Headlines: August 16th, 2000

The Child Support Agency (CSA) is to become more customer-focussed and offer parents the chance to discuss their case directly with a member of CSA staff at a time and place that is convenient to them. The move will go some way to changing the image and reputation of the CSA for being difficult to deal with. When the CSA was first set up, most contact with customers was by correspondence or telephone from a distant location.The Face to Face service provides a local, personal service for our customers and feedback from testing the service has proved not only popular with parents, but has led to more non-residents paying for their child maintenance. More than 600 staff based in 80 locations across the UK will now be available to help parents complete maintenance assessments. Face to Face officers are able to explain assessments, listen to problems and help progress cases.

The Government says the move is an important step in ending child poverty in a generation, which is one of its key pledges. Link: www.dss.gov.uk/csa/index.htm