Weblog archive for March 2005

25th March 2005

CSA boss to stand down - finally

The Department for Work and Pensions has now revealed he will leave on May 31. Mr Smith will hand over to Stephen Geraghty on April 4. But he will stay on in an advisory role for eight weeks. New chief executive Mr Geraghty was formerly the managing director of Direct Line Group.

Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson announced Doug Smith's retirement last November. But he came under fire last month when it emerged he was still in post.

Despite some recent progress, some significant problems remain with the new computer and telephony systems. 

Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson

"The CSA has been dogged by criticism and controversy ever since it was established in 1993 to assess and enforce child support payments by absent parents.

"In January MPs said it should be wound up and replaced unless it turned around its performance within weeks.

"The Commons Work and Pensions Committee said it could be five years before the CSA was "fit for purpose" and urged ministers to start drawing up plans for an alternative.

"The committee also condemned moves to slash the agency's staff by 25% while it was struggling to introduce a new computer system and still had a backlog of a quarter of a million cases to deal with."

31st March 2005

Work and Pensions Secretary claims there are signs of improvement

The government has withheld £13.3m in payments to supplier EDS because of continuing problems with the Child Support Agency (CSA) computer system. But Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson has rejected MPs' demands for a deadline for either making the system work or abandoning it.

"The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced on 26 January that there would be no major reductions in front line staffing until the new computer system is working effectively."

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