Blog summary & archive - 2004

Site history for 2001 & 2002 ("pre-blog")
Blog summary & archive for 2003
Blog summary & archive for 2004

Summary 41 - for December 2004

Weblog archive for December 2004

Much of the news this month was about Blunkett's affair and possible child. Overall, the was sympathy for Blunkett's desire to keep contact with his biological children, and do the best hee can for them. There was far less sympathy for Quinn's attempts to deny his access if the children are indeed his. In fact, there appeared to be little or no sympathy for Quinn at all, and this was hardly surprising.

Summary 40 - for November 2004

Weblog archive for November 2004

This month, the CEO of the Child Support Agency resigned early, amid continuing criticism of the CSA's new computer system. This computer system is often held up as a key example of the inability of the government to exploit computers within departments. (If it can't manage a computer system than caters for 2 million parents, how will it manage one to handle the 60 million people who will need ID cards, or who may need NHS treatment?)

The Northern Ireland CSA (based in largely the same law as Great Britain) has similar problems!

Summary 39 - for October 2004

Weblog archive for October 2004

This month's blog entries, and indeed this month's child support news generally, was dominated by paternity testing. This continues to be a hot topic world wide. It will continue to be seen to be important as long as such matters as responsibility for child support maintenance are determined by biological parentage, quite apart from the natural interest that men (and children) have in this.

Some people wish this topic would go away, and things could revert to the pre-DNA ambiguous state. But this won't happen.

Summary 38 - for September 2004

Weblog archive for September 2004

This Blog was dominated by two topics:

The Fathers 4 Justice campaign made the headlines yet again at the London Eye and at Buckingham Palace. They had an article in "PRWeek", a publications for the public relations profession. About two-thirds of people asked class them as "heroes", and about one-third as "villains". The publicity is massive compared with the small number of direct protestors, and suggests that it will not be hard to find further protestors in future. The question is "can the massive and ongoing publicity be turned into the desired changes in laws and systems?"

Many reports and articles criticised the performance of the CSA. These included the failings of the EDS-supplied computer system, a pointed article in The Times that revealed how the government appears to be trying to pretend that failings of the CSA don't impact its strategy for children, another quarterly statistics report showing that the new scheme is a shambles and impacting the old scheme too, the Annual Report and Accounts revealing more bad news, and the Annual Report of the Standards Committee stating that errors (apart from the computer problems) are already creeping into the operation of the news scheme.

Summary 37 - for August 2004

Child Support Analysis birthday cake
(Clipart by Bobbie Peachey)

Weblog archive for August 2004

This web site celebrated its 3rd birthday!

The Sunday Times ran an article about misattributed paternity and paternity testing, covering some of the same ground as the recent BBC programme. Paternity testing remains in the news, across many parts of the world. This is a "hot topic" in this early part of the century. It may become much more commonplace and routine later.
Summary 36 - for July 2004

Weblog archive for July 2004

Both the Ombudsman and the Independent Case Examiner published reports criticising the CSA. Yet again! (The surprise will be if they ever don't criticise the CSA!)

"Consultation" on access to children after separation began. However, it doesn't appear to be a genuine consultation activity with the opportunity of providing new ideas that will be taken into account. Instead, it appears to be an unsatisfactory proposal that has been published to obtain confirmation that little needs to be done. This will give the campaign by Fathers 4 Justice no reason to cease. However, Mrs Justice Bracewell, a senior High Court judge, has ordered two children to be taken from their divorced mother and sent to live with their father after she persistently flouted contact orders. Some judges can see things wrong with the current system, and sometimes do something about it.

Summary 35 - for June 2004

Weblog archive for June 2004

New rules for identifying sperm donors (eventually) were announced. This will require that sperm donation will be on the basis of identifiability from April next year. (The law will not apply retrospectively). But the information would only become available after the child's 18th birthday. This will leave the anonymous "Man Not Included" service in clear contravention of children's rights.

The statistics for the first year of operation of the new scheme were released. It is clear from them that the new scheme is a shambles. But, since the new computer system can't provide reliable numbers for various aspects, it isn't clear just how much of a shambles it is!

Summary 34 - for May 2004

Weblog archive for May 2004

There are at least 2 major themes:

  • First, the new CSA computer system, needed to support the new scheme, is still in desperate trouble. There continues to be talk about scrapping it and starting again. I doubt if this will happen, but it demonstrates the desperation of ministers and senior civil servants. The CSA has stagnated.
  • Second, the need to reform the family courts system, and sort out issues of access and residence with more fairness and the interests of children not to have fighting parents, is becoming more evident. There will be consultation on this soon.
Summary 33 - for April 2004

Weblog archive for April 2004

The cost of processing claims has increased under the new scheme! This is a consequence of the continuing serious problems with the "new" (actually, one year old!) computer system.

The government is to hold a consultation in mid-year about residence & contact matters in the Family Courts. The message that they are seriously wrong as they are is being repeated by more and more people, including judges involved.

Summary 32 - for March 2004

Weblog archive for March 2004

A Parent With Care was refused the right to sue the CSA. The law is simple - you are forced to use the CSA, and if they fail, you live with the consequences.

A "net income calculator" as added to the CSA web site. The web site continues to be the only aspect of the CSA that shows visible improvement.

Summary 31 - for February 2004

Weblog archive for February 2004

The CSA web site now provides a better on-line calculator for the new scheme. Perhaps the web site is the only aspect of the CSA which continues to show improvement!

There was a story that Andrew Smith, the minister, had suggested that the new computer system may have to be scrapped! The consequences of that would be truly massive. It would delay the new scheme for years, and there resultant need to keep running the old scheme would leave the CSA in the same mess it has been in for a decade.

Fathers' groups continued their pressure to improve the way the Family Courts handle residence & contact.

Summary 30 - for January 2004

Weblog archive for January 2004

The CSA web site for the "old scheme" was redesigned to improve its accessibility for disabled people, such as (but not restricted to) blind people.

The topic of child contact and the way fathers were treated in Family Courts was becoming more prominent in the news.

From the start of 2003 onwards, the Archive & history is in terms of summaries rather than editions. This reflects the fact that the evolution of this web site now continues throughout the month, and is not concentrated at the end each month. Each summary links to the archived weblog for that month.

Site history for 2001 & 2002 ("pre-blog")
Blog summary & archive for 2003
Blog summary & archive for 2004

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