• March 2, 2024
 ‘Enforcement times will be cut from six months to six weeks’, say ministers

‘Enforcement times will be cut from six months to six weeks’, say ministers

For parents who refuse to financially support their children, new reforms will propose they will face quicker penalties under government plans.

With ministers saying enforcement times will be cut from six months to six weeks in plans soon to be announced.

The government have also confirmed that a £20 application fee for parents seeking intervention when maintenance is not paid will end later this month.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride said the reforms are an endeavour to make “the system fairer” for parents and children.

“We know the vast majority of parents strive each and every day to give their children the best possible start in life.

But those who shirk the financial responsibilities they have for their children must be quickly held to account.”

The government has estimated that around 10,000 parents a year refuse to pay maintenance and many of these could be affected by the “fast-tracked” enforcement proposals.

The scrapping of the £20 application fee was announced by the government in October last year, but it will come into force from 26th February 2024.

At some point today, the government will publish its response to a consultation on measures to give the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) more powers to recover money from non-paying parents faster.

These proposed powers/reforms will include allowing the CMS to use an administrative liability order to recover unpaid child maintenance instead of applying to the courts.

Under the proposed changes, the CMS could also have the power to write off debt worth less than £7 in inactive cases, with a view that it frees up time to then focus on parents who owe much larger sums.

The Department for Work and Pensions have said that this could reduce enforcement time “almost fourfold” and ensure further action, which could include the forced sale of property or driving licence disqualification, could be used much sooner.

Legislation to implement the changes is expected to be laid before Parliament sometime in the spring.

Rebecca Morgan, Editor

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