Weblog archive for September 2003

Face-lift and re-engineering of this web site 14th September 2003

The last month has been "quiet" for news about the CSA. This is mainly because MPs were on holiday, and there were few politically-inspired news articles about the CSA. (Also, the government appears to have been distracted by another public issue of its own making!)

Therefore, the opportunity has been taken to give this web site a face-lift. Virtually every page has been upgraded in some way. These are more than just "cosmetic" changes. They also improve the accessibility of this web site to people with various impairments. The evolution should greatly extend the useful life of this web site.

Accessibility improvements to the CSA web site 15th September 2003

Credit where credit is due. The web site for the "new scheme" of the child support agency has been upgraded to make it much more accessible for people who can't use conventional browsers. This includes people who use "readers" because of impaired vision and/or who rely upon keyboard navigation because they can't use a mouse. The "new scheme" web site now conforms to a range of globally-recognised standards developed with such accessibility in mind.

Child Support Analysis will examine the CSA's "new scheme" web site using IBM's "Home Page Reader", a commonly-used "reader" for people with browsing problems. (Comments will be sent directly to the DWP Internet and Design Team rather than be publicised here).

As well as this upgrade, the URLs of pages on the "new scheme" web site have changed. This Child Support Analysis web site now uses the new URLs.

Accessibility features of the CSA's "new scheme" web site

July's evidence to the Parliamentary Committee 18th September 2003

This Blog has already discussed the damning evidence given to the DWP Select Committee by Doug Smith and other senior CSA managers on 2nd July. See items for 4th July, 7th July, 8th July, 14th July, etc. This Blog also referred to the submission of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents most staff at the CSA, see item for 4th July.

Now the corrected version of this evidence has been published by the DWP Select Committee. It includes various Annexes, including the submission of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and the PCS's supplementary memorandum.

This is now all a bit dated. Things have moved on 2 months. What we need to see are the up-to-date statistics on the performance of the CSA.

More evidence to the Parliamentary Committee 18th September 2003

Why is the target for the proportion of parents with care receiving maintenance not higher than 60 per cent? You seem to be assuming that 40 per cent of parents with care are not going to receive payments.
Mr Goodman

If you recognise that under the old system the actual figure is something like 30 per cent, 60 per cent represents significant progress.
Mr Smith

This time it was Cabinet Minister Andrew Smith, and Rod Clark, Director of Strategy, Planning and Performance of the DWP, who gave evidence on 10th September.

The CSA's computer system is still not working properly. Most cases are still on the old system. Only 50 per cent of CSA cases are fully compliant; that means that 50 per cent are non-fully compliant or partially compliant.

Situation at 10th September Number
Applications made 132,000
Action taken 39,000
Closed 16,000
Calculations made 23,000
First payment made 4,000
PWC received the child support premium 2,500

Oral evidence, taken before the Work and Pensions Committee on Wednesday 10 September 2003

CSA statistics up to May 2003 published 24th September 2003

These are available as an Excel spreadsheet. They will be analysed here later.

Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary Statistics: May 2003

CANCSA to close down 26th September 2003

It's sad after 10 years of having a support group in the area that we have decided to call it a day. ”
Spokesman Neale Sheldon

There is a report in The Sentinel that CANCSA is to terminate at the start of October. They are a CSA advice group active in a number of areas including the Potteries area and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

CANCSA web site
The Sentinel, Low support forces group to call it a day

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