Child Maintenance Service Procedures

S Carter made this Freedom of Information request to Child Maintenance Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Child Maintenance Service,

I am writing to you for clarification on points of concern that are not being answered nor administered by the child maintenance service (CMS).

1. Are the telephone operators aka client service managers advised to refuse the request of escalating a complaint and also providing information on the complaints procedure as an injured party aka not responding to letter/notices?

2. What is the time scale for responding to letters sent to CMS namely requesting further details regarding allegations and presumptions?

3. What is the procedure and time scale for the CSA responding to DNA requests by an alleged parent?

4. Under what LAW can the CMS assume liability and administer a garnishment of private income where no evidence of lawfulness, liability, debt or contract has been given.

5. Under what LAW can the CMS continue to administer a client case, under civil procedures (Child Support Act 1991) where there is no contract; expressed, implied, stealth, tacit or otherwise.

I look forward to your swift honest response.

Yours faithfully,

Tarquin Hopefull

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Operations FOI Requests, Child Maintenance Service

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Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
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DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 

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Your reference: FoI 4327
Date: 20th December 2016

RE: Internal review - [email address]

Dear DWP FoI Cental Team
Thank you for your reply dated 15th December 2016. However the questions posed have not been answered as explain below.

We asked
1.Are the telephone operators aka client service managers advised to refuse the request of escalating a complaint and also providing information on the complaints procedure as an injured party aka not responding to letter/notices?

2.What is the time scale for responding to letters sent to CMS namely requesting further details regarding allegations and presumptions?

Your response was
1 & 2 Section 21 of the FOIA provides an exemption to the requirement on public bodies to provide information, if that information is readily accessible within the public domain. Our customer charter explains what you can expect from the Department and what your responsibilities are in return. Our Customer Charter can be accessed online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy... ata/file/221162/child-maintenance-our-client-charter.pdf

We asked
3.What is the procedure and time scale for the CSA responding to DNA requests by an alleged parent?

Your response was
3 Attached Annex A is guidance that is available to case work when handling cases where parentage is being disputed.

We asked

4.Under what LAW can the CMS assume liability and administer a garnishment of private income where no evidence of lawfulness, liability, debt or contract has been given.

5.Under what LAW can the CMS continue to administer a client case, under civil procedures (Child Support Act 1991) where there is no contract; expressed, implied, stealth, tacit or otherwise.

You responded

4 & 5 You asked about the legislation which allows the CMS to make and enforce maintenance liability decisions. Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments, such as regulations and orders provide the legal framework for decision making. The overriding framework of all three schemes for maintenance, and the power to make specific provisions within statutory instruments, is derived from the Child Support Act 1991. The Act has been amended over the years, as subsequent schemes were introduced, such as the amendments brought about by the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008, which created the framework for the 2012 scheme.
Please find below links to this legislation:
Child Support Act 1991
Child Support Maintenance Calculation 2012

Specifically, the regulations applicable to the 1993 scheme are: The Child Support (Maintenance Assessment and Special Cases) Regulations 1992
The Child Support (Maintenance Assessment Procedure) Regulations 1992 and
The Child Support Departure Direction and Consequential Amendment Regulations 1996

Specifically, the regulations applicable to the 2003 scheme are:
The Child Support (Maintenance Calculation and Special Cases) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2001/155)
The Child Support (Maintenance Calculation Procedure) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2001/157); and,
The Child Support (Variation) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2001/156)

Responding to your responses

Please note that the none of FOI requests have been satisfactory answered. I appreciate your effort but these were not the answers I were seeking. As such please can you provide the answers to the same questions with the assistance of my responses as listed below.

For a public body tasked with administering services for the public, paid for by the public, we would expect as a minimum clear guidelines, targets (figures, numbers) for responding to letters regarding matters of child support, general complaints and relative matters, and for these to reasonably and practicably available in terms of clarity and general availability.

Q 1 & 2 We are aware of information on the public domain including Government protocol given at www.gov.uk/child-maintenance/complaints-.... The questions are reference to information that is not available on the public domain.

Q. 1 is a simple yes or no answer; rationale and correlating legislation to back up answer would also be sufficient in this instance (as per DWP guidelines).

Q. 2 is also a relatively simple figurative answer. My request is for a definitive answer/working protocol as opposed to the Charters subjective statements, e.g.:

“Responsive… We will answer your questions and sort out any issues as quickly as we can. If your needs change, we’ll change with you. And we’ll use your feedback to improve how we do things.”

Q.3 Once again this is a figurative answer that may correlate to your given Annexe. Time-scale e.g. 7 days? 14 days? Etc.

For such serious matters, the public would expect it reasonable and practicable that the body tasked with administering this public service is working to a time scale.

Q. 4 & 5 You make reference to legislation when clearly asked for the Law.

There is a difference between legal, which is civil law and is contractual, and Lawful, which is common law. Common law trumps civil law, for example you cannot write legislation that allows a person to commit murder, fraud or theft, which under common law is a criminal offence. No contract is required as common law is the same for all as opposed to legislation which may benefit or dis-benefit certain members of the public.

I would advise that you to seek the basic understanding prior to responding and to also gain better understanding for future reference. I look forward to a response.

Your Sincerity

Tarquin

Operations FOI Requests, Child Maintenance Service

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
  
For further information on making Freedom of Information requests please click on the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-inf...

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Operations FOI Requests, Child Maintenance Service

3 Attachments

 
 
 
Please find attached our response to your recent Freedom of Information
request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 

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The VoiceOfTheChild.org.uk left an annotation ()

They will not want you to have this set of full policies and procedures:
https://voiceofthechild.org.uk/cms-full-...

Hope this helps

Voice of the Child