Press release

Bringing child maintenance under direct Ministerial control

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An order has been laid in Parliament today to bring the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission back under direct Ministerial control.

Following a public consultation last year, an order has been laid in Parliament today to bring the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) back under direct Ministerial control as a business unit of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Work and Pensions Minister Maria Miller said:

The Government is clear about how important strong family relationships are for children. All children have the right to financial support from both parents, which is why we are reforming the child maintenance service to put children at its heart.

Bringing the system under direct control of Ministers will help that process.

At present only half of children living in separated families have financial support in place. The Government’s wider child maintenance reforms are designed to ensure more separated parents have effective financial support in place for their children. The Child Support Agency will close to new customers from later this year; marking the end of a failing system, long overdue for reform.

Parents will be supported and helped to make their own, family-based child maintenance arrangements, which we know more than half of parents who currently use the statutory service would prefer. A new, streamlined and more efficient statutory child maintenance service will be introduced for those who need it.

The abolition of CMEC as a non-departmental public body will also help with the Government’s drive to reduce the number of public bodies across Government.

Notes to Editors

  • A public consultation was conducted between 10 October 2011 and 3 January 2012 and the Government response was published 8 March 2012. At that time the Government stated its intention to proceed with taking the Parliamentary steps to implement the change.
  • This matter will be debated in both Houses of Parliament, and assuming it receives Parliamentary approval, CMEC will be abolished, and its current operational units will become a business unit of the Department  for Work and Pensions
  • Subject to Parliamentary approval, the change is proposed to be made on 31 July 2012.
  • This change will not affect the delivery of current services, nor the staff delivering them.
  • Noel Shanahan, CMEC Commissioner and Chief Executive, will continue to lead this area of work, ensuring continuity as major reforms are implemented.