Blog summary & archive - 2005

Site history for 2001 & 2002 ("pre-blog")
Blog summary & archive for 2003
Blog summary & archive for 2004
Blog summary & archive for 2005

Summary 53 - for December 2005

Weblog archive for December 2005

A law result may force the CSA to collect arrears. The CSA's decision not to enforce the arrears in a particular case was quashed by the High Court.

Summary 52 - for November 2005

Weblog archive for November 2005

Tony Blair's incautious statement about the CSA led to speculation that it was about to be cancelled. (Perhaps eventually it will, but it will be years before there can be a replacement for it, so cancellation is years away).

Summary 51 - for October 2005

Weblog archive for October 2005

Various items, but not one strong theme. A "mediation service" is proposed to help parents avoid using the CSA, but there is no indication of whether benefits cases will be allowed to avoid the CSA. The latest CSA statistics were published, and at last have useful information from the new computer system. (Child Support Analysis intends to analyse them and publish the results on this website).

Summary 50 - for September 2005

Weblog archive for September 2005

There was just one significant topic, much repeated. "CSA in meltdown". David Blunkett called it a shambles. Frank Field published an open letter to Tony Blair proposing a solution. Child Support Analysis wrote an open letter to Frank Field, pointing out the problems with his proposal. Child Support Analysis also wrote to various people with a copy of a 2002 paper proposing the the CSA should stop being used for benefits reduction.

Summary 49 - for August 2005

Weblog archive for August 2005

Child Support Analysis birthday cake
(Clipart by Bobbie Peachey)

This web site celebrated its 4th birthday!

It was made clear in court rulings that there was no alternative to the CSA, such as using courts. The government has replaced alternatives with the CSA, then failed to make the CSA work.

A meta-analysis of misattributed paternity rates was published, once again showing that typical rates for the population as a whole are not as high as some claim. Although rates do increase for populations at risk, such as child support cases. In fact, according to information obtained by Child Support Analysis under the Freedom of Information Act, paternity tests administered by the CSA have an exclusion rate of about one in six.

Summary 48 - for July 2005

Weblog archive for July 2005

A number of annual reports were published, from the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) and the CSA. They said the obvious things - the CSA continues to be the most administratively incompetent government agency in living memory. Nothing new.

Professor Michael Gilding, of Australia's Swinburne University of Technology, recently published a paper asserting that "rampant paternity fraud is an urban myth". This got reported as "paternity fraud is an urban myth", which is silly. (It said nothing of the kind, although perhaps Michael Gilding wanted it to).

Some articles and papers were published about paternity, trying to de-emphasise the importance of biological paternity. Ultimately, these are attempts to "find the nearest man with a wallet".

Summary 47 - for June 2005

Weblog archive for June 2005

There was very little news about the CSA in June. In fact, the CSA appears to be "festering", with little sign of progress because the computer system needed to reveal progress isn't working properly! (It is hiding its own failings).

Summary 46 - for May 2005

Weblog archive for May 2005

Two items during May epitomise the CSA for many people: "Fighting a faceless, uncaring, state", and "CSA Says 'Sorry' to Accused Vasectomy Man". Especially the comment from a CSA spokesman on the latter: "The CSA deals with more than one million cases and sometimes a mistake may be made"!

Yes, mistakes can be made - but the CSA often acts towards people as though it doesn't make mistakes, and it is those people who are in the wrong. Humility, and the rapid corrections of mistakes, are vital, but all too often absent. This has been a constant theme of criticisms of the CSA for over a decade - facing an agency that can't accept, and won't work within, its own clear limitations.

Summary 45 - for April 2005

Weblog archive for April 2005

A report identifies serious failings in the CSA when dealing with the New Scheme, and trying to handle problems with its new computer system. There is evidence of "playing management games" and, frankly, attempting to cover-up the scale of the tasks and the seriousness of the problems.

Although this shows that the problem is not just about IT, ministers have continued to focus on problems with the IT and telephony systems as the only relevant causes of the agency's failures. So expect problems to continue!

Summary 44 - for March 2005

Weblog archive for March 2005

The Department for Work and Pensions has now revealed that Doug Smith will leave on May 31. Mr Smith will hand over to Stephen Geraghty on April 4.

Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson has rejected MPs' demands for a deadline for either making the CSA's system work or abandoning it.

Summary 43 - for February 2005

Weblog archive for February 2005

A mother from Cheshire has taken the Child Support Agency to court, alleging it miscalculated the amount she was owed by her ex-husband. Judgement was reserved for six weeks (until about mid-March).

Summary 42 - for January 2005

Weblog archive for January 2005

The Freedom Of Information Act began. (And the CSA website identified how to make requests under the Act).

Computer troubles continued. MPs were still discussing whether to scrap the CSA. And EDS was awarded more business at the CSA!

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
Blog summary & archive for 2005

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Page last updated: 23 April, 2006 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2005