CSA problems highlighted by report

15 April 2005

Staff at the Child Support Agency deliberately entered false information onto the IT system and stockpiled claims resulting in them not being dealt with for years, a newly-uncovered report has revealed, writes Amy Taylor from Community Care.

The research, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, also found that staff passed work to people on long-term sick leave. Others did not answer their phones.

Problems arose after a new child support scheme was implemented, which included a change in the way cases were assessed, for all new cases from March 2003.

The study, which was conducted between March-September 2004 and carried out by researchers at University of Bristol, also found that staff were concerned that a mass walkout and early retirement would occur if a high number of cases were not assessed under the new scheme.

The findings throw doubt on the government’s decision to blame the new computer system that was introduced to support the reforms for problems at the agency.

A CSA spokesperson said that the agency had acted to improve service to clients since the research was carried out. However, they admitted that "there is still some way to go before the agency is delivering for all its clients the level of service they are entitled to expect".