CMS0023

 

Written evidence submitted by anonymously

 

 

The CMS is both a disorganised and untruthful organisation. The organisation is belligerent. It is not fit for purpose.

 

On his birth, for three months I tried to set up a payment for my child, providing the required evidence to calculate the correct amount. However, the CMS refused to allow me to do so. I kept a detailed record of whom I spoke with, when and what was discussed. It is important to state that in a period of eight months thirty three (33) different people dealt with my case. They did not know my case details. Information was neither recorded correctly nor passed on to other staff. I was given incorrect information or totally contradictory information by different people. This was information that I knew to be incorrect or contradictory. Not only was it very frustrating, it was insulting.

 

However, the day that mother took a case out the CMS acted instantly. That was fine. However, the CMS incorrectly calculated the amount at double my salary. The CMS refused to correct the amount. Indeed, the CMS continued to deny its mistake. This was despite evidence from both my employer and the HMRC being provided to the CMS. This resulted in me having to pursue the CMS to a Tribunal. After a year of wasted time, three Hearings (one to which the CMS failed to attend!), and the resultant totally unnecessary expense and waste of resources (both financial and manpower), the CMS was ordered to correct its mistake. However, the recalculation did not correct the amount. This resulted in me having to go through the process again. Throughout this time, I had to pay the incorrect higher amount of maintenance. The CMS could have rectified the mistake at the very beginning, for no cost. However, despite the evidence presented, it refused to do so. It was a total farce. It was maladministration.

 

Worse still. When I initially sought to rectify the mistake, the CMS denied that I had sought to set up a payment for my child. There was denial after denial. Which were lies. When I requested a copy of the telephone conversation the CMS claimed that the phone call had not been recorded. I escalated the complaint. Initially through my MP. He informed me that 70% of his case load is dealing with complaints about the CMS. Eventually I had to involve the Independent Complaints Examiner (ICE). The ICE found in my favour.  The result being that the CMS did have the phone conversations, and the evidence that I had been lied to by the CMS on multiple occasions. The outcome of the ongoing needless and dishonest behaviour by the CMS is that I have received written apologies from senior managers on two separate occasions for being lied to multiple times. I have also had financial compensation on two separate occasions due to gross errors in my case on the part of the CMS. None of which should have been required.

 

These behaviours on the part of the CMS cause exacerbated animosity and recrimination from the receiving parent towards the paying parent. It increases, indeed encourages, the further breakdown of the relationship between the parents, all to the detriment of the child/ren at the centre. The CMS claims to be working in the ‘best interests’ of the child/ren. It does no such thing. Rather, the operating procedure, and the subsequent behaviour, of the CMS damages both the immediate and long term health and well-being of children across the UK. Further, the CMS does not care. It is a ‘numbers’, not an empathy driven organisation.

 

Does this give confidence that this is a well-managed organisation that is either fit for purpose or value for money? It does not.

 

I wish that was the end of the issues with the CMS. However, it is not. Time after time the CMS has made mistake after mistake in calculating the correct amount. It then refuses to admit its mistakes. These are too numerous to list here. This has led to constant complaints from me. This all adds to the waste of money and time of CMS resources.

 

At present, after having been lied to again by the CMS over both the amount due, and misrepresentation of information that the CMS sent to me regarding this – the CMS’s own figures regarding calculations which show unequivocally that the CMS is wrong – I have submitted another complaint to the ICE. The ICE has informed me that it is not satisfied with either the response from the CMS nor the information sent to the ICE on its request to the CMS. Therefore, the ICE is pursuing my present complaint against the CMS. I am waiting for the outcome of that investigation.

 

The CMS requires a total restructure. It has to stop operating with impunity and without recourse to an individual who is held directly responsible for the mistakes made and lies told by the organisation. However, more than anything, it has to stop operating with the mentality of a Debt Collection company. Instead, as a matter of both policy and practice, it must be designed, and thereafter regulated, to work with parents in an empathetic and case by case basis. If for no other reason than in the best interests of the immediate and long term health and well-being of the children at centre – none of whom either asked or want to be in that position.

 

The CMS has to be held accountable for its actions, behaviours and operating procedures. At present, it is not. This requires to change.

 

March 2022