Child Maintenance Service statistics released on 20 June 2018
02 / 07 / 2018
The Child Maintenance Service
I have previously explained that the Child Maintenance Service (“CMS”) was introduced in 2012 to deal with child maintenance, which was at that time dealt with by the Child Support Agency (“CSA”). Following the introduction of the CMS, many of the CSA cases have now been closed and the remainder are expected to be closed by later this year.
After the closing of the CSA arrangements, the options for parents are to make a direct arrangement with the other parent without the involvement of the CMS at all (a family based arrangement), pay through the CMS (Collect & Pay) or alternatively, contact the CMS for a calculation of the liability for child maintenance and thereafter pay directly (Direct Pay).
The Government was very much looking to encourage parents to deal with matters directly and one such way of doing that was to introduce fees for the use of their services.
The fees that are levied by the CMS (which applied as from 11 August 2014) are as follows:
- A charge of £20 to obtain the initial calculation of child maintenance;
- A charge of 4% deducted from the child maintenance received by the receiving parent if child maintenance is paid through the CMS (Collect & Pay); and
- A charge of additional 20% to the child maintenance paid by the paying parent if child maintenance is paid through the CMS (Collect & Pay).
Alternatively, parents can pay directly (Direct Pay) if using the CMS (after the initial calculation has been carried out) and the fees are 4% for the receiving parent and the 20% fees for the paying parent referred to above will not apply (there are also some exemptions to being required to pay the fees, whereby there has been domestic violence between the parties).
CMS statistics released on 20 June 2018
On 20 June 2018 the Department for Work & Pensions produced its CMS statistics which included data for August 2013 to March 2018.
The statistics showed, for example, that the amount of child maintenance due to be paid through the Collect & Pay service and also the money due to be paid through the Direct Pay has more than doubled respectively from March 2016 to March 2018.
They also demonstrate that throughout the above period, the Direct Pay arrangements have been more commonly used than the Collect & Pay services – perhaps due to the charges levied (those as referred to above) – with it being confirmed that “at the end of March 2018, 69% of Paying Parents are using Direct Pay and 33% the Collect & Pay Service. 3% of Paying Parents use both services”.
Rather worryingly they also showed that “between January and March 2018, 60% of paying parents using the Collect & Pay service were compliant”. More positively, however, it does say that in the last quarter compliance has increased. Hopefully, that will continue to do so.