clear how this will benefit citizens or regain the confidence of those the Agency was intended to help. The government must keep an iron grip on this new organisation to ensure that the lessons have been learned from the CSA debacle.