At the Voice of the Child we are extremely aware that children fare best when they have the full involvement of both parents in their lives supporting them both emotionally and financially. Children need both of these things in order to reach their full potential.
Unfortunately, the more research we do the more aware we are becoming of a culture that is endemic within Whitehall, the House’s of Commons and Lords, the Family Courts, and the Civil Service generally. This culture is one that reduces one parents’ contribution to that of a monetary one only with scant regard for the emotional needs of the children.
Essentially, the emotional essentials do not matter to the people responsible for maintaining a system that works for the children. An obvious and worrying example of this is in the Child Maintenance Service, the Legislation that it relies on and the Ministerial blindness that allows it to continue to do damage to children and parents alike.
We want to open up the policies, procedures, wrongdoings and hypocrisies that allows the Child Maintenance Service to continue to operate the way that it does.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant and the CMS, and those responsible for it would be best advised to buy some sunglasses.
We have compiled a list of people who we will be putting under the microscope.
A few of the things we will be examining in detail include job descriptions (and how they well they are performing in their jobs), MP voting records, expenses, salaries, policy decisions, policy errors, activities that harm children and parents.
So, who’s made the list?
Firstly, we will be looking at the CMS Senior Leadership Team:
Tom McCormack – Child Maintenance Group Director
Alice Hopkins – CSA Director
Jenny Stewart – Delivery Support Director
Jim Edgar – CM Director – Projects
Marc Gill – CMS Arrears and Enforcement Director
Margaret Moor – CMS Applications and Maintenance Director
Julia Gault – CMS Policy Director
Next up will be the Senior Civil Servants who are responsible for the CMS:
Andrew Rhodes – DWP Operations Director General
Robert Devereux – Permanent Secretary for the Department for Work and Pensions (retiring January 2018 and, who, incidentally has the largest pension in the entire Civil Service; a whopping £1.8mln)
And the MP’s and Ministers who administer or support the current system
Caroline Dinenage – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance
David Gauke – Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions
Heidi Allen – An MP who sits on the Work and Pensions Select Committee and who appears to have a personal interest in the CMS and how she can recreate the CSA
We will be looking carefully and continuously at all of the above individuals. We will also be going back through Hansard to identify those who were responsible for constructing, debating and passing the legislation. When we have this information we will add them to the above list.
We also need your help
If you know any of these people or have examples of where they have acted immorally or not in the interest of children then we want to hear from you. We are also very interested to hear your stories about how the Child Maintenance Service has harmed your children, you or your family.
In addition, we would also be interested to see correspondence from any of the above about children, family justice or the CMS; especially where it contains personal viewpoints.
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.