In August 2017 someone made a FOI request to the Department of Work and Pensions as follows:
“Please could you provide me a full and complete breakdown of all charges for direct from earnings orders (DEOs) charged to the non resident parent. Also what those payments pay for and to whom that money goes.”
The DWP/CMS responded as follows:
The primary reason for the introduction of fees and charges into the Child Maintenance Service is to prompt parents to consider whether it is possible for them to make a collaborative arrangement, such as a family based arrangement, where there is no government involvement, or a direct pay arrangement on the Child Maintenance Service. If these collaborative types of arrangement are not possible, parents are placed in the Child Maintenance Service’s Collect and Pay service which is subject to fees to the non-resident parent of 20% on top of the maintenance liability.
Deduction from Earnings Orders are part of the enforcement of the Collect and Pay service and as such the on-going fees apply to maintenance collected by this method. Enforcement charges, which apply when arrears have built up on a case and the Child Maintenance Service needs to use methods such as Deduction from Earnings Orders, are intended to encourage compliance. They also provide a small contribution to the cost of enforcement. The level of the charge is dependent on the type of enforcement action undertaken.
A £50 charge is applied on setting up a Deduction from Earnings Order.
Employers are allowed by legislation to add and retain a processing fee of up to £1 per deduction to cover their administration costs.
In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.
We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.