The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is for separated families who have not been able to reach a private arrangement about how their child livings costs will be paid. In 2012, the CMS replaced the 1993 and 2003 Child Support Agency (CSA) schemes. The Department for Work and Pensions (the Department) estimates that £934 million of statutory child maintenance was paid between parents using the CMS in 2019-20, at a net cost of £146 million.
This report will build on the NAO’s 2017 investigation Child Maintenance: closing cases and managing arrears on the 1993 and 2003 schemes. It will assess the value for money of the child maintenance system, and will explore:
- Whether the Department effectively managed the wind-down of the 1993 and 2003 CSA schemes;
- Whether the CMS is achieving its objectives; and
- Whether the Department manages its resources effectively to deliver a high-quality service through the CMS.
The NAO receives routine correspondence from service users on the child maintenance service, including on the current scheme and of the Department’s management of historic CSA debt. Individuals or representative organisations that wish to share their experience with the report team should complete an online consultation.