Mother's CSA fears realised

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR who was fed up with the Child Support Agency's handling of her claim for maintenance arrears successful applied for a job within the agency and found “chaos and low morale”.

By David Green

A MOTHER-OF-FOUR who was fed up with the Child Support Agency's handling of her claim for maintenance arrears successful applied for a job within the agency and found “chaos and low morale”.

Barbara Bayliss, from Palgrave, near Diss, was given a job by the agency in April last year - despite declaring at the interview that her case was among the backlog waiting to be resolved.

She resigned at the end of January after 10 months in which she found staff were “over-worked, stressed and disillusioned”.


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“It was chaotic. The computer system was a mess and staff morale was very low,” Ms Bayliss said.

She decided to apply for a job with the agency “to find out what was going on” after her daughter spotted an advertisement for posts in Norwich.

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The intention had not been to get her own case resolved and there were a number of safeguards and checks to ensure staff could not access or influence cases in which they might have a personal interest, she said.

“The whole place was in a total mess. There was no job satisfaction whatsoever and I got quite depressed about it,” said Ms Bayliss.

Working for the agency had revealed why her own case had not been dealt with more efficiently as employees, many of them transferred from pensions duties, struggled to cope with mounting workload and increased pressure.

In October and November last year work had become so frustrating that there were nine or 10 people quitting each week - some of them in tears.

Ms Bayliss said she did not believe that an extra £120 million for the agency - announced by the Government last week - would significantly help improve efficiency.

She is still hoping her own case will soon be resolved and is using advice she received from colleagues while working for the agency.

A CSA spokesman said: “We have always been open about the problems that the CSA is facing. We have a plan to try to address the problems in the short term.”

In July, CSA director, Sir David Henshaw, is due to submit his plans for re-organising the agency.

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