One of the aims of the child maintenance reforms introduced in 2012 was that the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) should be both faster and more effective at dealing with non-compliance than its predecessor. The CMS is also aware of the challenges associated with collecting maintenance payments from non-resident, paying, self-employed parents.
This qualitative research explores:
- why some self-employed paying parents don’t pay child maintenance
- self-employed paying parent’s views of the (CMS) during the time of the research (November 2013 and February 2014)
- the communication and support needs of self-employed paying parents when using the CMS
We will use the findings from this research to develop and amend CMS communication products. Ensuring communications effectively target self-employed clients has been a recent priority. This includes improving how CMS case workers more clearly explain information around payment and calculation to parents. Findings have also informed CMS operational and policy decisions, designed to encourage self-employed paying parents to become more compliant.
To help address the difficulties of taking enforcement action against self-employed, non-compliant, paying parents we have introduced a new power. This enables the DWP to disclose this non-compliance to credit reference agencies. This has the potential to notably improve compliance among self-employed paying parents.
Authors: Caitlin Connors and Emily Fu (TNS BMRB)