As required by legislation, the Department has completed a comprehensive review of the Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018 to ensure it is delivering as intended.
The Department for Communities is continuously reviewing its Child Maintenance Service (CMS) enforcement processes to ensure that they remain effective in securing money for children. The Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018 brought un-commenced powers into force to close a loophole that had allowed Paying Parents to avoid payment of child maintenance by placing their money into joint or business bank accounts, thereby rendering the money inaccessible to the CMS. These Regulations enabled arrears to be recovered from a wider range of bank accounts to include joint accounts and unlimited partnership business accounts through a Regular Deduction Order (RDO) or Lump Sum Deduction Order (LSDO). As part of the compliance and arrears strategy, there is a commitment in legislation to carry out a review on the deductions from bank accounts within 5 years of the introduction of the Regulations. December 2023 marks 5 years from the introduction of the Regulations.
Since the introduction of the Regulations, no issues have been raised by any of the banks or building societies involved in the deductions, or from CMS. The Regulations appear to be working as intended and are ensuring that as much money as possible is rightfully passed onto children. Many children who otherwise would have had to do without have received money as a direct result of the Regulations.