Weblog archive for April 2003

1st April

A view of the first month under new rules

The first month has been dominated by the war in Iraq, rather than the new rules! (Was this deliberate? No - they didn't start the war to mask any CSA problems! But did they schedule the start of the new scheme to hide it behind the war?)

The only really significant aspect of the first month is the continuing existence of the "premature conversion" loophole, and the government's continuing denial, despite solid evidence, that the loophole is significant. There are many items in the weblog, below and in the "monthly history", describing the "premature conversion" loophole and the government's reaction to it.

On-line paper analysing the "premature conversion" loophole
Word version of that paper

1st April

Phasing-in, year-by-year, after conversion

Initially, only new cases, and some existing cases that are linked to new cases, come under the new rules that started on 3rd March. At some time in the future called "conversion day", perhaps during 2004, remaining cases under old rules will be converted to the new rules.

When cases are converted properly (rather than "prematurely converted" via the loophole described and analysed on this web site) they will be "phased-in" if the difference between old rules and new rules results in a large difference in liability. Each year after the start of conversion, a proportion of the converted cases will be governed totally by the new rules, while the rest will only be partly governed by the new rules. After 5 years all cases will be totally governed by the new rules.

Here are estimates of the percentage of old-rules cases that will be totally converted to the new rules at the start of the conversion process and each year after this:

At "conversion day" (perhaps in 2004): 18%
One year after "conversion day" (perhaps in 2005): 51% more (making 69%)
Two years after "conversion day" (perhaps in 2006): 9% more (making 78%)
Three years after "conversion day" (perhaps in 2007): 6% more (making 84%)
Four years after "conversion day" (perhaps in 2008): 5% more (making 89%)
Five years after "conversion day" (perhaps in 2009): 11%; this completes the process.

Parliamentary question providing this information

30th April

CSA business plan for 2003-2004

This has been published today. Some features include:

The Agency will increase the proportion of new applications that result in maintenance calculations for:
- Old scheme cases by 3 percentage points.
- New scheme cases by 23 percentage points.
- To collect child maintenance and/or arrears from at least 78 per cent of all cases with a maintenance liability using the Agency's collection service.
- To collect at least 75 per cent. Of child maintenance and/or arrears due to be paid through the Agency's collection service.
New Scheme:
- Accuracy on the last decision made for all maintenance calculations to be checked in the year to be correct to the nearest penny in at least 90 per cent. Of cases.
- Payment arrangements for new scheme cases will have been established on average within 6 weeks.

The intention is that by early autumn 2003, all work for existing clients will be based on the new computer system. This will not change the basis on which their maintenance is calculated; they will convert to the new rules at some later date.

Hansard statement about the CSA business plan for 2003-2004
Downloadable version of the CSA business plan for 2003-2004 (PDF)

30th April

Possible problems with the new computer system

There is an unconfirmed report that the ability of an NRP to apply for a CSA case wasn't included in the requirements for the new computer system. If so, this may account for the trouble that some people are having trying to close the "premature conversion" loophole.

Despite government claims to the contrary, there is a loophole that lets a PWC force a case to convert to the new rules by closing the case then reapplying after 13 weeks. (See other entries in this weblog). A way round this in law is for the NRP to apply to restart the case within the 13-week period.

Some people have been denied this option by the CSA. It is possible that the reason for this is that the new CSA computer system is deficient, and doesn't support applications from the NRP. If so, the CSA started operations on 3rd March with a computer system that couldn't implement the law. It may significantly change the the future financial state of many people, who have been denied their rights under the law.

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