Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2007): Social security - UK

Child Support Agency: implementation of the child support reforms

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2007 (House of Commons papers, session 2006/07; HC 812)

The Child Support Agency has performed poorly since its establishment in 1993. The system for child support was last reformed in 2003 when a new formula for calculating maintenance came into force and parents with care on benefit were awarded an extra 10.00 per week in maintenance. The reform programme was ambitious but its management showed a lack of realism in both planning and execution. Under a new chief executive, the Agency implemented an operational improvement plan in February 2006. The plan aimed to tackle the backlog of cases, stabilise the IT system, and take a harder line with uncooperative non-resident parents. However, given the scale of the Agency's problems, there will be no quick solution. A White Paper issued in December 2006 announced the replacement of the Child Support Agency with a new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, with a remit to deliver a simpler and more effective system.

Progress in tackling pensioner poverty: encouraging take-up of entitlements

Committee of Public Accounts

London: TSO, 2007 (House of Commons paper, session 2006/07; HC169)

The Committee took evidence from the Department for Work and Pensions on what had been achieved in encouraging take-up of benefits by pensioners since 2003, and on the scope for further improvement. The Department has increased the number of people claiming Pension Credit to one million more than claimed its predecessor Minimum Income Guarantee, but in 2004/05 there were still between 1.1 and 1.6 million eligible pensioners not claiming Pension Credit. Moreover, take-up of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, administered by local authorities, has declined in recent years despite the Pension Service providing its clients with a full benefit entitlement check. The geographical pattern of take-up shows that older pensioners, pensioners from ethnic minorities, pensioners from rural areas and pensioners from more affluent areas are less likely to claim Pension Credit.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web