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In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive, as Stephen Geraghty is on leave I am replying on his behalf.
The new Child Support computer system (CS2) is now more stable technically and performance has improved to the point where service levels are generally being met. A number of defects do remain but EDS has agreed to resolve these as a part of an agreed forward programme of enhancement.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the annual (a) sickness and (b) absenteeism rate has been for staff at the Child Support Agency in each year since 199596; and if he will make a statement. 
The administration of the Child Support Agency is matter for the chief executive, Mr. Stephen Geraghty. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
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You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the annual (a) sickness and (b) absenteeism rate has been for staff at the Child Support Agency in each year since 199596 and if he will make a statement.
|Annual sickness rate (average working days lost per member of staff, expressed in full-time equivalent terms)|
|Current year to date|
(April to October 2005)
In response to your second question, 'absenteeism' is a term that is not used by the Department for Work and Pensions or the Child Support Agency. In line with Departmental Human Resources policy the Agency treats all sickness absence as genuine since it is self-certificated for periods of up to 7 days and certificated by a doctor beyond that period.
The reduction in days lost to sickness this year has been achieved by a combination of measures. Line managers have been given training in new procedures, introduced across the Department, which aim to promote an understanding that our employees are valued, that the Department wants them to be at work and if they are absent to understand why and to assist if it can. Increased support has been provided through the services of the Occupational Health Provider and Employee Assistance Programme. In return the department expects its employees to attend regularly and a warning is given when attendance falls below the level which can be sustained by the business.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many penalties the Child Support Agency has issued for (a) failure to provide information and (b) providing false information in each of the last eight years. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive, as he is currently on leave I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many penalties the Child Support Agency has issued for (a) failure to provide information and (b) providing false information in each of the last eight years.
Since the launch of the Agency in April 1993 it has been a criminal offence (section 15(9) of the Child Support Act 1991) to intentionally delay or obstruct an Inspector exercising his powers or to refuse or neglect to answer any question or furnish information or documents when required to do so. I can confirm there have been no prosecutions under this section of the Child Support Act.
|Section 14A(2) offences (making|
|Section 14A(3) offences (failing to|
|Total section 14A offences|
|January to December 2001||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|January to December 2002||10||10||6||6||16||16|
|January to December 2003||6||6||227||225||233||231|
|January to December 2004||1||1||195||194||196||195|
|January to October 2005||4||4||309||302||313||306|
|Total to 31 October 20||21||21||737||727||758||748|
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parents who wish to migrate to the new calculation system for child support have been advised by the Child Support Agency to contact their Member of Parliament so that their concerns can be passed to Ministers; how many hon. Members have raised concerns on behalf of their constituents with Ministers about the new and old calculation systems running concurrently; and what assessment he has made of the effect of representations made by hon. Members on behalf of their constituents on Government policy on migrating existing child support cases to the new system. 
Mr. Plaskitt: It is not Agency policy to advise clients whether they should contact their Member of Parliament with their concerns. Since March 2003, 777 letters have been received from hon. and right hon. Members about migration, conversion and/or transitional arrangements.
The Child Support Agency's chief executive, Stephen Geraghty, is currently undertaking a root and branch review of the Agency. He will report to Ministers and we will make announcements shortly.
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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the compliance rate was for Child Support Agency claims made by claimants resident in Scotland for each quarter since 200001. 
|Case compliance rate||Cash compliance rate|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what definition of net income is used by the Child Support Agency for assessing maintenance liabilities; and if he will make a statement; 
The rules in the old child support scheme for determining the net income of absent parents and parents with care are contained in Regulations 7
18 Jan 2006 : Column 1368W
and 8 and Schedules 1 and 2 of the Child Support (Maintenance Assessment and Special Cases) Regulations 1992 (SI 1992/1815).
In the new scheme, when a maintenance calculation is first calculated, the net weekly income of a non-resident parent consists only of the types of income specified in the Schedule to the Child Support (Maintenance Calculations and Special Cases) Regulations 2000 (SI 2001/155). These are an employee's or self-employed person's earnings, tax credits and payments from occupational or personal pension schemes.
However, income from capital can be taken into account as a result of Regulations 18 and 19 of the Child Support (Variations) Regulations 2000 (SI 2001/156). Under Regulation 18, where a non-resident parent has significant assets, a parent with care can apply to have them taken into account. This applies where the assets are worth more than £65,000.
In addition, from April 2005, Regulation 19 has been amended, so that in certain circumstances a variation can be made where a non-resident parent receives income from a business or company in a form which is normally ignored in the maintenance calculation. This applies where the non-resident parent receives such income of more than £100 a week and has the ability to control their income, for example, as a company director receiving income in the form of dividends. So payments from such capital resources can be taken into account.
Mr. Plaskitt: The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) provides a free and impartial complaints review and resolution service to customers of the Child Support Agency. The service provided is independent from the Child Support Agency and aims to make a positive difference to the service clients receive.
Mr. Frank Field:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many software and management information system IT updates agreed with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) have been made to the CS2 computer system since March 2003; what future
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planned IT software releases have been agreed between the Child Support Agency and EDS; and on what date each is expected to be released. 
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many software and management information system IT updates agreed with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) have been made to the CS2 computer system since March 2003; and if he will give the dates and details of any future planned IT software releases agreed between the Child Support Agency and EDS.
Under a general realignment of DWP contracts, which came into effect from 15 August 2005, EDS are contracted to undertake a number of releases agreed with the Child Support Agency between now and the end of 2007, designed to remove the large majority of existing defects.
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