CMS0028

 

Written evidence submitted by Split the Difference CIC

 

Since 2013 I have been helping people and providing information on many social media groups to people who have been aggrieved by wrongdoing of the Child Support Agency/Child Maintenance Service.

The Individuals I have personally assisted, I have helped them have over £350,000 of fictitious arrears written off, stopped the CSA/CMS forcing order for sales for fictitious debt, stopped a number of liability order hearings for fictitious debt and have stopped them putting a person in to prison for a fictitious debt. I have recently stopped a couple of DEO’s being enforced.

The information I have provided over the years has helped have millions of pounds of fictitious debt written off.

Over the years I have seen thousands of complaints regarding fictitious arrears and in 2016 I was an admin of a group on social media which compelled the National Audit Office to investigate the CSA/CMS regarding the thousands of complaints regarding fictitious arrears, in March 2017 a damning report was released.

In the NAO report for the Child Maintenance Client Funds Accounts 2016-17 it is stated (the Department is trying to recover arrears accumulated under the 1993 and 2003 Child Maintenance Schemes, it is not carrying out retrospective corrections. This means it cannot ensure that the £3.7 billion it is trying to recover is an accurate figure. The Department is also unable to write this debt off, which means that unless action is taken, the 1993 and 2003 Scheme Account will report an outstanding arrears balance long after all the cases have closed.) https://www.nao.org.uk/report/child-maintenance-client-funds-accounts/

In oral hearings of 2011 and 2012 it was confirmed that arrears had been inflated of up to 300% in Interim Maintenance Assessments

UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 1874-i MONDAY 5 MARCH 2012 JANET ALLBESON, ROBERT DEVEREUX and NOEL SHANAHAN see Q31

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmpubacc/uc1874-i/uc187401.htm

Noel Shanahan: I think the £3.7 billion or £3.8 billion is really a legacy of the past. This is arrears going back over the last 19 years. About 50% of it is due to the Secretary of State, as well; it is not all due to parents. Through that time-10 or 15 years-a number of assessments were made incorrectly. There was a period of time when punitive maintenance agreements were put in place, frankly. If one parent disappeared and we tried to track them down but couldn’t get hold of them, we made an assessment of their income that was punitive to try to chase them down and frighten them into contacting us to put a proper maintenance agreement in place.

UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE To be published as HC 1047 -ii Wednesday 15 June 2011 Maria Miller MP, Dame Janet Paraskeva and Noel Shanahan See -Q150

https://web.archive.org/web/20121024145535/http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmworpen/uc1047-ii/uc104701.htm

Noel Shanahan: I think there are some severe question marks over the figure of 3.8. The work that the Department and CMEC have done identifies that, going back many years, we used to create something called an interim maintenance arrangement. Essentially it was a number that was brought up to say to the nonresident parent, "This is how much you will have to pay," and used as a bit of a lever when they would not give us their pay and information, which we have to ask for. So actually it was inflated, and it seems to be inflated by about 300%. When they did not pay, all those numbers have gone into the arrears. The truth is actually those arrears are somewhat inflated because of the tools that we used up to 18 years ago.

The National Audit Office published a report on the Child Maintenance Service where they say that the DWP themselves have acknowledged that around 75% of the alleged arrears are uncollectible. Specifically, they say:

The Department has assessed that around three-quarters of the £4 billion arrears balance is uncollectable. It assesses arrears as uncollectable when there has been no recent contact with the non-resident parent and no payment against arrears in the last six months. The Department has not yet set out how it will manage the £3 billion of uncollectable arrears. The Department’s current strategy prioritises collecting arrears on cases with continuing payments. It plans to publish a new strategy for addressing arrears including 1993 and 2003 scheme arrears in 2017 (paragraphs 3.2, 3.3 and Figure 3).

National Audit Office Report, March 2017

You’ll see in a moment why the DWP was unable to collect these arrears… they simply didn’t exist!

The National Audit Office goes on to criticise the Department of Work and Pensions over the accuracy of their calculations (something we continue to hear an awful lot of at Voice of the Child from both Paying and Receiving Parents) saying the following:

The Department for Work & Pensions (the Department) has not managed 1993 and 2003 child maintenance cases with enough accuracy. Since child maintenance schemes began in 1993, the Comptroller and Auditor General has qualified his opinions on the 1993 and 2003 scheme accounts, because of inaccurate assessments and incorrect adjustments to arrears. Inaccurate assessments can mean that some parents receive too little for their children while others face hardship because of paying too much. Arrears are maintenance payments that are owed but have not been paid (paragraph 1.2).

But the problems with calculations don’t end with the 1993 and 2003 schemes. Arrears supposedly accumulated under those schemes have been passed on to accounts now managed under the 2012 scheme

An internal audit report found that a lack of assurance over the robustness of arrears balances on 1993 and 2003 scheme cases increases the risk that arrears calculated at case closure and transferred to the 2012 scheme are inaccurate (paragraphs 3.7 and 3.8).

The small print in the National Audit Office report also reveals that

The 2012 scheme accounts are also qualified due to inaccurate assessments, although the arrears balances are not qualified. Department for Work & Pensions, Client Funds Account 2015/16, 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme, December 2016

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee (which is the same Parliamentary Committee that recently recommended increasing sanctions on paying parents) was told the following in 2009. You can see the full report here. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmworpen/118/118.pdf

Tom Levitt MP asked the following question (Q49 in the document) of a man called Stephen Geraghty (who ran the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission / CSA) at the time.

If there is one group of people that MPs never meet, it is satisfied customers of the CSA because they do not have reason to come to meet us in the first place. My impression is that most of the cases that come across my desk are parents with care with issues of arrears which they want to see addressed. My impression is also that the number coming to me with that situation peaked a few years ago. It has been falling for several years but has gone up recently is the general feeling I get, but particularly what concerns me amongst those people is the number who are coming to me with very large amounts of arrears, say, over £25,000. Is that a general trend, that the size of arrears is getting bigger, and, if so, why does no alarm bell ring when arrears reach a certain level?

*********** response is horrifying in its admissions and, unless you have a desire to trawl through a lot of pretty boring dialogue you might have missed it:

…Our average arrears across the case load are about £3,000 something. More than half of them are less than a thousand — 56% are less than a thousand — but then there are some very big ones. Typically, the very big ones are what are called interim maintenance assessments where, to frighten people into giving us information, we made an estimate — a process that was used in the 1990s that we do not use any more now — and about £1.2 billion, so almost a third of the total arrears, is these estimates, and most of the very big arrears are these figures which were deliberately made big in order, as I say, to push people into providing data. It works for the Revenue, apparently, but it has not worked for us. When we eventually catch up with these people and get the information, typically we write down that calculation by about 70% because the estimates were very high.

 

So, there you have it. The CSA made up a huge amount of arrears in the 1990’s and claim not to be doing that anymore.

Basically what the CSA and CMS has been doing for many years is distributing the arrears around Paying Parents accounts this explains why there are so many complaints about fictitious arrears they have been attempting to collect a mostly fictitious debt and to do this they abuse their powers in Court with section 33(4) Child Support Act 1991

I have recognised regular patterns in arrears that people are expected to pay, it would seem that people on certain income brackets attract regular occurring amounts.

I have also recognised that the CSA/CMS do not follow caselaw and do not make changes to their operations to ensure they follow caselaw as they are legally obligated to do so. There are consistent violations of human rights especially Article 6 ECHR-HRA 1998 during liability order hearings. See Karoonian v CMEC; Gibbons v CMEC [2012] EWCA Civ 1379

It is very clear the way the Child Maintenance Service are applying sect 33(4) Child Support Act in the Magistrates Court breaches Article 6 HRA 1998. The Justices are required to apply sect 33(3) prior to the hearing it is clear that this is not being carried out as how can the Justices be satisfied that arrears are owed when they are already in dispute against the arrears in many cases? For sect 33(4) to be compatible with Article 6 HRA 1998 sect 33(3) must be applied. Paying Parents are going into liability order hearings with evidence to support the arrears are not owed but the Justices are unable to question the calculations of the Child Maintenance Service.  Paying Parents are also forced to attend liability order hearings at very short notice and up to 100 miles from where they reside, this is also a breach of Article 6 and The Child Support (Collection and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 sect 28 (1) An application for a liability order shall be by way of complaint for an order to the magistrates' court having jurisdiction in the area in which the liable person resides.

Many cases going through the Magistrates Courts at liability order hearings have complaints/disputes regarding arrears. Section 33/3 Child Support Act 1991 must be applied by the Justices to ensure section 33/4 is compliant with Article 6. The Justices are failing to apply section 33/3. This being the case the CSA/CMS are knowingly providing false and misleading information to the Magistrates Court as they know the liability orders will be approved regardless. The CSA/CMS ignore correspondence and evidence from the PP’s which supports the arrears are not owed and proceed with enforcement you will see in the Gibbons and Karoonian case CMEC were chastised for ignoring the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, the CSA/CMS are still operating in this manner. They are forcing PP’s to pay arrears where there is no evidence supporting the arrears are owed and when the PP provides the evidence the arrears are not owed this is ignored and the liability order hearings proceed regardless.

People are being hounded by the CSA/CMS for fictitious debt which often causes severe distress and has a negative impact on mental wellbeing and has caused a number of suicides e.g. (*************) these operations violate Article 8 ECHR – HRA 1998. There is also clear bias demonstrated by the CSA/CMS as the PP’s are treated very differently to the RP’s.

There are also a number of violations of the Equality Act 2010 sects 13, 26,27 and 149 I have also noticed that the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 sect 3 is being breached by the CSA/CMS.

As there has been many suicides caused by excessive and draconian operations of the CSA/CMS I believe this constitutes Corporate Manslaughter. Children are losing parents to suicides because of blatant wrongdoing and abuses of power, each individual suicide costs the taxpayer £1.7 million. The Child Maintenance Service is not fit for purpose and is not value for money.

We have evidence to support the CMS is forcing people onto Collect and Pay so the department can make money ************ wanted a 65% Direct Pay 35% Collect and Pay split and instructed the CMS staff to force people onto CP. We have many cases where people have been forced onto CP – no payments missed always paid on time and exact amount paid please see the screenshots I have put on ******** blog *************************************** You will also see footage of a Child Maintenance debate where Margaret Ferrier raises her concerns about the CMS staff encouraging RP’s to go onto Collect and Pay.

The content from your webpage requesting evidence states the following - Billions of pounds of unpaid child maintenance debt that remained from the previous CSA schemes has been written off, and in June 2021 the House of Commons Library showed that unpaid child support under the replacement CMS now stood at £421.5 million.  - It was confirmed in 2009, 2011 and 2012 in Oral Hearings that 75% of the unpaid arrears of the £3.8 billion was unenforceable due Interim Maintenance Assessments being inflated of up to 300%. Up until recently the Government, Gingerbread and the media has been releasing articles claiming that there were unpaid arrears of £3.8 billion yet it was confirmed in the dates previously mentioned that 75% was not collectable. I have provided the links to the Oral Hearings on ********* blog ********************************* I reported Gingerbread to the Charities Commission for publishing false information to the public.

It is very clear that the Child Maintenance Service is causing more harm than good at a substantial cost to the taxpayer.

I would like to point out that PP’s are being forced out of work with mental health issues directly caused by the CSA/CMS this is due to distress caused by being hounded for fictitious debt and DEO’s being enforced leaving the PP with not enough money to live on – leaving the PP and their families including children well below the poverty line and at times forced into homelessness.

It is beyond comprehension how the DWP and Ministers deem this as giving the children the best start in life and lifting children out of poverty. Forcing a parent into poverty so they are unable to financially support their children is the opposite of what the soundbites of Baroness Stedman-Scott and the DWP are stating.

There is evidence to support that the CSA/CMS causes severe mental distress to many of our Armed Forces this has an impact on operational effectiveness and also causes retention issues costing the taxpayer millions, many Veterans also suffer with mental health issues resulting from unlawful actions of the CSA/CMS this has an impact on mental health services there is also mental health issues in our Emergency Services resulting from the CSA/CMS abusing their powers.

The PP then has then to be supported by the Government the Government loses taxes due to this. There is a severe lack of common sense as the CSA/CMS may make short term gains by forcing PP’s to pay unsustainable unrealistic and unreasonable amounts of money, the long term it is the taxpayer and Government that loses out.

The Child Maintenance Service must be abolished/disbanded as it does not work and causes harm to children as it is clearly profit and target driven organisation which is not in the best interest of any child!

Other child maintenance structures must be looked at such as the Danish/Swedish system

I would also like to bring to your attention that when the CSA/CMS cause severe harm to PP’s  with blatant wrongdoing there is no proper financial redress for the aggrieved they are simply left in a vulnerable and disadvantaged position and the CSA/CMS face no consequences for causing damages and loss through their wrongdoing, the aggrieved are also denied access to legal representation and justice which is a breach of Article 13 ECHR it is a constitutional obligation of the state to put an aggrieved person back into the position they had have been had the wrongdoing not occurred. The complaints system is broken and biased. The CSA/CMS investigating themselves is like the Russians investigating the Salisbury poisonings, ICE has a large number of ex CSA/CMS employees working for them, ICE is also part of the DWP so there is clearly no independence and ICE more often than not find favours with the CSA/CMS even though there is substantial evidence to support that the CSA/CMS has acted inappropriately my case exposes this. The PHSO do not seem to investigate the CSA/CMS and have no teeth to hold the CSA/CMS to account for wrongdoing. Here is a brief outline of my case **************

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The state must provide unhindered access to justice and must respect the individual’s human rights the state is supposed to be promoting and upholding the rule of law as the UK is governed by the rule of law.

The Rule of Law concept, in essence, embodies a number of important inter- related ideas. First, there should be clear limits to the power of the state. A government exercises its authority through publicly disclosed laws that are adopted and enforced by an independent judiciary in accordance with established and accepted procedures. Secondly, no one is above the law; there is equality before the law. Thirdly, there must be protection of the rights of the individual. In modern society, the value of the Rule of Law is that it is essential for good governance. Governments must govern in accordance with established laws and conventions and not in an arbitrary manner. The law must set out legitimate expectations about what is acceptable behaviour and conduct of both the governed and the government. This is important: the law must apply equally to the government and the individual citizens. (The late Lord Tom Bingham)

• No-one is above the law, and the law applies equally to everyone, unless objective differences mean people should be treated differently.

 

• The law must be accessible and understandable. Everyone should be able to find out what the law is. The law should be certain and predictable. Individuals should be able to plan their actions based on the law.

 

• Legal rights and responsibilities are decided according to rules of law, not by the exercise of general discretion.

 

• Ministers and public officials must exercise their powers reasonably and in good faith. They must only use their powers for the purpose for which they were conferred, and must not exceed the limits of their powers.

 

• The state must provide accessible ways for people to resolve legal disputes between them. Justice should not be excessively delayed, or inordinately costly.

 

• Individuals are entitled to a fair trial in the determination of their legal rights and responsibilities. This includes the principle that judges be independent and impartial.

 

• The state must comply with its obligations in international law.

 

• The law must provide adequate protection of fundamental human rights.

Below is a list of podcasts we have done with victims of wrongdoing by the CSA/CMS there is blatant criminality being carried out by the CSA/CMS there clearly needs to be a proper investigation into the illegal operations of the CSA/CMS

As mentioned earlier here is the list of the fictitious arrears I have helped have written off

************* £15,000

************* £15,000

************* £53,000

************* £7,000

************* £4,400

************* £6,000

************* £25,000

*************  £45,000

************* £10,000

************* £58,000

************* £30,000

************* £8,000

************* £10,000

************* stopped the order for sale - £9,000 fictitious arrears - house worth £300,000

************* stopped the order for sale - £9,000 fictitious arrears - house worth £200,000

************* stopped the CMS from putting him in prison

************* stopped Bailiffs

************* stopped the raid on his bank account od £7,500

 

All of the above are people are those who I have helped personally and given information, there is

many more people on social media where I have posted information which has been followed and

more arrears have been written off; I created a step-by-step guide which has had a lot of success

over the years and it still continues to be effective. The step-by-step guide is free.

I have been doing this for a number of years so the amount of arrears written off through the

information I have provided could potentially run into millions.

 

Property theft for fictitious arrears *************

*************  and ************* CSA/CMS property theft for fictitious arrears

 

CSA/CMS Property theft ************* and *************  and children

 

Bank account raided of 19k when proven money was not owed

YouTube link: ****************************************************

CSA/CMS impact on the mental health of our Armed Forces

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

MP – CSA causing mental health problems for Veterans

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Parent with Care not receiving money from CMS even though the CMS are taking the money from the Paying Parent

YouTube link: ****************************************************

YouTube link: ****************************************************

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

*************  walked out of ******** inquest as the coroner refused to look at the evidence against the

CMS which is actually unlawful as he must look at all evidence.

****************************************************

 

The two articles about ************* and ************* have been removed from the

internet by the CSA ****************************************************

 

 

 

 

 

People wrongly forced onto collect and pay you will see MP mention this

****************************************************

Arrears inflated of up to 300%  ****************************************************

Payments not passed on to the Resident Parent ************************************

Consolidated links ****************************************************

Go to page 7 ****************************************************

Veterans speaking about their problems with the Child Support Agency/Child Maintenance Service

****************************************************

************* speaking with ************* about his son taking his own life after the CMS hounded

him for money he did not owe *************

 

************* and me talking about the unlawful actions of the coroner at ************* inquest go to 45 minutes where we are joined by ************* - serving RAF systems operator on a surveillance jet he has been

suicidal because of the CMS *************

Operational sortie had to be cancelled because systems operator unable to function due to distress

caused by the CSA YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran now Ambulance Service suicidal and made homeless by the CMS

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

************* Feb 21  ****************************************************

 

********** with ************  ****************************************************

 

************* with  *************  ********************************************

 

************* with ************* ********************************************

 

 

 

Fire Fighter  ************ suicidal because of CMS **************************************

 

My first interview on ************ Brees media with ************ August 2020

**************************************

 

************* updated with ICE stating CMS did act incorrectly

**************************************

 

Serving RAF suicidal due to CMS

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran suicidal because of CMS and breaks down

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran suicidal because of CMS

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

********** father of suicide victim

YouTube link: ****************************************************

1. Veteran ********

YouTube link: ****************************************************

2. Veteran *******

YouTube link: ****************************************************

1. ****** Serving Firefighter

YouTube link: ****************************************************

2. ****** Serving Firefighter

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

 

 

 

********

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran ******

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran ******

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

Veteran ****** and ******

YouTube link: ****************************************************

Watch this ****** alienated child

YouTube link: ****************************************************

 

March 2022