Lawyers call for complete CSA overhaul

THE CHILD Support Agency has failed to help the most vulnerable people in society and should be completely overhauled, according to the Society of Labour Lawyers (SLL).

A complete review of the CSA, both to make children the main priority and to take into account the complex circumstances of the most vulnerable and impoverished, was urgently needed, said the SLL.

Solicitor Wendy Mantle, chairing the SLL fringe meeting, 'The family and the CSA', also called on Labour to “create policies that support the family”.

By “the family” SLL means a broad definition to include single people, with or without children and the old.

Guest speaker Patricia Hollis, the House of Lords' spokeswoman on social security, said the CSA had suffered a serious shortfall in new money gathered – only around u40 million from a target of some u312 million, with just u4 million of the u40 million being paid to families.

“And yet the damage has been incalculable. The CSA has not helped the most vulnerable. We hear little about single mothers and poor fathers. Many of the poorest are in debt, so get their social security top-sliced at source. Many single mothers are keeping their children on less than u2 a day.”

Hollis called for a “radical transformation” of the CSA.