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Changes to CSA's "The Guide"

The CSA guide is extremely useful, it's relatively easy to navigate, it has references to the applicable legislation and the interpretations are in my opinion pretty good. However there are some instances where the interpretation doesn't appear to reflect

As IsntLifeGrand says "THIS IS ONLY A GUIDE".

It is but personally I find the guide extremely useful, it's relatively easy to navigate, it has references to the applicable legislation and the interpretations are in my opinion pretty good. However there are some instances where the interpretation doesn't appear to reflect the legislation.

I believe that FLWG has opened channels that enable changes, corrections and improvements to the guide to be made. So this topic is to allow suggestions which could well be put forward through the channels.

To start the ball rolling here's a discrepancy that I posted about a few days ago :-

Cautionary note about the CSA's Guide

I do believe the guide, in section 2.2.9, does not accurately reflect the legislation as it appears to indicate that the last agreement always stands.

I believe that the legislation allows disagreement with and oral agreement (section 51 of the Child Support Assessment Act) and if this is the case, then that agreement doesn't still stand if there were prior court orders or written agreements).
i.e.

CSA Guide - 2.2.9 said
Determining a percentage of care

Generally, a carer's percentage of care will be determined by the most recent care arrangements agreed upon by the parents (or the parent/s and non-parent carer/s). This agreement might take the form of an oral agreement, written agreement, parenting plan, or court order in relation to a child's care. See Chapter 2.2.5 for more information on how percentages of care are worked out.

If the parents or carers provide conflicting information about the care arrangements for a child CSA will attempt to clarify the position so that a care percentage can be calculated.

Disputes about a child's care

When a parent makes a request to change the care records of a child CSA will seek to confirm the information with the other parent. If the other parent does not confirm the information, CSA will ask both parents to provide details of the care arrangements.

CSA will make a decision on the basis of the information provided by the parents to substantiate their claims.
Child Support Assessment Act - section 51 said
51  Person no longer agrees with oral agreement

If:

(a) an oral agreement determines, under section 49, a percentage of care of a child that a parent or non parent carer is likely to have during a care period; and

(b) the Registrar becomes aware that a parent or non parent carer of the child no longer agrees with that percentage of care; and

 immediately before the oral agreement was made, a parenting plan or court order determined the percentage of care of the child that each parent or non parent carer would have during the care period;

the percentage of care of the child that a parent or non parent carer is likely to have during the care period is as determined in accordance with the parenting plan or court order.
Perhaps the suggestion put forward should be to amend the guide to say :-

Generally, a carer's percentage of care will be determined by the most recent care arrangements agreed upon by the parents (or the parent/s and non-parent carer/s). This agreement might take the form of an oral agreement, written agreement, parenting plan, or court order in relation to a child's care. If the most recent care arrangement agreed upon by the parents (or the parent/s and non-parent carer/s) was an oral agreement and there is no longer agreement then the care level would be in accordance with the most recent parenting plan or court order. See Chapter 2.2.5 for more information on how percentages of care are worked out.
The CSA staff seem to have a set of operating instructions that drill down even further, esp on care.  Would suggest that what the CSA officers use be incorporated in the Guide with any misconceptions being sorted.  Care is a minefield at the moment.
BigRed, I believe that the CSA have a (or some) procedures manual(s), although I also believe that they very much do things and make decisions without reference to manuals but based upon what the operative recalls should be done.

With regard to care, I have been told by a number of sources that the changes to the legislation resulted in the CSA being inundated with care level changes. I also believe that the practice of placing the onus of proof/evidence on the person requesting the care level change was introduced some time ago but after July 2008. I believe that this change in practice came about due to, at last in part, the issue being raised here on FLWG.
MikeT, my point is that the CSA operative relies heavily on "that's the way we have always done it" rather than what the policy/legislation says, all the while referring to their internal guidelines. If the two aren't consistent, there will be problems.  For example, take a look at the CSA affirmation rate at the SSAT, which is the first place a helicopter view is taken of the case.    
BigRed,
          I think that's what I meant by "recalls what should be done".

My view is that there should be set automated procedures and that CSA operatives become "evidence gatherers" with the system prompting them to ask for the evidence and then processing the evidence. I believe change of assessments could easily be catered for. It could make the process far more transparent and consistent. Parents especially wouldn't need to rely upon being told the correct thing, which far too often they appear not to be.

I'd liken it very much to tax returns, which I believe are far more complicated. It could even be that parents could drive the entire process by an online equivalent to Etax, with the booklet as a backup again like tax returns.

I've had some time to consider change of assessments and have been given some clues as to what goes on. This had led very much to this line of thinking. I'm even in the process of working on extending the calculator so that it can handle the 10 types of COA adjustments. Which could then be used to promote this approach.

Here's a sneak preview of what it could look like :-
(note some of the adjustments are incomplete in that they would apply to a child or parent and thus would have selectors for those, it's very much in it's infancy)
(note all 10 different types of adjustment have been selected, this would be rare, if it ever happened. I'm at the stage where I'm just checking that the selection of all 10 adjustments are working).

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