The government should have decided to scrap the Child Support Agency much earlier, the top civil servant at the Department for Work and Pensions said yesterday.
Leigh Lewis, the permanent secretary, admitted officials had chosen to overlook the warning signs and said the system had been flawed from its inception under John Major’s government in 1993.
“It started with a design that was too complex, which was introduced too quickly, with IT which was never until recently effective, and with too many changes of course and direction,” he told MPs on the public accounts committee.
The government is expected to announce plans to axe the CSA and replace it with a slimline body in a white paper this autumn. It is also expected to encourage parents to reach their own agreements on maintenance, using a smaller agency to tackle only the toughest of cases. It follows the failure of previous reforms, introduced in 2003, to solve problems which have dogged the system.
CSA should have been axed years ago