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(1)The Secretary of State shall appoint persons (to be known as child support officers) for the purpose of exercising functions—
(a)conferred on them by this Act, or by any other enactment; or
(b)assigned to them by the Secretary of State.
(2)A child support officer may be appointed to perform only such functions as may be specified in his instrument of appointment.
(3)The Secretary of State shall appoint a Chief Child Support Officer.
(4)It shall be the duty of the Chief Child Support Officer to—
(a)advise child support officers on the discharge of their functions in relation to making, reviewing or cancelling maintenance assessments;
(b)keep under review the operation of the provision made by or under this Act with respect to making, reviewing or cancelling maintenance assessments; and
(c)report to the Secretary of State annually, in writing, on the matters with which the Chief Child Support Officer is concerned.
(5)The Secretary of State shall publish, in such manner as he considers appropriate, any report which he receives under subsection (4)(c).
(6)Any proceedings (other than for an offence) in respect of any act or omission of a child support officer which, apart from this subsection, would fall to be brought against a child support officer resident in Northern Ireland may instead be brought against the Chief Child Support Officer.
(7)For the purposes of any proceedings brought by virtue of subsection (6), the acts or omissions of the child support officer shall be treated as the acts or omissions of the Chief Child Support Officer.
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