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Frequently Asked Questions - as posted to the newsgroup
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Frequently Asked Questions - as posted to the newsgroup


Material in the form of a structured set of questions plus answers to these was originally built up as a "classic" FAQ for the newsgroup, and was posted every month. It was started by Matt Parker, who originally steered the newsgroup to creation, and was then continued by Charles Atkinson. It contained a mixture of information, explanation, and advice.

I built a hypertext version of it for this web site, and updated it, see Frequently Asked Questions - questions & answers. Eventually I officially took over responsibility for the newsgroup FAQ from Charles Atkinson. The version being posted to the newsgroup was by then well out of date (it had not been updated since 28th July 1999). It did not address the reformed scheme, for which the legislation was drafted and debated and voted upon since that date. At about 127 KB it was much too large to be used conveniently.

So I revised the purpose of the posted FAQ. Now, instead of attempting to provide specific answers to the detailed questions posed in the newsgroup, it provides a summary of sources of advice and answers. It is now posted every 2 weeks. A copy of it (with little more than formatting differences) is provided below.

Over time, material within the hypertext version conforming to the philosophy of this web site (especially material concerned with information and explanation) will be updated if necessary, and the date-stamp will be changed to reflect the date of checking/updating. This revision has already begun. Some material may simply replaced by links to material elsewhere on this web site. Material not conforming to the philosophy of this web site (especially material concerned with advice and campaigning, and material best dealt with elsewhere), will be removed or replaced with links to more appropriate places. More material will be added where necessary, for example to cover the reformed scheme.

I intend to work with other people and organisations to ensure that these "frequently asked questions", and others, continue to be answered. Such organisations may include the CSA itself (which has its own brief FAQ) and NACSA.

FAQ posted to the newsgroup

Frequently Asked Questions for .

Posted FAQ version 3.1. Last updated 2003-01-28. (Updated mainly to answer question 9 below!)

Users of this newsgroup compile this FAQ in good faith. This is a self-help group, not a panel of experts. If you need someone to be legally liable for advice then ask a professional who has indemnity insurance!


1. Are you feeling suicidal or despairing?
2. What is this newsgroup about?
3. Where is the complete newsgroup FAQ?
4. Who can I talk to for advice about dealing with the CSA?
5. How can I sort out my social security problems as well?
6. Where can I examine all the child support legislation?
7. Where can I find calculators for my assessment?
8. Where can I read about the CSA – history, details, reform, etc?
9. When will the reformed scheme (2000 Act) start?


1. Are you feeling suicidal or despairing?

The Samaritans is a registered charity based in the UK and Republic of Ireland that provides confidential emotional support to any person who is suicidal or despairing. Call: 08457 90 90 90 in the United Kingdom, or 1850 60 90 90 in the Republic of Ireland.

2. What is this newsgroup about?

The newsgroup has a charter at:

In summary, the charter says:

It will be dedicated to the exchange of views, information and support of people involved with the Child Support Agency. Anyone interested will be welcome to participate in discussions about, but not limited to:

- Information relating to Child Support Agency procedures.

- Guidance on filling in the various forms issued by the CSA.

- Support and Advice on all relative matters of users problems.

- Group discussions of all issues related and pertaining to both parents with care and absent parents rights.

- Group discussions on methods of improving relationships between absent parents, parents with care, and the Child Support Agency.

- General discussions on the effectiveness of the Child Support Agency in distributing of maintenance monies collected to Parents With Care.

This newsgroup is neither Government owned nor moderated, and is for the discussion of the operation of the Child Support Agency and the resultant difficulties experienced by absent parents, parents with care and any other persons involved.

Short (less than 20 line) announcements of events relevant to readers are permitted; blatant off-topic or commercial advertising is not. Binaries are not permitted on this group, however references to relevant FTP-able material and Web URLs are welcome.

3. Where is the complete newsgroup FAQ?

The article you are reading now is not the full set of questions and answers available. The topic is now much too big to attempt to cover in one serial article.

The last "full" FAQ to be posted to this newsgroup was version 2.6. It was last updated 1999-07-28, and is out of date. It is available (127 KB long) in the Google Groups archive at:

That version 2.6 has been superseded by a hypertext version at:
The latter is now the only maintained full version of the official FAQ. Even that FAQ only covers a subset of the topic.

4. Who can I talk to for advice about dealing with the CSA?

There is a lot more information about sources of advice at:
This newsgroup is a key resource for anyone wanting advice.

NACSA (National Association for Child Support Action) are the most important lobby & advice group specifically about the CSA. NACSA run a number of forums for members, concerned with obtaining advice and many other things, on their web site. To contact an advisor in confidence call between 10-4pm Mon-Fri and 10-1pm Sat on: 0870 240 3343. The web site also provides emails addresses, etc.

CANCSA is an Independent Voluntary Group giving free advice. Advice groups that are part of CANCSA or identified on their web site cover these areas: CANCSA North East; CANCSA Staffs and Cheshire; West Yorkshire; Lincoln; and Glasgow. Infoline 01782 646646 or email

CSA Advice Glasgow
Meetings: first Tuesday of every month from 7pm to 9pm: Fire Brigade Union Building at 42 St Enoch Square, Glasgow.

Durham Legal Services
The main commercial advice & assistance organisation is Durham Legal Services. They offer various services for fees, but they can often provide free help over the phone: 0191 5211123; after hours mobile: 07713 498472. email

FNF - Families Need Fathers
FNF (Families Need Fathers) is a charity that promotes Shared Parenting. FNF also frequently makes its views known about the CSA, although that is not its prime focus.

CSA of Great Britain
National Enquiry Line: for general advice on any aspect on child support maintenance call on: 08457 133 133 or for those who are hard of hearing and have a textphone: 08457 138 924. The CSA web site its own FAQ:

CSA of Northern Ireland
Contact information includes addresses, telephone numbers (hotline, etc), and email addresses. Customer Help Line. Phone 9089 6896 if you are calling from Belfast, or 0845 713 9896 if you are calling from outside Belfast. The Customer Help Line also has a text phone on Belfast 9089 6704, or 0845 713 9704 from outside Belfast

Citizen's Advice Bureaux
Citizens Advice (was previously called "NACAB"):
The Citizens Advice Bureaux Directory Search:
Citizens Advice Bureaux websites:

MPs - Members of Parliament
Alphabetical List of Members of Parliament:
Members, Ministers and Committee:
Fax Your MP For Free!

5. How can I sort out my social security problems as well?

The newsgroup is more appropriate. Its charter is at:

It doesn't have an FAQ, but there is a comprehensive set of links for help at:

6. Where can I examine all the child support legislation?

There are full links to all the Acts and regulations at:

The above page also points to the "Decision Maker's Guide", used by CSA staff themselves, and available as PDF files.

7. Where can I find calculators for my assessment?

There are links to several free calculators (spreadsheets and on-line calculators) at:

The best-known spreadsheet, catering for both current and reformed schemes, using Excel, is at:

8. Where can I read about the CSA – history, details, reform, etc?

The most comprehensive description and analysis of the UK's child support system starts at:

There is an introduction to the CSA starting at:

There are links and references, to many books and papers, at:

9. When will the reformed scheme (2000 Act) start?

It will start for new cases (and certain existing cases involved with a new application) on Monday 3rd March 2003.

Perhaps 12 or 18 months after that, so probably during 2004, existing cases will be migrated to the reformed scheme. But they will not all start immediately at the new amount. Where there is a large difference in the amount, the new amount will be phased-in over a number of years.

There is more information about the reformed system at:
Durham Legal Services:
Child Support Analysis:


Page last updated: 17 January, 2004 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003