Hi All Long time reader, first time poster. Just wondering if I elected to become a write only csa customer as I deem phone calls from csa to be menacing - does this apply to csa contacting my employer for information via write only too? How can I ensure that this is followed through? We have a dipsy payroll girl who would readily volunteer info to anyone who sounded authoritarian and are concerned that she may provide information we wish not to be disclosed. Any advice would greatly assst us!
No it wouldn't apply. However, there are limitations to what information seeking powers the CSA have. Especially in regard to an employer. Basically if they approach your employer without legislated reason then you have every right to complain. Furthermore if they do approach an employer and take information beyond the remit of the legislated information then they are again acting outside of the law and you should again complain bitterly. Here's a section of the CSA guide that is specific to your question (I'd suggest reading the whole of section 6.2).
The CSA Guide - 6.2.5: Access to employer records said
6.2.5: Access to employer records Version 2.0, Last updated 17 March 2008 5:00pm Context
CSA can access the wage or payroll records of an employer. Legislative references
Section 61 Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988
CSA's power to access employer records can only be used to access the salary or wage records (including information stored on a computer) of a payer's employer for the purpose of applying the employer withholding provisions.
Officers, authorised in writing by the Registrar, have the power to enter employers' premises and to access documents (section 61(1)). Officers can inspect, examine and copy documents that are relevant to the payer. They cannot gather information on any other person. Officers cannot remove documents.
Section 61 only applies to premises where the employer's records are kept (usually the employer's business premises). Where the relevant salary and wage records are in some other place (for example, the offices of the employer's accountant or the employer's home) officers may access those premises.
Authorised officers do not have power under the Child Support legislation to access the premises of banks and other financial institutions, parents, or any other third party. Officers can only access the premises of a bank or financial institution where the institution is the employer of the payer and the salary and wages records are held on the premises.
An officer seeking entry to an employer's premises must produce a current authority signed by the Registrar or State Manager. The authority must identify the officer and state that the officer is authorised to exercise the Registrar's powers under section 61. Officers who do not produce an authority cannot remain on the land or premises if requested to leave (section 61(2)).
If an employer wants to obtain professional advice, the search should be postponed temporarily. Officers should make arrangements to ensure there is no tampering with the records (e.g. the documents or copies of the documents could be sealed in an envelope or box with both the custodian of the papers and the officers signing an undertaking not to open the item until the advice has been received).
Any claim that the records are subject to legal professional privilege will be resisted on the grounds that wage records are created to record payments to employees, not for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.
The employer may commit an offence if they do not provide reasonable assistance to an authorised CSA officer (See chapter 6.8).
Although the access provisions do not grant a right to conduct an interview, many interviews proceed on an informal basis without recourse to a formal notice. These informal discussions will usually reduce the cost of compliance, as the person is not required to attend the office for an interview or to produce the required records under a formal notice.
Employers can refuse to answer any questions other than those specifically related to the location of records. Where officers have reasonable grounds for requiring the employer to answer other questions about the documents and the employer is unwilling to reply informally, CSA can later prepare and issue a notice under the appropriate information and evidence-gathering provision.
When I say complain, I mean to complain not only through the CSA's complaints process, but to also complain to your local federal MP, to the federal MP for the DHS portfolio and to the ombudsman. I would also suggest using the CDDA scheme (Compensation for Detriment due to Deficient Administration). You probably wouldn't et any compensation. However, their may be findings of deficient administration which will equate to black marks against the CSA.