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Closed petition Public Inquiry into Child Maintenance Service assessments and enforcement

We are concerned that incorrect assessments and inflation of amounts owed by paying parents, combined with excessive use of enforcement action, has caused significant distress to many paying parents, leading in some cases to catastrophic consequences.

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We, therefore, require the Government to launch a Public Inquiry to investigate how Child Maintenance Service maintenance assessments have been conducted, the validity of the £3.8 billion of arrears, the enforcement action taken by the Child Maintenance Service to collect arrears, and the impact this has had on paying parents.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

3,142 signatures

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Government responds to petition about incorrect child maintenance assessments

The Government has responded to a public (paper) petition about incorrect child maintenance assessments. The petition was presented to the House of Commons on behalf of the petitioner Craig Bulman.

The petition asks the House of Commons to urge the Government to urgently compensate those affected by incorrect child maintenance assessments and wrongful enforcement. The petition states that assessments have been carried out by the Child Support Agency (CMA)/Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and that there is no proper way to compensate victims.

In response to the petition's request, the Government states that if a parent disagrees with a calculation decision made by the CMS, they can ask for a mandatory reconsideration. The Government says that if a parent is unhappy with the outcome of the mandatory reconsideration, they can appeal to the independent Social Security and Child Support Tribunal within one month of the mandatory reconsideration decision. The Government's response added that the CMS must consider the welfare of any children when considering enforcement action. Safeguards are in place to ensure enforcement is reasonable and proportionate.

What are public (paper) petitions?

A public (paper) petition is a petition to the House of Commons presented by an MP.

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MPs debate the Child Maintenance Service

MPs debated the Child Maintenance Service on Tuesday 27 February.

The debate was led by Sir Stephen Timms MP. He discussed a report published in April 2023 by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, following its inquiry into the Child Maintenance Service. The report included recommendations on how child maintenance is calculated and how money is paid.

The Work and Pensions Minister, Paul Maynard MP, responded on behalf of the Government.

The debate was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee.

What is a Westminster Hall debate?

Westminster Hall is the second chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.

Interactive explainer: Westminster Hall debates

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