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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill


Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 1 — The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

1

 

A

Bill

[AS AMENDED IN PUBLIC BILL COMMITTEE]

To

establish the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; to amend the

law relating to child support; to make provision about lump sum payments to

or in respect of persons with diffuse mesothelioma; and for connected

purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

1       

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

(1)   

There shall be a body corporate to be known as the Child Maintenance and

Enforcement Commission (referred to in this Act as “the Commission”).

5

(2)   

Schedule 1 (which makes further provision about the Commission) has effect.

2       

Objectives of the Commission

(1)   

The Commission’s main objective is to maximise the number of those children

who live apart from one or both of their parents for whom effective

maintenance arrangements are in place.

10

(2)   

The Commission’s main objective is supported by the following subsidiary

objectives—

(a)   

to encourage and support the making and keeping by parents of

appropriate voluntary maintenance arrangements for their children;

(b)   

to support the making of applications for child support maintenance

15

under the Child Support Act 1991 (c. 48) and to secure compliance

when appropriate with parental obligations under that Act.

 
Bill 15654/2
 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 1 — The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

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(3)   

The Commission shall aim to pursue, and to have regard to, its objectives when

exercising a function that is relevant to them.

3       

Functions of the Commission: general

(1)   

The Commission has—

(a)   

the functions relating to child support transferred to it from the

5

Secretary of State by virtue of this Act, and

(b)   

such other functions as are conferred by, or by virtue of, this or any

other enactment.

(2)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations provide for the Commission to have

an additional function if it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary

10

or expedient for the Commission to have the function in relation to any of its

objectives.

(3)   

The Commission must exercise its functions effectively and efficiently.

4       

Promotion of child maintenance

The Commission must take such steps as it thinks appropriate for the purpose

15

of raising awareness among parents of the importance of—

(a)   

taking responsibility for the maintenance of their children, and

(b)   

making appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of children of

theirs who live apart from them.

5       

Provision of information and guidance

20

(1)   

The Commission must provide to parents such information and guidance as it

thinks appropriate for the purpose of helping to secure the existence of

effective maintenance arrangements for children who live apart from one or

both of their parents.

(2)   

The Commission may provide information for other purposes in the course of

25

exercising its function under subsection (1).

6       

Fees

(1)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about the charging

of fees by the Commission in connection with the exercise of its functions.

(2)   

Regulations under subsection (1) may, in particular, make provision—

30

(a)   

about when a fee may be charged;

(b)   

about the amount which may be charged;

(c)   

for the supply of information needed for the purpose of determining

the amount which may be charged;

(d)   

about who is liable to pay any fee charged;

35

(e)   

about when any fee charged is payable;

(f)   

about the recovery of fees charged;

(g)   

about waiver, reduction or repayment of fees.

(3)   

The power conferred by subsection (1) includes power to make provision for

the charging of fees which are not related to costs.

40

 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 1 — The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

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(4)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that the provisions of the

Child Support Act 1991 (c. 48) with respect to—

(a)   

the collection of child support maintenance,

(b)   

the enforcement of any obligation to pay child support maintenance,

   

shall apply equally (with any necessary modifications) to fees payable by

5

virtue of regulations under subsection (1).

(5)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for a person affected

by a decision of the Commission under regulations under subsection (1) to

have a right of appeal against the decision to an appeal tribunal.

(6)   

Regulations under subsection (5) may include—

10

(a)   

provision with respect to the period within which a right of appeal

under the regulations may be exercised;

(b)   

provision with respect to the powers of an appeal tribunal in relation to

an appeal under the regulations.

(7)   

The Commission shall pay into the Consolidated Fund any amount which it

15

receives in respect of fees charged by it under regulations under this section.

7       

Agency arrangements and provision of services

(1)   

Arrangements may be made between the Commission and any relevant

authority for—

(a)   

any functions of one of them to be exercised on their behalf by, or by

20

members of staff of, the other;

(b)   

the provision of administrative, professional or technical services by

one of them for the other.

(2)   

The reference in subsection (1)(a) to functions does not include functions of

making, confirming or approving subordinate legislation.

25

(3)   

The Commission may make arrangements under this section on such terms

and conditions as it thinks fit.

(4)   

In this section “relevant authority” means—

(a)   

any Minister of the Crown or department of the Government of the

United Kingdom;

30

(b)   

a public body specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State for

the purposes of this section.

8       

Contracting out

(1)   

Any function of the Commission may be exercised by, or by employees of, such

person (if any) as the Commission may authorise for the purpose.

35

(2)   

An authorisation given by virtue of subsection (1) may authorise the exercise

of the function concerned—

(a)   

either wholly or to such extent as may be specified in the authorisation,

(b)   

either generally or in such cases or areas as may be so specified, and

(c)   

either unconditionally or subject to the fulfilment of such conditions as

40

may be so specified.

(3)   

An authorisation given by virtue of subsection (1)—

(a)   

may specify its duration,

 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 1 — The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

4

 

(b)   

may be revoked at any time by the Commission, and

(c)   

shall not prevent the Commission or any other person from exercising

the function to which the authorisation relates.

(4)   

Where a person is authorised to exercise any function by virtue of subsection

(1), anything done or omitted to be done by or in relation to that person (or an

5

employee of that person) in, or in connection with, the exercise or purported

exercise of the function shall be treated for all purposes as done or omitted to

be done by or in relation to the Commission.

(5)   

Subsection (4) shall not apply—

(a)   

for the purposes of so much of any contract made between the

10

authorised person and the Commission as relates to the exercise of the

function, or

(b)   

for the purposes of any criminal proceedings brought in respect of

anything done or omitted to be done by the authorised person (or an

employee of that person).

15

(6)   

Where—

(a)   

a person is authorised to exercise any function by virtue of subsection

(1), and

(b)   

the authorisation is revoked at a time when a relevant contract is

subsisting,

20

   

the authorised person shall be entitled to treat the relevant contract as

repudiated by the Commission (and not as frustrated by reason of the

revocation).

(7)   

In subsection (6), the reference to a relevant contract is to so much of any

contract made between the authorised person and the Commission as relates

25

to the exercise of the function.

9       

Annual report to Secretary of State

(1)   

The Commission must prepare a report for each financial year.

(2)   

Each report under this section must—

(a)   

deal with the activities of the Commission in the financial year for

30

which it is prepared, including the matters mentioned in subsection (3),

(b)   

include the report prepared under paragraph 20(5) of Schedule 1 by the

committee established under that paragraph.

(3)   

The matters referred to in subsection (2)(a) are—

(a)   

the strategic direction of the Commission and the manner in which it

35

has been kept under review;

(b)   

the Commission’s objectives and targets, the steps taken to meet them

and the extent to which they have been met;

(c)   

the steps taken to monitor the performance of the Commission in

ensuring that its functions are exercised effectively and efficiently;

40

(d)   

the extent to which the Commission has relied on section 8(1).

(4)   

The Commission must—

(a)   

send each report to the Secretary of State as soon as practicable after the

end of the financial year for which it is prepared, and

(b)   

publish the report in such manner as the Commission considers

45

appropriate.

 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 2 — Transfer of child support functions etc. to the Commission

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(5)   

The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a copy of every report

received under this section.

(6)   

In this section, “financial year” means—

(a)   

the period beginning with the date on which the Commission is

established and ending with the next following 31st March, and

5

(b)   

each successive period of 12 months.

10      

Directions and guidance

(1)   

The Secretary of State may give the Commission—

(a)   

guidance as to the exercise of its functions;

(b)   

general or specific directions as to the exercise of its functions.

10

(2)   

In exercising its functions, the Commission must—

(a)   

have regard to any guidance under subsection (1)(a), and

(b)   

comply with any directions under subsection (1)(b).

(3)   

Guidance or directions under this section must be in writing.

(4)   

Power under this section to give guidance or directions includes power to vary

15

or revoke guidance or directions given in previous exercise of the power.

11      

Supplementary provisions

(1)   

In this Part, “child” has the same meaning as in the Child Support Act 1991

(c. 48).

(2)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision about when a child

20

is, or is not, to be regarded for the purposes of this Part as living apart from a

parent.

Part 2

Transfer of child support functions etc. to the Commission

12      

Transfer of child support functions

25

(1)   

Any function under the Child Support Act 1991 which—

(a)   

is a function of the Secretary of State, and

(b)   

is not an excepted function,

   

is by virtue of this subsection transferred to the Commission.

(2)   

The following functions of the Secretary of State under the Child Support Act

30

1991 are excepted functions for the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a)   

functions under sections 23A, 24 or 25 (appeals),

(b)   

functions under section 46 (reduced benefit decisions) or any other

provision of the Act, so far as relating to such decisions,

(c)   

the function under section 50(7)(c) (authorisation of a person as a

35

“responsible person” for the purposes of section 50),

(d)   

functions under section 58 (commencement power and power to make

consequential amendments),

(e)   

the function under paragraph 2A of Schedule 4 (payment of expenses),

and

40

 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 2 — Transfer of child support functions etc. to the Commission

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(f)   

power to make regulations under any other provision of the Act.

(3)   

The functions of the Secretary of State under the provisions of subordinate

legislation specified in Schedule 2, except so far as relating to reduced benefit

decisions under section 46 of the Child Support Act 1991 (c. 48), are by virtue

of this subsection transferred to the Commission.

5

(4)   

Schedule 3 (which makes consequential amendments and transitional

provision and savings) has effect.

13      

Transfer of employees

(1)   

For the purposes of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)

Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/246) (“TUPE”) the transfer of functions from the

10

Secretary of State to the Commission under section 12 is to be treated as a

transfer of an undertaking or business which is a relevant transfer.

(2)   

In its application to the transfer of functions under section 12, TUPE shall have

effect with the following modifications.

(3)   

In regulation 6 (effect of relevant transfer on trade union recognition)—

15

(a)   

paragraph (1) (which limits the application of the regulation to cases

where those transferred maintain an identity distinct from the

remainder of the transferee’s undertaking) is omitted, and

(b)   

in paragraph (2), for “such a transfer” substitute “a relevant transfer”.

(4)   

Regulation 10 (exclusions relating to occupational pension schemes) is

20

omitted.

(5)   

The Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument provide for

TUPE, as applied by subsection (1), not to have effect in relation to such

persons, or persons of such description, as may be specified in the order.

(6)   

A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (5) shall be

25

subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of

Parliament.

14      

Transfer of property, rights and liabilities

(1)   

Subject to subsection (2), the Secretary of State may make one or more schemes

for the transfer to the Commission of any of the following—

30

(a)   

property, rights and liabilities which the Secretary of State is entitled or

subject to in connection with the transferred functions;

(b)   

property, rights and liabilities which the Secretary of State is entitled or

subject to and which the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to

transfer to the Commission in consequence of any function conferred

35

on it by or under Part 1 of this Act.

(2)   

A scheme under subsection (1) (“a transfer scheme”) may not provide for the

transfer to the Commission of rights and liabilities under a contract of

employment.

(3)   

A transfer scheme—

40

(a)   

may provide for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities whether

or not they would otherwise be capable of being transferred or

assigned;

 
 

Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill
Part 3 — Child Support etc.

7

 

(b)   

may create for the Secretary of State interests in or rights over property

transferred by virtue of the scheme;

(c)   

may create for the Commission interests in or rights over property

retained by the Secretary of State;

(d)   

may create rights or liabilities between the Secretary of State and the

5

Commission;

(e)   

may make such supplementary, incidental, consequential or

transitional provision or savings as the Secretary of State considers

appropriate.

(4)   

A transfer scheme shall come into force in accordance with its terms.

10

(5)   

A certificate given by the Secretary of State that any property, rights or

liabilities have been transferred by virtue of a transfer scheme is conclusive

evidence of the transfer.

(6)   

In this section, “transferred functions” means functions transferred to the

Commission by virtue of section 12.

15

Part 3

Child Support etc.

Removal of compulsion for benefit claimants

15      

Repeal of sections 6 and 46

The following provisions of the Child Support Act 1991 (c. 48) cease to have

20

effect—

(a)   

section 6 (under which the claim of benefit by or in respect of a parent

with care, or the payment of benefit to or in respect of such a person,

triggers an application by her or him for child support maintenance),

and

25

(b)   

section 46 (which enables the Secretary of State in certain circumstances

to reduce the benefit of a person in relation to whom section 6 triggers

the making of an application for child support maintenance).

Maintenance calculations

16      

Changes to the calculation of maintenance

30

Schedule 4 (which makes various changes to the provisions about the

calculation of maintenance) has effect.

17      

Power to regulate supersession

In section 17 of the Child Support Act 1991 (decisions superseding earlier

decisions), for subsections (2) and (3) substitute—

35

“(2)   

The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision with respect

to the exercise of the power under subsection (1).

(3)   

Regulations under subsection (2) may, in particular—

 
 

 
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