New child maintenance arrangements

New child maintenance arrangements come into effect today.  Changes to the system are being introduced gradually, and the new system won’t completely replace the current Child Support Agency system for another three years.

Today’s changes involve the introduction of an online system rather like online banking – directly accessible to paying and receiving parents.  All payments, and any communication between the Child Maintenance Service and either parent, can now be viewed online.

The thrust of all the changes to the system is to reduce the role of the state and to encourage parents to make their own arrangements for child maintenance, ultimately saving the taxpayer a lot of money.  A parent will be able to enlist the aid of the state if (s)he wants but, as a crude but presumably effective disincentive, the cost of doing so has been set deliberately high.

Details of today’s changes can be found here.