8. Complaints and appeals

Complaints about service

Contact the Child Maintenance Service or CSA if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received.

If you’re still not satisfied

The office managing your case will contact the Complaints Resolution Team.

They’ll try to sort out your complaint within 15 working days.

If they think it may take longer than this, they’ll keep you updated and agree a timetable with you.

If you’re not satisfied with how the Complaints Resolution Team deals with your complaint you can ask the Complaints Review Team to look at it.

Independent Case Examiner

You can ask the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) to look into your complaint if you’ve already been through the full complaints process.

You must not contact the Independent Case Examiner before you’ve received a final response from the Child Maintenance Service or CSA saying you can do so.

If you’re unhappy with the response from the Independent Case Examiner, you can ask your MP to get the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to look into it.

If your complaint is valid

The Child Maintenance Service or CSA will:

  • apologise and explain what went wrong
  • make any changes needed to put it right

If you’ve been treated particularly badly, you may get a consolatory payment. However, you don’t have a legal right to this.


You can appeal a child maintenance decision about payment amounts. An appeal might take several months. Before you can appeal, first you must contact the CSA or Child Maintenance Service to ask for the decision to be looked at again. This is called a mandatory reconsideration. You’ll need to say why you disagree with the decision.

You can appeal to an independent tribunal if you’re still unhappy after asking either the Child Maintenance Service or CSA to review your decision.

You should appeal within 1 month of the date of your decision letter.