A chance to debate the future

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John Ward

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Mar 26, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/26/98
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In the Commons on 23rd March, Harriet Harman and others posed several
questions which need to be answered during the process of reforming child
support. (See my earlier posting "Commons discussion on CSA - 23rd March").

This NG is good at discussing detailed issues of CSA law and practice, and
(be honest) good at complaining. Can it be as good at analysing the issues
and identifying possible solutions?

Below, I've identified 5 key issues/questions which emerged during the
Commons discussion. Each probably justifies a thread to explore the feeling
of the NG and see if a consensus is possible. (Or the NG can wait until
someone else makes the decisions, then complain about them).

----------
FIRST & SECOND FAMILIES:

Ms Harman: I invite the House to consider three further points. We face
some difficult choices in the necessary reform of child support.

First, what is the appropriate balance between the interests of the first
and second families?

----------
SIMPLE SYSTEM v TARGETED SYSTEM:

Secondly, what is the right balance between a clear, simple and
straightforward system and a complex system that deals very closely with
individual needs?

----------
TAXPAYER v PARENT INTERESTS:

Thirdly, what is the right balance between the need of parents with care to
receive income for their children and the interests of taxpayers not to
have to support other people's children?

----------
RETROSPECTIVE v JUST NEW CASES:

Mr. Rendel: Does the Secretary of State expect any new formula to apply
only to new cases, or will it apply also to cases that have already been
agreed under CSA regulations--which would lead to difficulties such as
cases being reopened and redecided and a lot of losers?

Ms Harman: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. We are trying to
reform a system, but it is difficult to do so when we have a great tangle
and a sense--and the reality--of injustice. For people who have had
incorrect awards made and those who have had correct awards made but who
have failed to pay, the issue of transitional arrangements will be critical
in achieving public confidence in the new and reformed system that we
should like to see evolve.

----------
DEALING WITH DELAYING/NON-PAYERS:

Mr. Wicks: Given that the great majority of mothers and children on income
support receive no child maintenance from their fathers, will the Secretary
of State consider setting a new target to tackle the tough cases: the men
who are determined never to pay a penny? In my advice surgery on Friday
night, I met a mother who had supplied all the information that was needed
to the CSA. Two years on, she is still not receiving a penny.

Ms Harman: My hon. Friend is absolutely right: there is a huge sense of
grievance among absent parents--usually fathers--when there is a delay in
assessing maintenance and then, suddenly, they are hit with large arrears
that might turn out to be incorrect; there is also a burning sense of
grievance among parents with care--usually mothers--that although a correct
award has been made, fathers sometimes avoid paying.

----------

John Ward

Alan Ockerby

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
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Right,
I'll start the ball rolling as far as what an absent parent should
pay.
I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
many children you have. This would make it so the AP can make a contribution
to the upkeep of his children, but the benefits agency must also play a
part, they will have to do their sums to come up with a figure of what the
cost of bringing children up, and deduct the payment by the AP and pay the
rest as benefit also taking into account if the PWC also earns.
To me this would be a simple starting point which would also allow the AP to
contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,clothes etc but also have enough
to live on.
There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot
pay the 7% because of other committments, this is sadly lacking in the
present system (even with departures).
If the figure of 7% was adopted people would, I believe,
1. Pay the amount willingly
2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
3. Make assessments simple.
4. Be able to treat their children to other things.
5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
some money for himself.

It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
meal ticket for the PWC for life.
I know i won't have covered everything but it's perhaps a starting point
for discussion.

All the best
Alan


John Ward wrote in message <01bd5909$c7c9a2a0$e12b...@iclweb.com>...

to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
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On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:17:35 -0000, "Alan Ockerby"
<Alan.O...@btinternet.com> wrote:

|Right,
| I'll start the ball rolling as far as what an absent parent should
|pay.
|I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
|many children you have.

Why?

| This would make it so the AP can make a contribution
|to the upkeep of his children, but the benefits agency must also play a
|part, they will have to do their sums to come up with a figure of what the
|cost of bringing children up, and deduct the payment by the AP and pay the
|rest as benefit

Why should you only be expected to pay towards the COST of the
children?

|also taking into account if the PWC also earns.
|To me this would be a simple starting point which would also allow the AP to
|contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,clothes etc but also have enough
|to live on.

Have enough to live on - yes. Only paying towards clothes etc - no.

|There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot

|pay...

Agreed, very true.

|If the figure of 7% was adopted people would, I believe,
|1. Pay the amount willingly
|2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
|3. Make assessments simple.
|4. Be able to treat their children to other things.
|5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
|some money for himself.

1. You display a very optimistic view of human nature.
2. (see 1.)
3. True.
4. Extra things? Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state
for bearing the cost of looking after your children?
5. Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state for bearing
the cost of looking after your children? So, the tax payer can afford
these treats for your children?

|It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
|meal ticket for the PWC for life.

Look, I have said this before: If a family have children and do not
live together the Absent Parent saves a LOT of money. He/she should
not expect the state to cover the extra burden so that he can keep
that saving. The PWC usually can not work (whether in the benefit trap
or not), because child care costs are too expensive. And would you
WANT her to? Is "saving money" more important than your children being
brought up by their biological parent?

|I know i won't have covered everything but it's perhaps a starting point
|for discussion.

Certainly is!
I know this does not go down well with a lot of you - and I felt the
same way when I was first assessed. The CSA is far from perfect, some
of the calculations are unbelievable. However, I have gradually
changed my mind about whether I should be reimbursing the DSS for my
familys' upkeep. I think I should. I pay £52.50 pw (ignoring arrears)
and my gross salary is £17,000 pa. I would have been paying more than
that if they lived with me. It's as simple as that.

If you or I choose to start a new family in the future, we should then
do so in the full knowledge that the assessment will stay with us
until our child/ren are no longer assessable (possibly RPI linked).
This way we are effectively paying a tax towards the upkeep of our
children. Any problem with that?

Now, where the system falls down is:
(1)unwanted or accidental pregnancies.
(2)Assessing the APs' ability to pay.

(1) If a couple had never lived together and have a child
(accidentally or otherwise) I do not believe the CSA should get
involved. If they HAVE as a marriage-type partnership, then they
should be treated as such. This is easy to prove or disprove.

(2)I had/have huge debts - mainly built up during my marriage, they
are all ignored. My outgoings are more than my income so the debts are
getting worse. BUT, this would have been the case if I had still been
married (possibly worse). I think that the assessment should be much
simpler - but still based on the same basic rules. The agency should
look at outgoings AT THE TIME OF ASSESSMENT and then make an
assessment after applying means testing to the absent parent.

So: What was the problem again?
;-)

Regards.

Howard


Ian Clark

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
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On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:17:35 -0000, "Alan Ockerby"
<Alan.O...@btinternet.com> wrote:

>Right,
> I'll start the ball rolling as far as what an absent parent should
>pay.

And I'll help you push :-)

>I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
>many children you have.

[snip]

>To me this would be a simple starting point which would also allow the AP to
>contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,clothes etc but also have enough
>to live on.

>There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot

>pay the 7% because of other committments, this is sadly lacking in the
>present system (even with departures).

>If the figure of 7% was adopted people would, I believe,
>1. Pay the amount willingly

I would certainly but there will inevitably be those APs who will
avoid paying anything so there needs to be some way of chasing up
those people.

>2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
>3. Make assessments simple.

2 happens a lot because 3 isn't :-)

I've thought about this a lot and each time I do, an assessment system
based on an across the board basis is the best way to go. After all,
Family Allowance is an across the board scheme...there is no complex
assessment of income to determine what payments to allocate for each
child.

>4. Be able to treat their children to other things.

This is one aspect that upsets me most. I contribute £240/month which
leaves me very little money to treat my daughter the way I would like.
Although she is only 25 months old and stays overnight with me each
Friday, I have to cut back on even the most basic "luxuries" such that
when she is with me I can take her out, buy her clothes that I keep at
my home for changing etc etc...It really is heart breaking for me not
being able to afford to do all the things I want with my daughter.

What is more galling is hearing my ex tell me about the clothes SHE
has bought as though it were her money. Er, excuse me, but surely my
contribution had something to do with that!

>5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>some money for himself.
>

Those were the days :)

>It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
>meal ticket for the PWC for life.

That is how it can feel. I mean, what about when the time comes and my
ex sets up home with a new partner. I am not being critical of my ex
in anyway as she and I get on fine ( touch wood ) but it must be
tempting for her and the new partner to sit down and say to themselves
when they are organising a mortgage....."Right...so we get £240 from
Ian....that takes care of the mortgage and that leaves us plenty of
money for putting towards our holiday!"

As I say, I don't want to be seen to be castigating my ex in anyway
but it surely is tempting for both her and any new man in her life to
think this way...if I'm honest, I think I probably would :)

Cheers, Ian.
Tedious 'office speak' part 3: "Let's go scuba in the think tank."

Alan Ockerby

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
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to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com wrote in message
<351b921...@news1.force9.net>...


>On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:17:35 -0000, "Alan Ockerby"
><Alan.O...@btinternet.com> wrote:
>
>|Right,
>| I'll start the ball rolling as far as what an absent parent
should
>|pay.

>|I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of
how
>|many children you have.
>

>Why?
>
>| This would make it so the AP can make a contribution
>|to the upkeep of his children, but the benefits agency must also play a
>|part, they will have to do their sums to come up with a figure of what
the
>|cost of bringing children up, and deduct the payment by the AP and pay the
>|rest as benefit
>
>Why should you only be expected to pay towards the COST of the
>children?

>Because after giving my wife £32k I do not feel it is my responsibility to
support her, especially in view I am paying maintenance for my 2 other
children and also for a loan I took out to give her even more cash.

>|also taking into account if the PWC also earns.

>|To me this would be a simple starting point which would also allow the AP
to
>|contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,clothes etc but also have
enough
>|to live on.
>

>Have enough to live on - yes. Only paying towards clothes etc - no.

>What do you do if you haven't enough to live on. Jack in work because it's
not advantagous to work any more because of the CSA?
Everybody then loses.


>|There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who
cannot

>|pay...
>
>Agreed, very true.


>
>|If the figure of 7% was adopted people would, I believe,
>|1. Pay the amount willingly

>|2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
>|3. Make assessments simple.

>|4. Be able to treat their children to other things.

>|5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>|some money for himself.
>

>1. You display a very optimistic view of human nature.

I am an optimist but I can only speak for myself, I am sure there are people
out there who do not want to pay anything.


>2. (see 1.)
>3. True.
>4. Extra things? Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state
>for bearing the cost of looking after your children?
>5. Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state for bearing
>the cost of looking after your children? So, the tax payer can afford
>these treats for your children?

I think the taxpayer has a responsibility to my wife not my children.


>
>|It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
>|meal ticket for the PWC for life.
>

>Look, I have said this before: If a family have children and do not
>live together the Absent Parent saves a LOT of money. He/she should
>not expect the state to cover the extra burden so that he can keep
>that saving.

Boll====. I am far worse off now than I ever was married.

The PWC usually can not work (whether in the benefit trap
>or not), because child care costs are too expensive. And would you
>WANT her to? Is "saving money" more important than your children being
>brought up by their biological parent?

>Of course I want him brought up by his mother. The situation is his mother
this month got £750 (Maint ,FC, Child benefit), and I got £770 salary, I
have far more outgoings than her. Is that fair?


>|I know i won't have covered everything but it's perhaps a starting point
>|for discussion.
>
>Certainly is!
>I know this does not go down well with a lot of you - and I felt the

Who are you lot? I suppose by your attitude you mean people who don't want
to pay. I pay £272 per month for a 4 year old on a 20k salary, is that
supposed to be fair? Perhaps if they took financial settlements and ongoing
commitments into consideration it might be a fairer system.


>same way when I was first assessed. The CSA is far from perfect, some
>of the calculations are unbelievable. However, I have gradually
>changed my mind about whether I should be reimbursing the DSS for my
>familys' upkeep. I think I should. I pay £52.50 pw (ignoring arrears)
>and my gross salary is £17,000 pa. I would have been paying more than
>that if they lived with me. It's as simple as that.

>Yes but the whole point, when you have made a clean break you should not
pay for your wife and as the starting point on any MA is £49.15 per week for
the PWC, how can this be right.
And you must be a very strange person if you are happy with your situation,
when you are going further into debt every month.


>If you or I choose to start a new family in the future, we should then

No chance!


>do so in the full knowledge that the assessment will stay with us
>until our child/ren are no longer assessable (possibly RPI linked).
>This way we are effectively paying a tax towards the upkeep of our
>children. Any problem with that?
>
>Now, where the system falls down is:
>(1)unwanted or accidental pregnancies.
>(2)Assessing the APs' ability to pay.
>
>(1) If a couple had never lived together and have a child
>(accidentally or otherwise) I do not believe the CSA should get
>involved. If they HAVE as a marriage-type partnership, then they
>should be treated as such. This is easy to prove or disprove.
>
>(2)I had/have huge debts - mainly built up during my marriage, they
>are all ignored. My outgoings are more than my income so the debts are
>getting worse. BUT, this would have been the case if I had still been
>married (possibly worse). I think that the assessment should be much
>simpler - but still based on the same basic rules. The agency should
>look at outgoings AT THE TIME OF ASSESSMENT and then make an
>assessment after applying means testing to the absent parent.
>
>So: What was the problem again?
> ;-)
>
>Regards.
>
>Howard
>

>I don't think you have really come up with any counter proposals. I.e take
things into consideration, existing total o/g's net pay not gross. ETC
This was supposed to be an opening point not a case of calling me"one of
you". You sound as bad as the government.
>

Ian Clark

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
to

On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:35:12 GMT,
to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com wrote:

>On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:17:35 -0000, "Alan Ockerby"
><Alan.O...@btinternet.com> wrote:
>
>|Right,
>| I'll start the ball rolling as far as what an absent parent should
>|pay.
>|I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
>|many children you have.
>
>Why?
>

Read ahead and you'll find out.

>| This would make it so the AP can make a contribution
>|to the upkeep of his children, but the benefits agency must also play a
>|part, they will have to do their sums to come up with a figure of what the
>|cost of bringing children up, and deduct the payment by the AP and pay the
>|rest as benefit
>
>Why should you only be expected to pay towards the COST of the
>children?
>

What other COST did you have in mind?

Once you are separated from your partner you should only be
responsible for any children that you had together.
Admittedly this is a difficult issue to resolve. There are costs that
are relatively easy to identify and arrive at a figure for such as
clothing and food. Other costs are less easy to determine such as
heating. Provision of maintenance by an AP will sometimes mean that
the PWC will benefit as a result of sharing such things as heating but
the PWC cannot benefit from clothing bought for the children.

So the AP is contributing to the living costs of the PWC but for the
most part it is mostly going to the children.

>|also taking into account if the PWC also earns.
>|To me this would be a simple starting point which would also allow the AP to
>|contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,clothes etc but also have enough
>|to live on.
>
>Have enough to live on - yes. Only paying towards clothes etc - no.
>

Clothes etc are only examples of the things that an AP would
contribute towards. What is your disagreement here Howard?

Alan's view is obviously well meaning in that he would like to think,
as I would, that most APs would contribute voluntarily to some costs
if their finances permitted. In reality, I actually think a lot of
APs will not be so kind in thought. However, at least the mechanism
would be there to allow those that would to do so.

>|There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot
>|pay...
>
>Agreed, very true.
>

I'm with you both here :-)

>|If the figure of 7% was adopted people would, I believe,
>|1. Pay the amount willingly
>|2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
>|3. Make assessments simple.
>|4. Be able to treat their children to other things.
>|5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>|some money for himself.
>
>1. You display a very optimistic view of human nature.

Hmmm...yes, I would agree to a point. No figures can be out forward
here but I would like to think that a lot of APs would comply more
readily if the assessment mechanism followed Alan's suggestion.

>2. (see 1.)
>3. True.
>4. Extra things? Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state
>for bearing the cost of looking after your children?

I don't think that is what Alan is getting at. It is inevitable that
time spent with your children as an AP will mean you have to pay over
and above your maintenance agreement so that you can have a great tme
with your kids.

What I think Alan was getting at and I concur very much with his view,
is that APs are being asked to contribute such amounts that leave them
very little towards spending on their kids when they are with them. I
know, I've been there...stuck at home with my daughter and not being
able to go anywhere or do anything because I had no money. Don't get
me wrong, it doesn't happen often for me, but I could see this
situation happening a lot.

>5. Rather than giving priority to reimbursing the state for bearing
>the cost of looking after your children? So, the tax payer can afford
>these treats for your children?
>

Your missing the point Howard. Alan is simply saying that his
suggested method for paying maintenance would hopefully strike a
balance between paying a fair amount towards the childred and knowing
that at the end of the month there is still money for him to carry on
with his own personal financial commitments. Seems a fair reflection
of what most APs would feel...I know I do.

[snip lots of other stuff because I have to go before this post gets
too long and my brain is hurting :-) ]

I've snipped your last bit of your reply Howard as I have to go but
you raise a few valid points that I hope to get back to later.

Charles Atkinson

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Mar 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/27/98
to

In article <351b921...@news1.force9.net>, to.reply.pls.see.sig@end.
of.message.com writes

>I know this does not go down well with a lot of you - and I felt the
>same way when I was first assessed. The CSA is far from perfect, some
>of the calculations are unbelievable. However, I have gradually
>changed my mind about whether I should be reimbursing the DSS for my
>familys' upkeep. I think I should. I pay £52.50 pw (ignoring arrears)
>and my gross salary is £17,000 pa. I would have been paying more than
>that if they lived with me. It's as simple as that.

Good points, Howard.

A key to the difficult finances of break up is the extra cost of running
two residences. 2 parents and, say, two children have much lower per-
capita housing costs than when the parents run two households.

That gap has to be filled -- it usually means one parent living in poor
housing and/or everyone having a much reduced standard of living.

This is a difficult time when it is right and proper for the state to
lend a helping hand. But I don't think the state should pay
indefinitely, only at the especially hard time.

--
Charles Atkinson cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk +44 (0)1453 834134
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com

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Mar 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/28/98
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On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:55:57 GMT, i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk (Ian
Clark) wrote:

I chose to answer this one as it seems the most sensible of the
arguments against my views. I don't mean to be rude but I can not
bring myself to argue with people who have decided that the tax-payer
should pay towards their ex-family anymore, and that ONLY the
child/ren should be counted. By the way. I stand by all the other
points I raised in my original reply.

So, here goes...

|>Why should you only be expected to pay towards the COST of the
|>children?
|What other COST did you have in mind?

The cost of the state bringing up your family for you of course.


|
|Once you are separated from your partner you should only be
|responsible for any children that you had together.

I disagree - read my original reply. Perhaps this is where the crux of
the argument really lies.

|I would certainly but there will inevitably be those APs who will
|avoid paying anything so there needs to be some way of chasing up
|those people.

Agreed.

|>2. Not keep complaining to the CSA about changes in circumstances.
|>3. Make assessments simple.
|

|2 happens a lot because 3 isn't :-)

(Partly the reason). Agreed. - sorta!

|I've thought about this a lot and each time I do, an assessment system
|based on an across the board basis is the best way to go. After all,
|Family Allowance is an across the board scheme...there is no complex
|assessment of income to determine what payments to allocate for each
|child.

Agreed again. (as long as we build in a fair means-testing method),
see my original reply.

|>4. Be able to treat their children to other things.

hmmm...|
|This is one aspect that upsets me most. I contribute £240/month[1] which
|leaves me very little money to treat my daughter the way I would like[2].


|Although she is only 25 months old and stays overnight with me each
|Friday, I have to cut back on even the most basic "luxuries" such that
|when she is with me I can take her out, buy her clothes that I keep at
|my home for changing etc etc...It really is heart breaking for me not

|being able to afford to do all the things I want with my daughter[3].
|
[1] How much do you earn and how much of that payment is arrears?
[2] Have you considered the tax-payer at all in this emotive wish?
[3] I have about the same contact with my 27-month old son and have
the same wishes and upsetting thoughts. BUT I have to balance that
against what it would have been like (both financially and
emotionally), if we were all still one family. We would still have had
the problem of being unable to afford EVERYTHING we wanted to do - but
I would not have felt so guilty about it. Could that be clouding the
issue too much?

|What is more galling is hearing my ex tell me about the clothes SHE
|has bought as though it were her money. Er, excuse me, but surely my
|contribution had something to do with that!

Of course it did. And you both know it.

|>5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
|>some money for himself.

|Those were the days :)

Before you were a family? Before you had children? or Before you split
up,- if so, why?

|>It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
|>meal ticket for the PWC for life.
|

|That is how it can feel. I mean, what about when the time comes and my
|ex sets up home with a new partner. I am not being critical of my ex
|in anyway as she and I get on fine ( touch wood ) but it must be
|tempting for her and the new partner to sit down and say to themselves
|when they are organising a mortgage....."Right...so we get £240 from
|Ian....that takes care of the mortgage and that leaves us plenty of
|money for putting towards our holiday!"

You KNOW this is not true! Even with an unfair CSA (as it is now),
your assessment then will only be based on the child you need to
support - if your ex has decided to come off income support and buy a
house,- and be part of a family with income.

Thanks Ian. Some interesting thoughts here (all of the replies-not
just yours). If I have missed out replying to other comments - please
forgive me and remind me what they were - thanks.

It is always interesting to challenge our own beliefs isn't it? I'm
still waiting for an insanely angry retort though ;-)

Suppose it will arrive soon.....

H.


John Ward

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Mar 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/28/98
to

Before the Government gets round to deciding details (such as how any
percent, how many pounds, etc) they will discuss and sort out the
principles (first versus second families, simple versus targeted, etc).

While they are sorting out the principles, they MAY be receptive to
well-based proposals about these principles. At this stage they will ignore
proposals about details.

The reason I suggested a debate, and chose these particular topics, was
that they are some of the principles being discussed by politicians. I
simply clipped them from Harriet's statements in the Commons earlier this
week.

Once they have sorted out the principles, then someone will choose the
amounts. These will probably not be in the primary legislation - they will
be separate, so that they can be changed easily. Statisticians and the
Treasury will all have a say at this stage.


----------
There ARE some principles in some of the postings received so far on this
topic, but they have become buried in the detail. I've tried to extract a
few of them, see below, but I haven't done those posts justice.

(AO - Alan Ockerby; H - Howard; IC - Ian Clark).

----------
FIRST & SECOND FAMILIES:

[H] If you or I choose to start a new family in the future, we should then


do so in the full knowledge that the assessment will stay with us until our
child/ren are no longer assessable (possibly RPI linked). This way we are
effectively paying a tax towards the upkeep of our children.

[IC] What is more galling is hearing my ex tell me about the clothes SHE
has bought as though it were her money. ... what about when the time comes
and my ex sets up home with a new partner. ... it must be tempting for her


and the new partner to sit down and say to themselves when they are

organising a mortgage....."Right...so we get (...) from Ian....that takes


care of the mortgage and that leaves us plenty of money for putting towards
our holiday!

[IC] Provision of maintenance by an AP will sometimes mean that the PWC


will benefit as a result of sharing such things as heating but the PWC

cannot benefit from clothing bought for the children. ... So the AP is


contributing to the living costs of the PWC but for the most part it is
mostly going to the children.

----------


SIMPLE SYSTEM v TARGETED SYSTEM:

[AO] I think a figure of (...) of gross basic pay should be paid,
regardless of how many children you have ... simple starting point which


would also allow the AP to contribute voluntarily for school uniforms,

clothes etc ... There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect
people who cannot pay the (...) because of other committments

[H] If a couple had never lived together and have a child (accidentally or


otherwise) I do not believe the CSA should get involved. If they HAVE as a

marriage-type partnership, then they should be treated as such. ... I think


that the assessment should be much simpler - but still based on the same
basic rules. The agency should look at outgoings AT THE TIME OF ASSESSMENT
and then make an assessment after applying means testing to the absent
parent.

[AO] Perhaps if they took financial settlements and ongoing commitments


into consideration it might be a fairer system.

[IC] I've thought about this a lot and each time I do, an assessment system


based on an across the board basis is the best way to go. After all, Family
Allowance is an across the board scheme...there is no complex assessment of
income to determine what payments to allocate for each child.

[IC] Once you are separated from your partner you should only be
responsible for any children that you had together. Admittedly this is a


difficult issue to resolve. There are costs that are relatively easy to
identify and arrive at a figure for such as clothing and food. Other costs

are less easy to determine such as heating. ... Alan's view is obviously


well meaning in that he would like to think, as I would, that most APs
would contribute voluntarily to some costs if their finances permitted. In
reality, I actually think a lot of APs will not be so kind in thought.

----------
TAXPAYER v PARENT INTERESTS:

[AO] ...the benefits agency must also play a part, they will have to do


their sums to come up with a figure of what the cost of bringing children

up, and deduct the payment by the AP and pay the rest as benefit also


taking into account if the PWC also earns.

[H] ... the Absent Parent ... should not expect the state to cover the


extra burden so that he can keep that saving.

----------


RETROSPECTIVE v JUST NEW CASES:

----------
DEALING WITH DELAYING/NON-PAYERS:

[IC] ... there will inevitably be those APs who will avoid paying anything


so there needs to be some way of chasing up those people.


----------

John Ward


A45 flyer

unread,
Mar 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/28/98
to

>>I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
>>many children you have.

7% of the average wage is less than the Income Support amount for one child
under 11 (including Family Premium). The IS amount is about £29 from 6/4/98.
That would need a net (basic!) wage of over £400 per week to meet at the
percentage rate quoted. Gross would probably have to be around £560 pw to £575
pw. Are you seriously saying that only APs who earn £28,000 pa or more are able
to support their children? Where does that leave the rest of us who earn a lot
less than that?

>>There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot

>>pay the 7% because of other committments, this is sadly lacking in the
>>present system

What commitments (other than standard living and housing costs) could possibly
be more pressing than the need to support one's children? A hi-fi? A PC? A car?
A holiday? Or something else? Name it. There is nothing.

>>4. Be able to treat their children to other things

There are hundreds of thousands of parents living with their children who can't
afford as many "treats" as they would like to give their children. Other things
being equal (and in terms of absent parent income they usually will be) why
would an absent parent's children be more deserving of taxpayer's money than
anyone else's children? Thay are no less deserving, but all children should be
treated equally by the government.

>>5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>>some money for himself.

Think about how many married men and women can rarely afford significant treats
or luxuries for themselves because they put their children first and are
prepared to sacrifice their own interests out of .... parental love. Why should
they pay extra taxes in order to support other peoples' children so that those
other parents can spend their money on "treats"? Why?

Sorry to seem so aggressive, but that 7% suggestion is cloud-cuckoo thinking, a
typical product of "working backwards from the desired result". If there is
ever to be a flat-rate system it will have to be set at a figure of atleast
three or four times that 7% rate. 7% is insupportable because it is aimed at
the needs of the absent parent, not those of the children, and certainly not
those of the absent parent's fellow citizens or THEIR children. I reckon the
government have it right: all parents should support their own children and
fellow citizens should only be asked to assist where a parent cannot support
them. Not where the parent thinks the money is better spent elsewhere. Children
come first - before holidays, before a TV, before a PC, before almost
everything. Most of us don't even think twice about it.

Brian L.


John Ward

unread,
Mar 28, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/28/98
to

A45 flyer <a45f...@aol.com> wrote in article
<199803282313...@ladder01.news.aol.com>...

> >>I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of
how
> >>many children you have.
>
> 7% of the average wage is less than the Income Support amount for one
child
> under 11 (including Family Premium). The IS amount is about £29 from
6/4/98.
> That would need a net (basic!) wage of over £400 per week to meet at the
> percentage rate quoted. Gross would probably have to be around £560 pw to
£575
> pw. Are you seriously saying that only APs who earn £28,000 pa or more
are able
> to support their children? Where does that leave the rest of us who earn
a lot
> less than that?

In the USA (or at least parts of it) the figures are:
- 17% of gross income for one child (sounds like "one-sixth")
- 25% of gross income for more than one child ("one-quarter")

At the moment I am more interested in the principles than the amount - a
straight percentage has some support. (It would make collection via the
Inland Revenue, rather than DSS, as suggested by Pete Dean, more
plausible).


John Ward


Alan Ockerby

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

A45 flyer wrote in message


<199803282313...@ladder01.news.aol.com>...
>>>I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of
how
>>>many children you have.
>
>7% of the average wage is less than the Income Support amount for one child
>under 11 (including Family Premium). The IS amount is about £29 from
6/4/98.
>That would need a net (basic!) wage of over £400 per week to meet at the
>percentage rate quoted. Gross would probably have to be around £560 pw to
£575
>pw. Are you seriously saying that only APs who earn £28,000 pa or more are
able
>to support their children? Where does that leave the rest of us who earn a
lot
>less than that?
>

>>>There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who
cannot
>>>pay the 7% because of other committments, this is sadly lacking in the
>>>present system
>
>What commitments (other than standard living and housing costs) could
possibly
>be more pressing than the need to support one's children? A hi-fi? A PC? A
car?
>A holiday? Or something else? Name it. There is nothing.
>

Don't know what a holiday is. I have a company car, don't need another one.
I was thinking about maintenance for other children and loans that people
get to help their wives and children with. (Don't mention departures, it's a
joke)So it ends up that 50% (not 20% or 30%) of net earnings goes on maint,
loan and csa asessment. If these were taken into consideration I would be
happy to pay 20 or 30 %. What it boils down to is everybodies situation is
different.

>Incidentally have you read the introduction to child maintenance, it states
"child maintenance is an amount of money that absent parents pay as a
contribution to the upkeep of their CHILDREN"
Not to keep the PWC in fags all month, or to pay for her mortgage and her
nights out.

Charles Atkinson

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Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

In article <01bd5909$c7c9a2a0$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
<john...@iclweb.com> writes

John,

I've followed the thread with interest but it seems more helpful to
start from your original posting than to follow up on later replies...

>In the Commons on 23rd March, Harriet Harman and others posed several
>questions which need to be answered during the process of reforming child
>support. (See my earlier posting "Commons discussion on CSA - 23rd March").
>
>This NG is good at discussing detailed issues of CSA law and practice, and
>(be honest) good at complaining. Can it be as good at analysing the issues
>and identifying possible solutions?
>
>Below, I've identified 5 key issues/questions which emerged during the
>Commons discussion. Each probably justifies a thread to explore the feeling
>of the NG and see if a consensus is possible. (Or the NG can wait until
>someone else makes the decisions, then complain about them).
>

>----------
>FIRST & SECOND FAMILIES:
>

>Ms Harman: I invite the House to consider three further points. We face
>some difficult choices in the necessary reform of child support.
>
>First, what is the appropriate balance between the interests of the first
>and second families?

They should be treated equally.

OK -- people are likely to think "if I take on a new family that will
reduce the payments to the old one" but the total costs will still go up
so there is a financial dis-incentive.


>
>----------
>SIMPLE SYSTEM v TARGETED SYSTEM:
>

>Secondly, what is the right balance between a clear, simple and
>straightforward system and a complex system that deals very closely with
>individual needs?

The question needs questioning. Where discretion is built in, the
system need not be complex to address unusual individual circumstances.
A simple rule-based system would, at times, be even more unfair than the
present mess. Let's have a simple system with discretion.

>
>----------
>TAXPAYER v PARENT INTERESTS:
>

>Thirdly, what is the right balance between the need of parents with care to
>receive income for their children and the interests of taxpayers not to
>have to support other people's children?

Where the combined income of the parents is enough to support the
children the taxpayer should not contribute.

The rider is that, where the taxpayer is not contributing the government
should get its nose out of our private affairs.

>
>----------
>RETROSPECTIVE v JUST NEW CASES:
>

>Mr. Rendel: Does the Secretary of State expect any new formula to apply
>only to new cases, or will it apply also to cases that have already been
>agreed under CSA regulations--which would lead to difficulties such as
>cases being reopened and redecided and a lot of losers?
>
>
>Ms Harman: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point. We are trying to
>reform a system, but it is difficult to do so when we have a great tangle
>and a sense--and the reality--of injustice. For people who have had
>incorrect awards made and those who have had correct awards made but who
>have failed to pay, the issue of transitional arrangements will be critical
>in achieving public confidence in the new and reformed system that we
>should like to see evolve.

I have argued elsewhere in this NG that the current system and all its
effects (assessments, DEOs, appeals etc) should be abandoned immediately
pending arrival of the new system.

Meanwhile the pre-CSA system, could take account of CSA actions in a
particular case when reaching its replacement decision.


>
>----------
>DEALING WITH DELAYING/NON-PAYERS:
>
>Mr. Wicks: Given that the great majority of mothers and children on income
>support receive no child maintenance from their fathers, will the Secretary
>of State consider setting a new target to tackle the tough cases: the men
>who are determined never to pay a penny? In my advice surgery on Friday
>night, I met a mother who had supplied all the information that was needed
>to the CSA. Two years on, she is still not receiving a penny.
>
>Ms Harman: My hon. Friend is absolutely right: there is a huge sense of
>grievance among absent parents--usually fathers--when there is a delay in
>assessing maintenance and then, suddenly, they are hit with large arrears
>that might turn out to be incorrect; there is also a burning sense of
>grievance among parents with care--usually mothers--that although a correct
>award has been made, fathers sometimes avoid paying.

Payments should be enforced effectively. What is the point of having a
system which makes decisions which are then ignored.

The danger, of course, is that those decisons are often incorrect as in
the CSA. A rider to effective enforcement is the need for rapid and
accurate assessments. This should not be difficult to achieve -- we
used to expect it before the CSA (act and agency) came on the scene.

SUMARK97

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

We read "A chance to debate the future" dated 26 March 98 and felt that we
would like to contribute our circumstances for debate.

We are put into the category of "Set up". I use the term "we" because all of
our family are involved and will suffer for the next sixteen years because the
system tars us with one brush. This is the letter my partner sent, as the CSA
want to take everything and give it to this person that purposely and deviously
used Mark so that she could gain financially and get off benefits. We could
possibly prove in a court of Law that Mark was not the irresponsable individual
but we have been told that it would be extremely difficult considering three
years has passed. We accept that there is a child that needs care and the
Grandmother does most of it while she continues to do what she does best. Mark
was used 100% and now he continues to be abused by the CSA and classed as the
ABSENT parent. £350 a month is not what it takes to maintain one child. It
maintains her moreso, which is what she set out to do, knowing full well that
the law is in her favour. There was no love, no marriage and complete
selfishness on her part. No thought for the child except what she can get out
of Mark because she knew he had money. The letter below is a reply to our
first assessment which has excluded our two girls. Are they not entitled to
anything then? Is Mark not allowed to love them and care for them? We know
this child is here but she doesn't want Mark near him all she wants is his
money. We would help out and buy him things he needs rather than let her have
cash to spend on fags and alchohol, but the CSA won't except that. They think
the money will be used on the child but in this case they are wrong. How can
anyone justify that the CSA are right in our case?

csa,
I have received the breakdown of how my assessment was calculated and cannot
understand a few points.
1) my mortgage PEP policy payments have not been allowed in my protected income
although it states in your guidance book that all will be allowed if absent
parent has day to day care of children. I have three. I cannot see why this
has not been counted as it is a major contribution to my mortgage payments ie
£36.59 per week which I must pay that you do not consider at all. If this is
the case I will be forced to change my mortgage to a repayment type where you
will consider 99% because it is mostly interest payments. I certainly cannot
afford for you to ignore such a major sum as this. Please clarify this matter
soonest.

2) in my exempt income there has been no allowance for my 2 children that I
care for and pay for 100% of the time. I thought the CSA was set up to benefit
the children but it appears that the 2 children that I consider my own are not
considered to be important enough to be included in your assessment. It
appears that they must suffer and be forced to go without all but the basics ie
food and water because we will not be able to afford things like school trips,
outings, after school activities etc etc.


Why should I be expected to pay nearly £70 per week for one child when you
allow me only £50.70 for three children, somebody's maths is wrong here or am I
paying for the slut that conned me and lied to me just to get pregnant with my
child so that she could gain financially. Perhaps the 5 abortions she has had
paint a picture that she maliciously selected me as the donor of sperm because
she obviously has no morals or concerns about the children she kills after the
prospective fathers tell her where to go. My biggest mistake must have been
being a decent member of society offering to stand by her and she didn't want
to know, and obviously never did, even her sister has said so.
Unfortunately for me and my family that is, there is no way of proving any of
this and you probably don't believe me any way as I'm just another bad guy
absent parent and your sole interest is to keep the profits up for the csa.
Again if I'd gone to her house and attacked her or harassed her she would have
withdrawn her claim through the csa and I would have to pay nothing, it
obviously doesn't pay to be decent any more because you just seem to be an easy
target for any individual or organisation to abuse.

Please send me a copy of your charter so that I can make sure I know all my
rights.
I will be sending all correspondence to my MP and she has offered to take up
any grievances that I have. You did not say that anyone was doing a second
tier review, which I did ask for, in your last correspondence. Please
acknowledge.


Pete Dean

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Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

In article <199803282313...@ladder01.news.aol.com>, A45 flyer
<a45f...@aol.com> writes

>>>I think a figure of 7% of gross basic pay should be paid, regardless of how
>>>many children you have.
>
>7% of the average wage is less than the Income Support amount for one child
>under 11 (including Family Premium). The IS amount is about £29 from 6/4/98.
>That would need a net (basic!) wage of over £400 per week to meet at the
>percentage rate quoted. Gross would probably have to be around £560 pw to £575
>pw. Are you seriously saying that only APs who earn £28,000 pa or more are able
>to support their children? Where does that leave the rest of us who earn a lot
>less than that?

but enter into the equation the cost of recouping the bureaucrats wages,
and the figure is probably close to being right... and this system would
then tie into the govmt's desire to means test some bebefits...


>
>>>There must also be a fallback put in the system to protect people who cannot
>>>pay the 7% because of other committments, this is sadly lacking in the
>>>present system
>
>What commitments (other than standard living and housing costs) could possibly
>be more pressing than the need to support one's children? A hi-fi? A PC? A car?
>A holiday? Or something else? Name it. There is nothing.

how about another family?


>
>>>4. Be able to treat their children to other things
>
>There are hundreds of thousands of parents living with their children who can't
>afford as many "treats" as they would like to give their children. Other things
>being equal (and in terms of absent parent income they usually will be) why
>would an absent parent's children be more deserving of taxpayer's money than
>anyone else's children? Thay are no less deserving, but all children should be
>treated equally by the government.
>
>>>5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>>>some money for himself.
>
>Think about how many married men and women can rarely afford significant treats
>or luxuries for themselves because they put their children first and are
>prepared to sacrifice their own interests out of .... parental love. Why should
>they pay extra taxes in order to support other peoples' children so that those
>other parents can spend their money on "treats"? Why?

a valid point, but one that the existing system also ignores... like why
is my student loan ignored? this has the net result that I cannot do
things that I would like to do....


>
>Sorry to seem so aggressive, but that 7% suggestion is cloud-cuckoo thinking, a
>typical product of "working backwards from the desired result". If there is
>ever to be a flat-rate system it will have to be set at a figure of atleast
>three or four times that 7% rate. 7% is insupportable because it is aimed at
>the needs of the absent parent, not those of the children, and certainly not
>those of the absent parent's fellow citizens or THEIR children. I reckon the
>government have it right: all parents should support their own children and
>fellow citizens should only be asked to assist where a parent cannot support
>them. Not where the parent thinks the money is better spent elsewhere. Children
>come first - before holidays, before a TV, before a PC, before almost
>everything. Most of us don't even think twice about it.

sorry, but I disagrre - the CSA was set up to recover lost benefit...
and that is all - look at it like this, the CSA has already been
labelled as the Poll Tax in a pram - why do I pay out so much, when the
child never recievs it? Simple - I am paying for the Civil service...
Children do come first, but by putting them first, central govmt must
lose...
a simple figure keeps the bureacrocy down, and saves costs... and don't
forget that the 7% figure will not include anything from a court....
Pete
>
>Brian L.
>
>
>

--
Pete Dean
CSA REFORM....
If we do not speak out now,
we may be silenced in the future....

A45 flyer

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

>From: Charles Atkinson

>>First, what is the appropriate balance between the interests of the first
>>and second families?
>They should be treated equally.

That must mean that new step-children of an AP should naturally look to THEIR
absent parent for maintenance (as the AP's children are). The step-children are
not the AP's financial responsibility in the same way as his own children are,
though they must be catered for of course.

>>Secondly, what is the right balance between a clear, simple and
>>straightforward system and a complex system that deals very closely with
>>individual needs?
>The question needs questioning. Where discretion is built in, the
>system need not be complex to address unusual individual circumstances.

If significant discretion is built-in, it will be resorted to on almost every
occasion, whether the case justifies it or not (lay magistrates often don't
have a clue). There is very little discretion in other government/citizen
interface situations (income tax, benefits, national insurance deductions,
etc). There is no good reason why there should be very much of it in the
(highly analogous) child support system.

>>Thirdly, what is the right balance between the need of parents with care to
>>receive income for their children and the interests of taxpayers not to
>>have to support other people's children?
>Where the combined income of the parents is enough to support the
>children the taxpayer should not contribute.

Absolutely right. But that definition of "enough to support" must arrive via an
objective, rule-based system such as is used for taxation, other social
security systems, etc. It must not be defined by the parent concerned, who will
have a clear economic interest in making his case look stronger, whether by
fair means or foul.

>I have argued elsewhere in this NG that the current system and all its
>effects (assessments, DEOs, appeals etc) should be abandoned immediately
>pending arrival of the new system.
>

Oh wonderful! And all current APs would continue to support their children
would they? You mean like they did when the courts had the managing of the
system? Not!! That is a non-starter, and everyone knows it. Actually, it's an
interesting point - if the court system used to set "fair" maintenance and APs
were happy/happier to pay it, what is all the fuss about? Surely you are not so
shrewd and devious as to be suggesting this because you think the courts would
be a soft touch and set lower assessments? ;-)

>Payments should be enforced effectively. What is the point of having a
>system which makes decisions which are then ignored.

Agreed (which is incidentally the reason why the courts lost their role - they
couldn't enforce child maintenance to save their lives). As a matter of fact,
many argue for enhanced enforcement powers for the CSA - perhaps they could be
given Customs & Excise-type powers such as arrest and detention, levying of
financial penalties, quick appearances before the bench for warrants of search
and arrest and for immediate committal without involving the police. After all,
we can all agree that a proper system of parental responsibility is a lot more
crucial for society than a bit of extra duty on beer imports. Can't we?

Brain L

(sits back and waits for avalanche of e/mail and further postings)

A45 flyer

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Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

>Brain L
>
>(sits back and waits for avalanche of e/mail and further postings)
>

Ha Ha!

I meant BRIAN of course!

Brian L (that's a risk you run all your life with this name - it could have
been worse though, I've a friend with the surname Lunt!)

ian clark

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:35:12 GMT,
to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com wrote:

>On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:17:35 -0000, "Alan Ockerby"
><Alan.O...@btinternet.com> wrote:
>

[mega snip...my reply to the first bit in another part of this thread]

>|It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
>|meal ticket for the PWC for life.
>

>Look, I have said this before: If a family have children and do not

>live together the Absent Parent saves a LOT of money. He/she should


>not expect the state to cover the extra burden so that he can keep

>that saving. The PWC usually can not work (whether in the benefit trap


>or not), because child care costs are too expensive. And would you
>WANT her to? Is "saving money" more important than your children being
>brought up by their biological parent?
>

Your putting across a very powerful point but spoil it with your last
question.
I don't belive any decent parent, absent that is, is trying to save as
much money as they can to the detriment of their children.

If I understand you correctly, and taking it to its logical
conclusion, you would like to see no contributions from the tax payer
towards the costs of raising a child. In the circumstances of which we
in this newsgroup find ourselves, I take that to mean we, as absent
parents, should be contributing all that is necessary such that any
state handouts are not needed.

If this were true, why do we have Child Allowance? Why do we now have
proposals from the labour Government for the PWC ( usually described
as mothers which gets my frigging back up...no reponse required
please) to give financial assistance to child care costs so that they
can get back to work? There are probably other examples, but ,er I
need to move on :-)

I know you'll say that certain benefits exist such that if the AP
cannot afford to pay enough towards the child then at least the PWC
has something else to fall back on. I understand that. But there are
plenty of other bebfits the PWC gets that I don't get or contribute
towards and are paid by the state..free denstry, prescriptions..etc..
crikey, I hope I'm right here :-)

>|I know i won't have covered everything but it's perhaps a starting point
>|for discussion.
>
>Certainly is!

>I know this does not go down well with a lot of you - and I felt the
>same way when I was first assessed. The CSA is far from perfect, some
>of the calculations are unbelievable. However, I have gradually
>changed my mind about whether I should be reimbursing the DSS for my
>familys' upkeep. I think I should. I pay £52.50 pw (ignoring arrears)
>and my gross salary is £17,000 pa. I would have been paying more than
>that if they lived with me. It's as simple as that.
>

Clearly, if my ex and my child were living with me I would be paying
more. I would be paying for everything they do that incurrs a cost but
what we are talking about here is the cost of my daughter and I'm
taling about the basics and no "luxuries" as I have termed it
elsewhere.
The government have arrived at a figure they consider is an acceptable
level at which to support a child.
Various survey's have arrived at figures well in excess of £200,000
for the cost of raising a child until they are something like 10-12
years old. For those of you who will replay with the question
"Statistics?" I don't have any, I just read that somewhere :-)

What I'm saying is that the cost of raising a child can be calcuated
to be just about any figure you like but I just don't think that
£240/month is acceptable to me.

[snip]

>Regards.
>
>Howard
>

Howard,

I belive I understand the premise to your reply and I would generally
agree with your point that if I am a parent no longer living with my
ex and my child, I should accepy my responsibility and pay an
acceptable level of money towards the childs upkeep.

Nothing wrong with that in principle.

However, I am at the mercy of the law and my ex in both having to pay
a large amount of money and not...how shall I put it....getting my
money's worth. I don't get the opportunity of shared access to raise
my child and split the costs and I'll make the following claim:

I have absolutely no doubt that if I had shared access to my daughter
in no way will it cost me more money to raise her than I am currently
contributing.

There, I've said it, and I know people will probably reply with the
response "prove it" but that would take too long in a thread. In
general terms, I just know that I could share some of the costs of
rasing my child in way that benefits me also such that it would not
cost as much.

I know you have said in your thread that you believe your opinions
will not go down well but I think you have stated your views clearly
and are with merit. As are mine which is what makes the world go round
:-)

It is a difficult issue to deal with but, speaking just for myself, I
do feel I am paying too much and I know that if my daughter were
living with me then I could save money. I don't wan to be paying any
money towards my daughter, while she lives with her mum, and see mum
benefit. That is not meant to be harsh on my ex, I have no axe to
grind with her, but I want only to contribute my money to my daughter.

Cheers, Ian.

ian clark

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

On Sat, 28 Mar 1998 00:55:22 GMT,
to.reply.p...@end.of.message.com wrote:

>On Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:55:57 GMT, i...@tubeway-army.demon.co.uk (Ian
>Clark) wrote:
>

[snip]

>
>|>Why should you only be expected to pay towards the COST of the
>|>children?
>|What other COST did you have in mind?
>
>The cost of the state bringing up your family for you of course.

Hang on, what family? I'm talking about contributing to my daughter
and she alone, not my ex.
I'm confused here: Your question was "Why should you only be expected
to pay towards the cost of the children" which I took to mean you
meant that there were some other costs I should be aware of. Your
reply to my question mentions the cost to the state for raising my
family. I assume when you mention family you mean just my daughter. I
hope that is what you mean becuase in no way do I want to contribute
towards the living expense of my ex.
If you are referring to costs the state bears as a reslt of there
being a shortfall of money in what I contribute and what my ex needs
to raise my daughter then I put it to you that if I were able to have
shared access I believe I can save the state money by lowering the
costs they have derived I should pay. If my ex would let me have my
daughter on equal terms with her I would not require any moiney from
the state whilke I was in full employment.

Seperate sentence here for someone to requote and reply with the word
"Statistics?" :-)))

>|
>|Once you are separated from your partner you should only be
>|responsible for any children that you had together.
>

>I disagree - read my original reply. Perhaps this is where the crux of
>the argument really lies.
>

And I disagree with you even after reading your original post. Call me
selfish but my priority is to my daughter and no-one else.

[snip an agreement...crikey :-) ]

>
>|>4. Be able to treat their children to other things.
>hmmm...|
>|This is one aspect that upsets me most. I contribute £240/month[1] which
>|leaves me very little money to treat my daughter the way I would like[2].
>|Although she is only 25 months old and stays overnight with me each
>|Friday, I have to cut back on even the most basic "luxuries" such that
>|when she is with me I can take her out, buy her clothes that I keep at
>|my home for changing etc etc...It really is heart breaking for me not
>|being able to afford to do all the things I want with my daughter[3].
>|
>[1] How much do you earn and how much of that payment is arrears?

My earnings are good..for the moment anyway..and my £240 assessment
does not include arrears. I started paying right from the off.

>[2] Have you considered the tax-payer at all in this emotive wish?

Yes. I have considered I pay a lot towards my daughters basic needs
but I have nothing left with which to spend on her when she is with
me. Including, I might add, food, heating, clothing etc...

[snip]

>
>|What is more galling is hearing my ex tell me about the clothes SHE

>|has bought as though it were her money. Er, excuse me, but surely my
>|contribution had something to do with that!
>
>Of course it did. And you both know it.
>

I'll agree this was a personal thing and perhaps not relevant to the
issue. But thought we both know it, she doesn't acknowledge it amongst
her friends and family but thinking about it again, why should she?
Like I said, I let my guard slip and let a personal grievance come
into my writign and should not have done.

>|>5. Enable the AP to work knowing that at the end of the month he will have
>|>some money for himself.

>|Those were the days :)
>
>Before you were a family? Before you had children? or Before you split
>up,- if so, why?
>

Notice the smiley :-)

>|>It is a balance between the AP taking responsible action but not being a
>|>meal ticket for the PWC for life.
>|

>|That is how it can feel. I mean, what about when the time comes and my
>|ex sets up home with a new partner. I am not being critical of my ex

>|in anyway as she and I get on fine ( touch wood ) but it must be


>|tempting for her and the new partner to sit down and say to themselves

>|when they are organising a mortgage....."Right...so we get £240 from


>|Ian....that takes care of the mortgage and that leaves us plenty of
>|money for putting towards our holiday!"
>

>You KNOW this is not true!

This is fact! Not in my case true, but I have spoken to other's in my
position and they can concurr that it has happened to them. I seem toi
remember a poor article in The Guardian last year where a chap in a
similar position to me was quoted as saying that when he went to pick
up the kids the boyfriend of his ex said something to the effect that
his money was paying for they're nights out etc...

Listen, I like to think I'm a bright and intelligent man and if I can
think it, so can others.

PLease correcxt me if I am missing something, but suppose my ex
settles down with some chap who is earning good money, certainly
enough to support himself, my ex and my child and the usual family
expenses. If my child were his then the family budget would take that
into account. But then, my child is not his, and as a family they are
receiving an "extra" £240/month that I pay towards my daughter. Your
not telling me that they see that money coming in an think to
themselevs that they could use it for other purposes rather than where
it should go.

[snip]

>Thanks Ian. Some interesting thoughts here (all of the replies-not
>just yours). If I have missed out replying to other comments - please
>forgive me and remind me what they were - thanks.
>
>It is always interesting to challenge our own beliefs isn't it? I'm
>still waiting for an insanely angry retort though ;-)
>
>Suppose it will arrive soon.....
>

probably :-) But hey, it's fun to challenge the thinking process and
the greatest thing that could happen in a debate is for you to be
steadfast in your opinion about something, but have the humility to
hear another opinion that challenges yours and you can say to
yourself, "Hey, that guy has a point and he's right" and to then take
it on board.

Your nudging me in the right direction Howard :-)

Cheers, Ian.

ian clark

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

On 26 Mar 1998 22:54:56 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:

[snip vast quantity of stuff to which I have replied in other bits of
this thread]

I just wanted to make the following point and it would help others to
refer to replies given by Howard in other bits of this thread.

The premise of what I want to say is that currently I pay £240/month
towards my child. I have stated before in this thread that this is
unacceptable. Howard, whose postings show his Email address to be
anonymous if anyomne wishes to seek out his postings, challenges me
and my views on the basis that I am probaly expecting too much from
the state in supporting my child and that the amount I pay is fair
enough given that it is my child. A bit of a simplistic summoning up
but that is the general gist.

Howard states some clear and valid points that I both agree and
disagree with. But one point that I think should be considered is
this: Until there is a fairer system that lets me have joint custody
of my child then I should not be expected to pay full whack to the
cost of my child.

I have offerred to have joint custody so that the financial burden of
raising my daughter can be shared. This means that I can half my
assessment value and I know for certain that I could save money on the
other half when my daughter stay's with me. Quite frankly, at the risk
of talking about my beloved daughter in terms of a commodity, I don't
get value for money. If the state belives I should pay £240/month then
fair enough, let me have my daughter for half the time and I will
accept it more readily provided they assess me on £120 to my ex in
maintenance and I'll use the other £120 for when my daughter is with
me.

Whatever the amount I am assessed at, be it £50/month or £500/month, I
should be able to have my daughter for half the time so that I get my
value for money.

Agreed there is a lot of taking foir granted here in that hopefully my
little girl would want to stay with me half the time and there is the
issue of how far apart we live from each other, but if the
circumstances permit, then this is one way of lowering the cost to the
state and to me.

Phew..glad to get that off my chest :-)

How does that come across anyone?

Cheers, Ian.


SUMARK97

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

I agree with you Ian.

Alan Ockerby

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

I don't know why but you seem to be of the opinion that all AP's are trying
to pay as little as possible, which is far from the truth. You do not seem
to grasp the fact that all lot of AP's don't know how to survive with the
financial burdon put on them by the CSA.
I suppose you think the 47 who have committed suicide because they couldn't
see a way out were just whingers!!
Do you honestly think the government would be abolishing the CSA if they
thought that they were fair to the people who have their lives destroyed by
them.
There have been a few articles in the paper recently saying that they should
make irresponsible fathers like the plantpot who has 9 children to 9
different women. Is unemployed and getting a disability pension.
One answer to this is to have the bas---- vasectomy then he won't be able to
father any more, so as not to costhe state anymore money.
These are the ones that should be made to pay not decent hardworking fathers
caught up with the CSA.
I rest my case.

A45 flyer wrote in message
<199803291832...@ladder01.news.aol.com>...
>>From: Charles Atkinson

>
>>>First, what is the appropriate balance between the interests of the first
>>>and second families?
>>They should be treated equally.
>
>That must mean that new step-children of an AP should naturally look to
THEIR
>absent parent for maintenance (as the AP's children are). The step-children
are
>not the AP's financial responsibility in the same way as his own children
are,
>though they must be catered for of course.
>
>>>Secondly, what is the right balance between a clear, simple and
>>>straightforward system and a complex system that deals very closely with
>>>individual needs?
>>The question needs questioning. Where discretion is built in, the
>>system need not be complex to address unusual individual circumstances.
>
>If significant discretion is built-in, it will be resorted to on almost
every
>occasion, whether the case justifies it or not (lay magistrates often don't
>have a clue). There is very little discretion in other government/citizen
>interface situations (income tax, benefits, national insurance deductions,
>etc). There is no good reason why there should be very much of it in the
>(highly analogous) child support system.
>
>>>Thirdly, what is the right balance between the need of parents with care
to
>>>receive income for their children and the interests of taxpayers not to
>>>have to support other people's children?
>>Where the combined income of the parents is enough to support the
>>children the taxpayer should not contribute.
>
>Absolutely right. But that definition of "enough to support" must arrive
via an
>objective, rule-based system such as is used for taxation, other social
>security systems, etc. It must not be defined by the parent concerned, who
will
>have a clear economic interest in making his case look stronger, whether by
>fair means or foul.
>
>>I have argued elsewhere in this NG that the current system and all its
>>effects (assessments, DEOs, appeals etc) should be abandoned immediately
>>pending arrival of the new system.
>>
>
>Oh wonderful! And all current APs would continue to support their children
>would they? You mean like they did when the courts had the managing of the
>system? Not!! That is a non-starter, and everyone knows it. Actually, it's
an
>interesting point - if the court system used to set "fair" maintenance and
APs
>were happy/happier to pay it, what is all the fuss about? Surely you are
not so
>shrewd and devious as to be suggesting this because you think the courts
would
>be a soft touch and set lower assessments? ;-)
>
>>Payments should be enforced effectively. What is the point of having a
>>system which makes decisions which are then ignored.
>
>Agreed (which is incidentally the reason why the courts lost their role -
they
>couldn't enforce child maintenance to save their lives). As a matter of
fact,
>many argue for enhanced enforcement powers for the CSA - perhaps they could
be
>given Customs & Excise-type powers such as arrest and detention, levying of
>financial penalties, quick appearances before the bench for warrants of
search
>and arrest and for immediate committal without involving the police. After
all,
>we can all agree that a proper system of parental responsibility is a lot
more
>crucial for society than a bit of extra duty on beer imports. Can't we?
>

Alan Ockerby

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

Well said Ian,
Your views seem to be on a par with me.

Regards
Alan
ian clark wrote in message <351e8a5...@news.demon.co.uk>...

SUMARK97

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

Ian,
If the CSA said that tommorrow we could have equal access rights to the child
in question we would do it because only then would we be seen as human beings.
At the moment we are branded Absent parents, no bodies, uncaring, irresponsable
and useless. We will not let the CSA walk all over us and think that the only
solution is to take vast amounts of money off us like we are the bad guys. Us
so called branded Absent Parents (who want a say in our children's lives don't
get encluded in anything). Apparently we just have to cough up and shut up.
We don't get any help to have contact with these kids. All the CSA think they
need is Money and that will solve the problem. The PWC wants money, not help
from the Father. The child would rather have the chance to have contact with
the Father than a new pair of Nike trainers.

If the PWC was asked wether she should let the Father have contact or the
Father should pay money instead, she wouldn't think twice about what the child
would want most. She would think about herself first . Will it affect the way
her life will be now. What if she finds a new man, would she want the ex in
the way? etc.
Could this be the solution as to why so many PWC choose not to get the CSA
involved?
Most PWC don't want to get into any Legal positions but would willingly take
backhanders from the Father. That way threats can be useful if the Father
doesn't cough up. Why? because she knows damn well she won't get any money
through the CSA, but they will cripple his Income if she decides to tell( A
great Blackmail situation wouldn't you say). I wonder how much of that money
really goes on the kid's?
At the moment the Man loses out on everything and of course it's all his
fault that he can't bear a child, or the relationship ends, or he doesn't earn
enough, or he's never at home because he's out earning money and that's why the
relationship broke down, or the plumber turned up and gave her a good time, or
etc. etc. ( By the way, I do know that there are some bad men, but I doubt they
would be sat here now bothering to do anything about their kid's lives anyway,
or the CSA have'nt bothered to collar them incase they beat up theirex
partners) Commitment is a two way thing but if the man is getting walked all
over like he is now, where will it end. Yes, they should pay something for the
kid's they can't spend time with because the relationship has ended, but they
should be entitled to find happiness again, and not have to be labeled as
"second hand goods", or, "Wipe your feet here".
They should have time with their kid's on a regular basis, without having to
fight for that right, just because the PWC says it's inconvenient. Paying
money isn't the solution. Living, breathing and laughing and crying, teaching
and being part of that young life is. The money should not be the priority, it
should be part of the equation,yes, but not the solution.

Alan Ockerby

unread,
Mar 29, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/29/98
to

And I agree with you agreeing that I agree that you agree....
Oh, i'm off to bed i've had enough agreeing for one night.

Keep up the fight

Alan
SUMARK97 wrote in message
<199803292141...@ladder01.news.aol.com>...
>I agree with you Ian.

A45 flyer

unread,
Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
to

>I don't know why but you seem to be of the opinion that all AP's are trying
>to pay as little as possible

I am well able to accept that many APs are not trying to get out of paying. But
the thrust from some APs, on this NG and elsewhere, is not that way, is it?
Almost all postings are either complaints at having to pay anything at all, or
complaints at having to pay more than a token amount. But you are right, some
seem to have understood that the amounts are not at all unreasonable and
represent even less than a child would cost at home. My children cost me more
than any assessment I've ever heard of.

>You do not seem
>to grasp the fact that all lot of AP's don't know how to survive with the
>financial burdon put on them by the CSA.

Au contraire. Some people don't seem to grasp that it is not up to others to
support their children. I can well appreciate the rigours of economic hardship;
I have enough of it myself, and I'm not an absent parent. I do not argue that
my fellow citizens should bail me out of it though. It isn't their
responsibility. The contrary case is quite unarguable; it amounts to a belief
that a particular individual should have some of their personal
responsibilities lifted from them and shouldered by others (who still have
their own burdens of course).

>Do you honestly think the government would be abolishing the CSA if they
>thought that they were fair

The Government has given no indication of an intention to abolish the CSA.
Quite the opposite. They intend to amend the legislation (how we don't yet
know), but the legislation will still need to be administered - something that
the government is well aware of. Amended legislation is often very demanding in
terms of staff time, training, learning curve, etc.

>the plantpot who has 9 children to 9
>different women

>These are the ones that should be made to pay not decent hardworking fathers
>caught up with the CSA.

All fathers (all parents) should maintain their children. I'm sure we can all
agree on that. Some people are socially inadequate. We all know that. A social
policy can't be framed on the basis that because some are inadequate then
everyone should be treated as inadequate, can it? Those of us who are not
socially inadequate should set an example. Shouldn't we?

Karen Randall

unread,
Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
to


Well done Alan for taking the first leap into this debate.

I have masses of comments on the extracts from the Welfare Reform Green
paper that John Ward posted. My initial reaction was that although Harriet
Harman et al have billed this as 'fundamental reform' etc, I can actually
see nothing which would support this. All of the extracts posted have
seemed more concerned with 'tweaking' the more outrageously dodgy bits of
the CSA, not with a root and branch reform. This is quite depressing as I
believe a fundamental review of the PRINCIPLES supporting the CSA is needed
to make any meaningful change.

On the issue of first and second families - I agree with the view on the NG
(can't remember who posted it) that there should be a equity of value
placed on the CHILDREN - whether they are so called first or second family.
This is CHILD support after all. This would need to include step children
too - at the moment it does not.

I do not agree with Alan (and others) proposal of a flat rate of gross
salary. This will create real harship for those AP's who have 'second'
families to support, whilst being probably OK for those APs who don't have
such committments. Your figure of 7% horrified me when I worked out what
this would mean to my family! It means first families get 'first grab' at
APs income, with second families and step children having to live on what's
left. That is not child support as it will deprive any subsequent children
of the family,as well as step-children.

I feel it is fairer to determine the actual cost of raising a child and
assume that cost should be divided between both parents according to their
ability to pay. their ability to pay should take into account the
committments of each HOUSEHOLD (including its children, partners income
etc) for BOTH parents and partners. Benefits should make up the shortfall
where neither parent is working.

I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in proportion to
number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get rid
of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way, APs
aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
child is actually with them.

In our case the joint income of the pwc's houshold is GREATER than that of
me and my husband. We have an extra child to support and 140 nights
contact. We still pay the pwc even though we earn less (jointly by
household) and have one more child! To my mind that it treating the 2
children of our family in an extremely unequal way. I can't find a
justifying principle for that.

OK that's all for now. Regards,
Karen

Alan Ockerby

unread,
Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
to

Its true that no 2 cases are the same, I have had many replies that state
that if a % was taken into consideration that 7% is too low, whereas in your
situation this is too high. You could get all your costs for housing,
council tax,food, clothing etc. into account but where do you draw the line.
My situation is that i can afford the 7% (even though I already 7% gross
salary for existing maint to my other 2 sons, 7% on a loan), that means 21%
of gross salary is gone before I start. I then have £40 per month on travel
costs to see my sons who live 100 miles away. Have been doing this for 10
years (at least my ex has brought them down approx half a dozen times, so
i'm lucky). HA HA
As the debate gets further under way I am getting undecided on the way
forward as far as payment's are concerned. And I must admit the figure I put
forward is perhaps selfish in the fact that it would give me my life back
and is a figure i can personally afford
There are so many other kinds of things to take into consideration such as
access to the children, on this particular aspect I have no problems, where
as some recent News letters, have to cough up and are purely a meal ticket
for the PWC.
My biggest fear is that the government will cock up the green paper and
concentrate on getting even more money from AP.
It really is a bag of worms.
Perhaps if everybody was honest the CSA could ask all the AP's how much they
could afford per month they would get a sensible answer from everyone.
(I jest really)

Take care
Alan
Karen Randall wrote in message <01bd5bd5$48209b20$64c481c1@hiv3>...

A45 flyer

unread,
Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
to

>From: "Karen Randall"

>Your figure of 7% horrified me when I worked out what
>this would mean to my family!

>I feel it is fairer to determine the actual cost of raising a child

That calculation has been done several times by economists and financial
advisors (no, I can't remember the last time). It always comes to a massive
figure, even for one child - probably a minimum of £100,000 to the age of 18.

The figures take into account:

- the actual cost of food, clothing, furniture, bedding, etc bought for the
child,

- presents, treats and associated expenditure (inc school trips),

- costs associated with education (books, extra tuition, even for a musical
instrument),

- (biggest element) the loss of opportunity to earn income for one of the
parents.

That last one is very real, but many forget to include it. Just remember how
your family's income went plummeting down when one of you had to leave work?
Remember how hard it was to make ends meet until he/she could find adequate
child-care and get back into some sort of (part-time?) work? The cost of
raising a child is probably not recoverable from the AP in most cases. It's
that huge.

Brian L

John Ward

unread,
Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
to

Karen Randall <karen.randal...@dial.pipex.com> wrote in article
<01bd5bd5$48209b20$64c481c1@hiv3>...
(SNIP)

> I have masses of comments on the extracts from the Welfare Reform Green
> paper that John Ward posted. My initial reaction was that although
Harriet
> Harman et al have billed this as 'fundamental reform' etc, I can actually
> see nothing which would support this. All of the extracts posted have
> seemed more concerned with 'tweaking' the more outrageously dodgy bits of
> the CSA, not with a root and branch reform. This is quite depressing as
I
> believe a fundamental review of the PRINCIPLES supporting the CSA is
needed
> to make any meaningful change.
>
> On the issue of first and second families - I agree with the view on the
NG
> (can't remember who posted it) that there should be a equity of value
> placed on the CHILDREN - whether they are so called first or second
family.
> This is CHILD support after all. This would need to include step
children
> too - at the moment it does not.

You may be refering to a post of mine: "Access and Influence (the unasked
question) - DEBATE".

(SNIP)
----------


> I feel it is fairer to determine the actual cost of raising a child and
> assume that cost should be divided between both parents according to
their
> ability to pay. their ability to pay should take into account the
> committments of each HOUSEHOLD (including its children, partners income
> etc) for BOTH parents and partners. Benefits should make up the
shortfall
> where neither parent is working.

(You are on the side of targeted rather than simple assessment).

(For what I am about to say, I would like the expert analysis of Bob Pape
or Charles Atkinson, etc. I am not an expert on the CSA).

Let's replace some of your words without (I hope) changing your meaning.

* "the actual cost of raising a child" - call this the "Maintenance
Requirement" (and use the Income Support formula to determine what the cost
actually is).

* "the committments of each HOUSEHOLD" - call this the "Protected Amount"
(and let's use the Income Support formula to determine what a household
needs to live on).

* "their ability to pay" - this starts with the Net Income, but obviously
the "Protected Amount" has to be subtracted because that is vital to the
household and is not available for maintenance for the children in the
other household.

* "divided between both parents" - after applying the above formula, from
each parent take 50p for each pound of the "Maintenance Requirement", so
that as long as they can both afford it they are paying equally. (When
money runs out in one household, the other has to pay as long as it has the
"ability to pay").

* "Benefits should make up the shortfall where neither parent is working" -
OK, none of us want anyone to starve.

To ensure that households are not screwed into the ground, add some caps to
the above formula - for example, no more than 30% (or 40% including
arrears) of income to be paid.

I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current CSA assessment formula.
Bob, Charles - what do you say?

This is not a trick. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. I believe
that the logic you applied to arrive at your paragraph earlier is PRECISELY
the logic that was used to arrive at the current CSA formula. They were not
evil or misguided people, they were trying to find a fair formula which
took into account the needs of the child and the commitments of both
households and their ability to pay. I'm not saying the formula is right,
simply that their formula is your formula.

If I have my facts wrong, Bob or Charles or someone else will tell us.

Perhaps you should tell us what you think is the significant difference
between what you suggest and what the CSA currently do (apart from get
their sums wrong and take too long to do them).

----------


> I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in proportion
to
> number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get rid
> of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way, APs
> aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
> child is actually with them.

One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
least use tapers, not steps.

Every step defines a place where someone can play the system, or blackmail
another person, or where a "trap" is created. ("Pay me this back-hander or
I won't let you have the extra day to get from 103 days to 104 days" ...
You can write the script).

Gordon Brown understands such traps. So does Frank Field. GB used the last
budget to eliminate certain NI traps. CSA reform needs to eliminate further
steps/traps in order to reduce squabbles for evermore - it should be a test
of the revision that there are NO such steps.


John Ward
(I can't reply directly to your post because your post has disappeared from
my ISP).


Ian Clark

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

On 30 Mar 1998 21:16:02 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:

[huge snip....Edward Scissorhands got nothing on me :-) ]

>One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
>etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
>least use tapers, not steps.
>
>Every step defines a place where someone can play the system, or blackmail
>another person, or where a "trap" is created. ("Pay me this back-hander or
>I won't let you have the extra day to get from 103 days to 104 days" ...
>You can write the script).
>

I'm with you all the way here John.

It does not take a vast leap in mathematical genius to put in place a
formula that is geared more towards a proportional calculation. I
strongly believe that every night and day that my daughter stays with
me should be considered. I should not have to reach a 104 minimum for
this to be taken into consideration.

It's the same with travel to work milage. There are probably others
but I can't think of them right now.

As far as I am concerned, if I ave to watch the pennies carefully now
to meet the assessment, then any penny I can save in a move away from
the "step" setup is more than welcome.

C.W.

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Ian Clark wrote:
>
> On 30 Mar 1998 21:16:02 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:
>
> [huge snip....Edward Scissorhands got nothing on me :-) ]
>
> snipped<

>
> I'm with you all the way here John.
>
> It does not take a vast leap in mathematical genius to put in place a
> formula that is geared more towards a proportional calculation. I
> strongly believe that every night and day that my daughter stays with
> me should be considered. I should not have to reach a 104 minimum for
> this to be taken into consideration.
>
> It's the same with travel to work milage. There are probably others
> but I can't think of them right now.
>

Couldn't agree with you more Ian. Have you shared these
thoughts with anyone that matters ? Now is the time to do
it.

The only really acceptable face of the CSA would be if it
was married (no pun intended, I think ?) with Family Law
reform so that the onus was on both parents to provide
financial, emotional and physical support i.e. a presumption
of Shared Parenting.

Surely if there was a presumption of Shared Parenting it
would almost eliminate the present situation where one
parent can use the CSA and/or contact as a weapon against
the other parent.

Have you been to the SPIG site below;

http://home.clara.net/spig/

Do you agree with the sentiments, let me know what you
think.

--
Cheers, Conrad.

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

In article <351e91da...@news.demon.co.uk>, ian clark <ian@tubeway-
army.demon.co.uk> writes

>If you are referring to costs the state bears as a reslt of there
>being a shortfall of money in what I contribute and what my ex needs
>to raise my daughter then I put it to you that if I were able to have
>shared access I believe I can save the state money by lowering the
>costs they have derived I should pay. If my ex would let me have my
>daughter on equal terms with her I would not require any moiney from
>the state whilke I was in full employment.

Who would be caring for your daughter while you have her in your care
but are pursuing your full-time employment? What would it cost you if
your 3.5 days a week where she was with you happened to coincide with
your normal working days? Or 5 days out of seven every other week? Would
it cost anything approaching what you already pay in CS (I don't know
how old your daughter is, but presumably under about 11 so that it's
hard for mum to work full-time while caring for her with complications
like before and after school and school holidays to find paid carers
for).

If you have a pre-school child living with you full-time, and you are
away from home about 50 hrs a week for work (inc commuting and lunches),
then it will cost you somewhere around £100 upwards per week *just* for
childcare with a registered childminder while you work. If you have a
5-11 yr old it will cost you an average of about £50 per week upwards
(taking school hours and school holidays into account). That's before
any of the child's food, clothing etc. And remember those costs will
have to come out of your net income *after* tax.

I think you'd be hard pressed to be much (if any) better off caring for
one child as a lone parent than paying CS of, what was it, £60 per week
to your ex to cover your share of all the child's costs? Or perhaps you
have a relative/friend/partner who is free to be a carer for your child
while you work full time, week in, week out, and not charge you for
it...?

Ok, you can add to your earnings CS from your ex (who will then be free
to work full time and contribute financially at their earning level...)

IOW, it's not as simple as you make it sound above...

And believe me - even if you work from home you *still* (usually -
depends on type of work) can't both adequately earn and adequately care
for a young child at the same time. You probably won't be able to work
full time, care for a child and still have time for adequate rest for
yourself. BTDTGTT! (Still there).

--
Pat Winstanley
http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

Ian Clark

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:17:31 +0100, "C.W." <c.w...@ftel.co.uk> wrote:

>Ian Clark wrote:
>>
>> On 30 Mar 1998 21:16:02 GMT, "John Ward" <john...@iclweb.com> wrote:
>>
>> [huge snip....Edward Scissorhands got nothing on me :-) ]
>>
>> snipped<
>>
>> I'm with you all the way here John.
>>
>> It does not take a vast leap in mathematical genius to put in place a
>> formula that is geared more towards a proportional calculation. I
>> strongly believe that every night and day that my daughter stays with
>> me should be considered. I should not have to reach a 104 minimum for
>> this to be taken into consideration.
>>
>> It's the same with travel to work milage. There are probably others
>> but I can't think of them right now.
>>
>
>Couldn't agree with you more Ian. Have you shared these
>thoughts with anyone that matters ? Now is the time to do
>it.
>

The only place I've discussed such issues is here in the newsgroup. I
haven't really thought about contacting my MP or anyone else that
matters. I was not sure I had the intellectual clout to get my points
of view across clearly enough to be understood without sounding like a
bitter and twisted absent parent. Not that I am suggesting anyone who
contributes here is but rather I wouldn't like anyone to whom I
conferred my opinions upon that I was.

>The only really acceptable face of the CSA would be if it
>was married (no pun intended, I think ?) with Family Law
>reform so that the onus was on both parents to provide
>financial, emotional and physical support i.e. a presumption
>of Shared Parenting.
>

I strongly believe that a closer laison between the departments that
assess the financial contribution and the access rights of fathers is
the best way to ensure a fairer system is devised.
I'm not saying it would be easy and I haven't put forward by
"parlimentary bill", if you like, as to how it should be done but I
think it makes sense to bring the two issues together.
Isn't that what the old court system did? ie. decide maintenance
levels and access together.

Thank you for your reply Conrad.

Ian Clark

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

On Tue, 31 Mar 1998 13:10:36 +0100, Pat Winstanley
<pee...@pierless.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <351e91da...@news.demon.co.uk>, ian clark <ian@tubeway-
>army.demon.co.uk> writes

[snip]


>> I put it to you that if I were able to have
>>shared access I believe I can save the state money by lowering the
>>costs they have derived I should pay. If my ex would let me have my
>>daughter on equal terms with her I would not require any moiney from
>>the state whilke I was in full employment.
>

>Who would be caring for your daughter while you have her in your care
>but are pursuing your full-time employment? What would it cost you if
>your 3.5 days a week where she was with you happened to coincide with
>your normal working days? Or 5 days out of seven every other week?

Hang on...why are you bothering to ask what it would cost if I had
sgared access? The point I was making is that I would not require any
money from the state if I had shared access. What costs there are in
looking after my daughter are down to me and not the state.

Also, if shared access were in place, and my assessment proportioned
accordingly, then the savings I make on the reduced assessment will go
towards and fees for child minding.

>Would
>it cost anything approaching what you already pay in CS (I don't know
>how old your daughter is, but presumably under about 11 so that it's
>hard for mum to work full-time while caring for her with complications
>like before and after school and school holidays to find paid carers
>for).
>

If might well approach what I pay in the CSA assessment but at least I
have more access for my money. As I have said elsewhere in this
newsgroup, at the risk of referring my little girl as a commodity, I
want value for money. I absolutely love my daughter to bits and I pay
good money for her upkeep. I have been suggesting a way of lowering
the cost to the state and allow me better access. If it costs me more
to achieve this then I am prepared for that.

[snip lots of stuff about costs that have been answered with the reply
above]


Thanks for the reply Pat.

Mike Farr

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

John Ward wrote in message <01bd5c20$9c789920
snip


>One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
>etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
>least use tapers, not steps.
>
>Every step defines a place where someone can play the system, or blackmail
>another person, or where a "trap" is created. ("Pay me this back-hander or
>I won't let you have the extra day to get from 103 days to 104 days" ...
>You can write the script).
>

snip


>
>John Ward
>(I can't reply directly to your post because your post has disappeared from
>my ISP).
>

But this is nowhere near as bad as the step at 182 nights to 183 nights.

At 182 nights, you are paying at 50% rate to the other parent, but at 183
nights, you are being paid at 50% rate BY the other parent.

Split it 50/50 in a leap year, ie 183 nights each, and the lucky sod that
gets the Child Benefit hits the jackpot, getting the maintenance as well!

What a Łucking good pay day if the maintenance is Ł101 per week as I was
threatened with - Ł5000+ a year - yes please, I'll have some of that!

Oh, and that was after I did 197 nights in the year. But of course, I'm
just an ABSENT FATHER, so it doesn't count, compared to the CARING mother
who could scarcely achieve 150 nights care.

The CSA - what a load of Łucked up morons!

Mike Farr
the infamous Mr "F"

Charles Atkinson

unread,
Apr 9, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/9/98
to

In article <01bd5c20$9c789920$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
<john...@iclweb.com> writes

John,

Comment as requested and sorry for the delay.

>(For what I am about to say, I would like the expert analysis of Bob Pape
>or Charles Atkinson, etc. I am not an expert on the CSA).
>
>Let's replace some of your words without (I hope) changing your meaning.
>
>* "the actual cost of raising a child" - call this the "Maintenance
>Requirement" (and use the Income Support formula to determine what the cost
>actually is).
>
>* "the committments of each HOUSEHOLD" - call this the "Protected Amount"
>(and let's use the Income Support formula to determine what a household
>needs to live on).
>
>* "their ability to pay" - this starts with the Net Income, but obviously
>the "Protected Amount" has to be subtracted because that is vital to the
>household and is not available for maintenance for the children in the
>other household.

But some genuine commitments are not taken into account when calculating
net income such as buildings and contents insurance, debts (including
student loans), school fees, travel costs less than 150 miles, house
maintenenance costs, Council Tax and Water charges over the provision in
the IS allowance, depreciation in self-employed businesses


>
>* "divided between both parents" - after applying the above formula, from
>each parent take 50p for each pound of the "Maintenance Requirement", so
>that as long as they can both afford it they are paying equally. (When
>money runs out in one household, the other has to pay as long as it has the
>"ability to pay").
>
>* "Benefits should make up the shortfall where neither parent is working" -
>OK, none of us want anyone to starve.
>
>To ensure that households are not screwed into the ground, add some caps to
>the above formula - for example, no more than 30% (or 40% including
>arrears) of income to be paid.
>
>I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current CSA assessment formula.
>Bob, Charles - what do you say?

In priciple, if not in detail.

The legislation partly fell down because it came from the benefits
stable rather than the taxation stable. And the implementation fell
down partly because of bad management and partly because it was just too
complicated.

It could be adjusted to make it fairer but that would make it even more
complicated. Any purely rule based system will be unfair unless it has
an infinite number of rules. End result -- too expensive to run.

John Ward

unread,
Apr 11, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/11/98
to

Charles Atkinson <cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk> wrote in article
<BLVBpNAQ...@catkins.demon.co.uk>...

> In article <01bd5c20$9c789920$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
> <john...@iclweb.com> writes
> John,
> Comment as requested and sorry for the delay.
(SNIP)

> >I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current CSA assessment formula.
> >Bob, Charles - what do you say?
>
> In priciple, if not in detail.
> The legislation partly fell down because it came from the benefits
> stable rather than the taxation stable. And the implementation fell
> down partly because of bad management and partly because it was just too
> complicated.

OK, the formula is wrong in several details. There are a lot of complaints that
it ignores current debts, etc.

I think my conclusion is that Karen's own formula would not itself need a
fundamental "root and branch" change to make it right. It could be done with
the sort of changes you describe.

> It could be adjusted to make it fairer but that would make it even more
> complicated. Any purely rule based system will be unfair unless it has
> an infinite number of rules. End result -- too expensive to run.

This sounds like what Karen had in mind, possibly without knowing it. She was
articulating the problem as a formula problem. But you are saying it is a
different level of problem.

So are you in favour of the sort of scheme Richard Ross-Langley is proposing
(in the "CSA reform - suggestions for a scheme" thread)?

This has a vastly simpler formula. I am worried by simpler formulae, because
they tend to ignore hardship details, while allowing loopholes which the better
off can exploit. I am treating his proposals positively because they contain a
number of the features that posters want, such as easier administration, a
sensible relationship between access and maintenance, etc. But I still have a
concern that there is a sting in the tail.

What, if anything, is the attraction of his scheme compared with a complex
scheme which ATTEMPTS to cater for individual circumstances?

> Charles Atkinson cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk +44 (0)1453 834134
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------


John Ward


Charles Atkinson

unread,
Apr 12, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/12/98
to

In article <01bd6592$737f6000$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
<john...@iclweb.com> writes

>So are you in favour of the sort of scheme Richard Ross-Langley is proposing
>(in the "CSA reform - suggestions for a scheme" thread)?
The conceptual and administrative simplicity is attractive.

Collection by the Inland Revenue has the advantage that you only have
one set of income calculations. The downside is that there are no
expenditure calculations -- housing costs, pension costs, debt
servicing, travel to work.

If the child maintenance requirements were set realistically high then
ignoring a maintainer's essential expendituree will result in some real
hardship. There would need to be an additional mechanism to reduce
payments in these cases.

>
>This has a vastly simpler formula. I am worried by simpler formulae, because
>they tend to ignore hardship details, while allowing loopholes which the better
>off can exploit. I am treating his proposals positively because they contain a
>number of the features that posters want, such as easier administration, a
>sensible relationship between access and maintenance, etc. But I still have a
>concern that there is a sting in the tail.
>
>What, if anything, is the attraction of his scheme compared with a complex
>scheme which ATTEMPTS to cater for individual circumstances?

As above.

I favour a few simple rules-for-guidance with well trained people to
arbitrate and decide using as nuch discretion as they need. Essentially
the old courts concept. Perhaps this could be the mechanism to bolt
onto Richard's idea to avoid hardship when essential expenditure is
high.

--

Bob Pape

unread,
Apr 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/15/98
to

John Ward wrote:
>
> Charles Atkinson <cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk> wrote in article
> <BLVBpNAQ...@catkins.demon.co.uk>...
> > In article <01bd5c20$9c789920$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
> > <john...@iclweb.com> writes

> > John,
> > Comment as requested and sorry for the delay.
> (SNIP)
> > >I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current CSA assessment formula.
> > >Bob, Charles - what do you say?
> >
> So are you in favour of the sort of scheme Richard Ross-Langley is proposing
> (in the "CSA reform - suggestions for a scheme" thread)?
>
> This has a vastly simpler formula. I am worried by simpler formulae, because
> they tend to ignore hardship details, while allowing loopholes which the better
> off can exploit. I am treating his proposals positively because they contain a
> number of the features that posters want, such as easier administration, a
> sensible relationship between access and maintenance, etc. But I still have a
> concern that there is a sting in the tail.
>
> What, if anything, is the attraction of his scheme compared with a complex
> scheme which ATTEMPTS to cater for individual circumstances?
>
> > Charles Atkinson cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk +44 (0)1453 834134
> > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> John Ward
Comments were requested and I apologise for even more delay than
Charles.

I missed the posting to which it referred and its now been so heavily
snipped as to be unreadable.

Any chance of a reposting or am I too far behind in this debate?

Bob Pape

John Ward

unread,
Apr 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/15/98
to

What follows is the original post.

The context is that Karen wanted a "fundamental reform" (as do many) and quoted
a rough formula. Looking at this, it appeared to me (not an expert) to be
rather like the current CSA formula. Charles has pointed out the differences. I
feel that it is not the formula that caused Karen to want to a fundamental
reform - the current formula could be tweaked to be more like her's - it is all
the other things.

----------

> etc) for BOTH parents and partners. Benefits should make up the
shortfall


> where neither parent is working.

(You are on the side of targeted rather than simple assessment).

(For what I am about to say, I would like the expert analysis of Bob Pape


or Charles Atkinson, etc. I am not an expert on the CSA).

Let's replace some of your words without (I hope) changing your meaning.

* "the actual cost of raising a child" - call this the "Maintenance
Requirement" (and use the Income Support formula to determine what the cost
actually is).

* "the committments of each HOUSEHOLD" - call this the "Protected Amount"
(and let's use the Income Support formula to determine what a household
needs to live on).

* "their ability to pay" - this starts with the Net Income, but obviously
the "Protected Amount" has to be subtracted because that is vital to the
household and is not available for maintenance for the children in the
other household.

* "divided between both parents" - after applying the above formula, from


each parent take 50p for each pound of the "Maintenance Requirement", so
that as long as they can both afford it they are paying equally. (When
money runs out in one household, the other has to pay as long as it has the
"ability to pay").

* "Benefits should make up the shortfall where neither parent is working" -
OK, none of us want anyone to starve.

To ensure that households are not screwed into the ground, add some caps to
the above formula - for example, no more than 30% (or 40% including
arrears) of income to be paid.

I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current CSA assessment formula.


Bob, Charles - what do you say?

This is not a trick. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. I believe


that the logic you applied to arrive at your paragraph earlier is PRECISELY
the logic that was used to arrive at the current CSA formula. They were not
evil or misguided people, they were trying to find a fair formula which
took into account the needs of the child and the commitments of both
households and their ability to pay. I'm not saying the formula is right,
simply that their formula is your formula.

If I have my facts wrong, Bob or Charles or someone else will tell us.

Perhaps you should tell us what you think is the significant difference
between what you suggest and what the CSA currently do (apart from get
their sums wrong and take too long to do them).

----------
> I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in proportion
to
> number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get rid
> of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way, APs
> aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
> child is actually with them.

One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,


etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
least use tapers, not steps.

Every step defines a place where someone can play the system, or blackmail
another person, or where a "trap" is created. ("Pay me this back-hander or
I won't let you have the extra day to get from 103 days to 104 days" ...
You can write the script).

Gordon Brown understands such traps. So does Frank Field. GB used the last


budget to eliminate certain NI traps. CSA reform needs to eliminate further
steps/traps in order to reduce squabbles for evermore - it should be a test
of the revision that there are NO such steps.

Richard Ross-Langley

unread,
Apr 15, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/15/98
to

In <353512...@virgin.net> bob....@virgin.net "Bob Pape":
> John Ward wrote:
>> Charles Atkinson <cha...@catkins.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>>> <john...@iclweb.com> writes:
>>> Comment as requested and sorry for the delay.
>>>> I believe you have re-invented EXACTLY the current
>>>> CSA assessment formula. Bob, Charles - what do you say?
>> So are you in favour of the sort of scheme Richard Ross-Langley is
>> proposing (in the "CSA reform - suggestions for a scheme" thread)?
>> This has a vastly simpler formula. I am worried by simpler
>> formulae, because they tend to ignore hardship details, while
>> allowing loopholes which the better off can exploit.
>> ..But I still have a concern that there is a sting in the tail.

> Comments were requested and I apologise for even more delay than
> Charles. I missed the posting to which it referred and its now
> been so heavily snipped as to be unreadable.
> Any chance of a reposting or am I too far behind in this debate?

This was my offering to the debate...
----------------------------------------------------------
[re: John Ward's proposal for apportioning maintenance]
Here's a similar CSA replacement scheme, perhaps easier to implement:

(1) Tax *both* parents of a dependent child at a flat rate.
(2) Add the combined amount to child benefit.
(3) Where the care of the child is shared, share the child benefit.
(4) In a dispute, determine the share as the ratio of defined
residence to defined contact - so shared residence would be 50:50.

The principle is fair and easy to understand:
Both parents contribute and the money follows the child.

The implementation is equally simple; it also encourages both
parents to take a continuing interest in their own children.
----------------------------------------------------------

--
Richard Ross-Langley <r...@pobox.com> +44 1727 852 801


Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/16/98
to

In article <01bd68ad$4e019780$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
<john...@iclweb.com> writes

>> I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in proportion
>to
>> number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get rid
>> of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way, APs
>> aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
>> child is actually with them.
>
>One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
>etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
>least use tapers, not steps.

How about simply requiring both parents (where there is a dispute) to
keep a diary/timesheet of days/nights etc spent with each over the
course of the year, and reassess based on that for the following year on
a proportional basis. Similar way to budget accounts for gas/electricity
run now... well sort of. Get the other parent to countersign the diary
like a receipt at pick-up drop off time to acknowledge its
correctness... would only take a minute.

Alan Bradshaw

unread,
Apr 16, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/16/98
to


Pat Winstanley wrote:

> In article <01bd68ad$4e019780$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
> <john...@iclweb.com> writes

> >> I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in proportion
> >to
> >> number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get rid
> >> of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way, APs
> >> aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
> >> child is actually with them.
> >
> >One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
> >etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow. At
> >least use tapers, not steps.
>

> How about simply requiring both parents (where there is a dispute) to
> keep a diary/timesheet of days/nights etc spent with each over the
> course of the year, and reassess based on that for the following year on
> a proportional basis. Similar way to budget accounts for gas/electricity
> run now... well sort of. Get the other parent to countersign the diary
> like a receipt at pick-up drop off time to acknowledge its
> correctness... would only take a minute.
>
> --
> Pat Winstanley
> http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

Yeah but the CSA ignores all the AP says and only goes on the info supplied by
the PWC.


Alan


Mike Farr

unread,
Apr 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/17/98
to

Alan Bradshaw wrote in message <35364A52...@virgin.net>...


>
>
>Pat Winstanley wrote:
>
>> In article <01bd68ad$4e019780$e12b...@iclweb.com>, John Ward
>> <john...@iclweb.com> writes

>> >> I also think the current system whereby the MA is reduced in
proportion
>> >to
>> >> number of nights spent with AP should be continued and extended. Get
rid
>> >> of the 104 nights barrier, and reduced MA proportionately. This way,
APs
>> >> aren't paying twice for their child - ie once to PWC and once when the
>> >> child is actually with them.
>> >
>> >One thing I feel is vitally important is that "steps" (such as 104 days,
>> >etc) at which dramatic changes take place should be eliminated somehow.
At
>> >least use tapers, not steps.
>>

>> How about simply requiring both parents (where there is a dispute) to
>> keep a diary/timesheet of days/nights etc spent with each over the
>> course of the year, and reassess based on that for the following year on
>> a proportional basis. Similar way to budget accounts for gas/electricity
>> run now... well sort of. Get the other parent to countersign the diary
>> like a receipt at pick-up drop off time to acknowledge its
>> correctness... would only take a minute.
>>
>> --
>> Pat Winstanley
>> http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk
>
> Yeah but the CSA ignores all the AP says and only goes on the info
supplied by
>the PWC.
>
>
>Alan
>

Too right! and perfectly put - almost.

Except if the PWC if male and the AP is female - then they suddenly believe
everything the AP tells them, disbelieve everything the PWC tells then, and
use the lies told by the AP to turn her into a PWC - Łucking clever that
one!!

Karen Randall

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Apr 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/17/98
to

Pat's idea sounds fairly reasonable. However, from experience the PWC has
it in their interest to lie about number of nights of contact. My husband
went to the Tribunal over this, and DESPITE having exact diary dates, where
the PWC had 'not brought hers' even though she knew what teh Tribunal was
about, the Tribunal still only awarded 2.6 nights shared care to my husband
(AP) rather than the 3 nights which was actually the amount according to
the diary dates.

How easy do the Tribunal Service wish to make it for PWCs to lie?

Karen

Pat Winstanley

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Apr 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/17/98
to

In article <01bd69d4$8a913fc0$64c481c1@karen>, Karen Randall <karen.rand
all.lbh...@dial.pipex.com> writes

>
>Pat's idea sounds fairly reasonable. However, from experience the PWC has
>it in their interest to lie about number of nights of contact.

What for unless it's on the number of nights stayed threshold?

> My husband
>went to the Tribunal over this, and DESPITE having exact diary dates, where
>the PWC had 'not brought hers'

That was the point of the countersignature - each to sign the other's!
;-)) If your husband's diary had her signature on every page
acknowledging the pick-up/drop-off times and dates (and hers had his
acknowledging the same ones)... and if she wouldn't sign then just pick
the kids back up and keep them (take them home again)! It could even be
set up as a legal requirement when swapping hands-on-custody - the one
with the child is responsible for the child until the other parentn
acknowledges receipt of the child.

Yes I KNOW it could get terribly complicated, but it might help in some
cases. If we can manage to have general business receipts accepted on
face value for tax purposes...

> even though she knew what teh Tribunal was
>about, the Tribunal still only awarded 2.6 nights shared care to my husband
>(AP)

Wouldn't that take him over the third of a years's worth of nights
barrier though?

Mike Farr

unread,
Apr 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/17/98
to

Karen Randall wrote in message <01bd69d4$8a913fc0$64c481c1@karen>...


>
>Pat's idea sounds fairly reasonable. However, from experience the PWC has

>it in their interest to lie about number of nights of contact. My husband


>went to the Tribunal over this, and DESPITE having exact diary dates, where

>the PWC had 'not brought hers' even though she knew what teh Tribunal was


>about, the Tribunal still only awarded 2.6 nights shared care to my husband

>(AP) rather than the 3 nights which was actually the amount according to


>the diary dates.
>
>How easy do the Tribunal Service wish to make it for PWCs to lie?
>
>Karen


SNAP!!!!!

Oh, so this is a common problem then?

Except in my case, I did 197 nights - so I'm PWC, but they only gave me 182,
so I owe Ł3000 - despite me being PWC, and owed Ł3000!

Tribunals? - don' t get Cockup and Windup - see my earlier post!!

E me if poss.

Mike Farr

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Apr 17, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/17/98
to

Pat Winstanley wrote in message ...


>>That was the point of the countersignature - each to sign the other's!
>;-)) If your husband's diary had her signature on every page
>acknowledging the pick-up/drop-off times and dates (and hers had his
>acknowledging the same ones)... and if she wouldn't sign then just pick
>the kids back up and keep them (take them home again)! It could even be
>set up as a legal requirement when swapping hands-on-custody - the one
>with the child is responsible for the child until the other parentn
>acknowledges receipt of the child.
>
>Yes I KNOW it could get terribly complicated, but it might help in some
>cases. If we can manage to have general business receipts accepted on
>face value for tax purposes...

>Pat Winstanley
>http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk

Yes but my ex steals my daughter for three weeks, Łucks off to Sri Lanka for
those 3 weeks, palms my daughter off to her relatives for those 3 weeks,
claims Family Credit for those 3 weeks, and claims maintenance off me for
her 'costs' in caring for my daughter for those 3 weeks. Is this how
'playing fair' is supposed to work?

Short of having her followed on a permanent basis, how will the truth ever
be known about all her lies?

Pat Winstanley

unread,
Apr 18, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/18/98
to

In article <6h8kor$m9v$2...@mendelevium.btinternet.com>, Mike Farr
<mike...@btinternet.com> writes

>
>Pat Winstanley wrote in message ...
>>>That was the point of the countersignature - each to sign the other's!
>>;-)) If your husband's diary had her signature on every page
>>acknowledging the pick-up/drop-off times and dates (and hers had his
>>acknowledging the same ones)... and if she wouldn't sign then just pick
>>the kids back up and keep them (take them home again)! It could even be
>>set up as a legal requirement when swapping hands-on-custody - the one
>>with the child is responsible for the child until the other parentn
>>acknowledges receipt of the child.
>>
>>Yes I KNOW it could get terribly complicated, but it might help in some
>>cases. If we can manage to have general business receipts accepted on
>>face value for tax purposes...
>>Pat Winstanley
>>http://www.pierless.demon.co.uk
>
>Yes but my ex steals my daughter for three weeks,

You have lost me here. How can she steal her daughter? Isn't she
entitled to any access? If she doesn't have any access then how come she
hasn't been hit in court for kidnapping? Were you supposed to consent to
the child leaving the country?

> Łucks off to Sri Lanka for
>those 3 weeks,

Is there something wrong with that? I'd have been made up if my ex had
taken our kids off abroad on holiday for a few weeks. Especially if it
were to visit far-away but close relatives.

> palms my daughter off to her relatives for those 3 weeks,

"palms" the child off on the "child's" relatives???

>claims Family Credit for those 3 weeks,

Unless those three weeks were part of the time just prior to a FC claim,
what relevance is that? FC is paid for six months at a time and the
amount doesn't change during those six months regardless of changes of
circumstances (up or down) during those six months (or have the rules
changed within the last couple of months)? And IIRC the child must have
been living with her at the time of the claim, but I thought you had
custody of her (unless there are other kids involved who live with
Mum?).

> and claims maintenance off me for
>her 'costs' in caring for my daughter for those 3 weeks.

Did your daughter incur no costs for those three weeks? How? Did she not
eat?

> Is this how
>'playing fair' is supposed to work?
>

You haven't really been clear about what was unfair!


>Short of having her followed on a permanent basis, how will the truth ever
>be known about all her lies?
>

Which lies?

If she's defrauding the DSS/CSA then tell them! Even if the CSA doesn't
do anything the DSS probably will if they can see clear evidence. And
one might very well knock on to the other.

John O

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98
to

Alan Bradshaw wrote:

>
> Pat Winstanley wrote:
> > How about simply requiring both parents (where there is a dispute) to
> > keep a diary/timesheet of days/nights etc spent with each over the
> > course of the year, and reassess based on that for the following year on
> > a proportional basis.

Except that some parents - like myself at one stage - follow the advice
provided by FNF, which is to minimise the number of direct handovers
between parents. (i.e., pick up from school, childminder, etc.)

Things are much calmer now, but in the early stages, the handover pont
was simply my ex's opportunity to give me a lot of verbal abuse, and it
was pure relief to be able to pass a week in which, say I dropped my
daughter off at school on Monday and picked her up two days later from a
childminder without having to encounter the ex in-between.

Suspect I am not alone in this...

> And this bit's from Alan...


>
> Yeah but the CSA ignores all the AP says and only goes on the info supplied by
> the PWC.
>
> Alan

You are righter than you know. I have STILL failed to get to the bottom
of what would constitute proof that voluntary payments made pending an
assessment were for Child Maintenance.

The simple view, from the CSA Helpline is ONLY what the PWC says at the
time the assessment was delivered.

I discussed this at great length with one of the Belfast smurfs (sorry,
helpliners, but its an easy confusion: can't sing, can't dance, and talk
stream-of-consciousness drivel) and the answer I got was that EVEN a
written receipt stating that money was received for Child Maintenance
would not necessarily count, because it might have been obtained under
duress.

In other words, NOTHING the AP says to you can count because s/he always
has the abuse excuse to fall back upon....


John O

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Apr 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/23/98