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Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008

Proposed changes

15.In the White Paper, the Government proposed that a non-departmental public body (NDPB) should be established to deliver child maintenance and replace the CSA. This Act establishes a body corporate to be called the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission which is referred to, in the Act and in these Notes, as ‘the Commission’. The Commission will be a Crown NDPB. It will have a role in the processes of national Government but will not be a Government Department or part of one. It will operate at arm’s length from Ministers in its day to day decision making. Although Ministers will set high level principles, the Commission will have full autonomy to run the child support maintenance system.

16.The main objective of the Commission will be to maximise the number of children living apart from one or both of their parents for whom effective maintenance arrangements are in place. This objective will be supported by the following subsidiary objectives:

  • to encourage and support the making and keeping by parents of appropriate voluntary maintenance arrangements for their children; and

  • to support the making of applications for child support maintenance under the Child Support Act 1991 and to secure compliance when appropriate with parental obligations under the Act.

17.Most of the functions that fall to the Secretary of State under the Child Support Act 1991 will be transferred to the Commission. In addition to these functions the Commission will have further responsibilities for raising awareness among parents of the importance of taking responsibility for the maintenance of their children and making appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of children of theirs who live apart from them. To support this process, the Commission will also be required to provide a service that provides information and guidance to both parents for the purpose of helping to secure the existence of effective maintenance arrangements.

18.The CSA currently commissions external service providers to help enforce maintenance payments. The Commission will have more flexibility to commission external providers to carry out its functions in order to deliver services in the most efficient and effective way.

19.The structure of the Commission will consist of a Board with the following members:

  • a person to chair the Commission (the ‘Chair’), who will be responsible for setting the overarching strategic direction of the Commission, owning strategy and policy, and undertaking external stakeholder relations;

  • a chief executive, who will be known as the Commissioner for Child Maintenance, who will be responsible for the executive oversight of the organisation, for delivering the operational outcomes set by the Board through direct delivery, managing the commissioning role of the Commission and acting as the Accounting Officer;

  • executive directors; and

  • non-executive directors.

20.The Board will be able to employ staff to carry out the day to day functions of the Commission.

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