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What if Target collections were based on?

The agency very much appears to be driven by what it collects, the greater the amount collected the better the job it is doing. This I believe drives the hierarchy within the CSA to set performance targets based upon what can be collected. However my what

One of my main grudges with the CSA is that the agency very much appears to be driven by what it collects, the greater the amount collected the better the job it is doing. This I believe drives the hierarchy within the CSA to set performance targets based upon what can be collected. However my what if is :-

What if the CSA were to have a target of collection based upon the child support payable on an average scenario multiplied by the number of cases? The average size of the separated family, the average income of the separated family and so on. Would this perhaps be a much fairer way of setting performance targets, targets which may mean that less should be collected?

Anyway please feel free to discuss, well except for Secretary_SPCA, I insist that you provide a view. :)
Gee MikeT not often I get a request for a 'private viewpoint'… :wub:

In relation to collections. I believe we need to firstly sort out what is really outstanding. The general populous have a view, as published in the media, of a Billion in outstanding Child support give or take some millions and say around 240Million in overseas debt. (Either people who have migrated to Australia or the few Australians migrating overseas) There are significant debts that need to be written off, deceased and deceased estates, non-collectable due to loss of employment, etc etc. There are some technicalities in treasury that are to be resolved before anything can be written down. Additional legislation is required I am informed.

My thinking around getting this correct in the first place is that there may not be anywhere near such an emphasis or drive on collection if the figures were reported correctly and much lower.
MikeT said
What if the CSA were to have a target of collection based upon the child support payable on an average scenario multiplied by the number of cases?
We can take this to CSNSEG as an emerging issue to look at some better formula of expectation / driver for collections but at the end of the day I am sure the argument will be that there is a new formula and that payments should be made in line with what is calculated under that formula.

The key performance indicators need clarification and they can be talked about at the State Stakeholder group meetings or at CSNSEG. We also have an opportunity currently to participate in the Child Support Strategic Plan 2009-2014 which covers a complete new plan and a much wider role for the CSA than previously. As this plan unfolds we should see some degree of move away from financial indicators only toa  much broader set of performance indicators based on teh new goals and aims.

The CSA mission statement as stated provides a greater definition of the role of the new CSA Program within the broader Vision which has been to support separated parents provide for their childrens financial needs through the transfer of payments. The Mission also recognises the Programs role in building shared parental responsibility for financial support, not simply the collection of money.

These are all issues for discussion with CSA which you are most welcome to participate in…


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Sec-SPCA.
I am under the impression that CS Debt is not in fact ever written off unless deceased estate has no funds to pay out said debt.
Non Collection due to unemployment is merely deferred and amassed and fines added
How much of actual debt is what needs to ascertained.
Fines for late payment are not passed on to the payee and as such should realistically not be included in CSA;s stance of debt to children
I know we currently have fines up to $200.00 added onto the debt. and they are accruing at a rate of $33.00 per month in addition to unpaid support
You have raised an area that was brought up (and more) at the last NSW Stakeholder meeting in Parramatta during March. We have on our work list an action item to get to the bottom of what the outstanding published debt is made up of. There are some legislative amendments that have a status "unknown" that need following up. The debts are not able to be written off under current treasury guidelines without some legislative reforms I am informed. We have suggested that some of the categories be quarantined and put aside to assist some very disadvantaged families. Work is being done in this area by the CSA.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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So SecSPCA why not put in an FOI request, asking for the amount of debt by categories?  In this era of open government perhaps the rhetoric could be tested.  I would ask for amount under objection/SSAT/AAT action, amount of late fees included, amount being collected by offsets for starters.  
I have lodged an informal request for a breakdown. I have also asked for a breakdown of the make up in the bands of care to get some feeling for how payer and payee are sharing the time. This could give some indication of how Mediations and Courts are performing if I can get further breakdowns by parenting plans, court orders and by agreement.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Sorry to labour the point here, but an informal request will be likely to yield nothing but platitudes.  Again suggest an FOI request for the necessary information.
Instead of basing their success on how much money they have collected the CSA's target could be how many cases are successfully handled.

At the conclusion of each time a client needs to deal with the agency, whether it is an initial claim, change to a claim etc the client could be asked if they are satisfied with the way their issue has been dealt with. Naturally this would be independant of a clients feelings towards how much money they end up paying or receiving.

KPI's such as professionalism of how a case is handled is a far better benchmark of a departments performance than how much money they screwed out of someone (or didn't!).

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

Update on debt categorisation

Bigred said
Sorry to labour the point here, but an informal request will be likely to yield nothing but platitudes.  Again suggest an FOI request for the necessary information.
The issue around the make up and expiration of debt figures was raised at the FaHCSIA Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group (CSNSEG) meeting held today in Canberra. This resulted in quite an exchange and numerous questions and issues arising. A number of members of CSNSEG were supportive and raised particular areas of concerns. CSA (Officers were present) have agreed to report in depth and categorise figures to establish at least what is in current collection and to provide a complete breakdown of debt. The matter is formally tabled and will now need to be reported on through CSNSEG.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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MikeT said
One of my main grudges with the CSA is that the agency very much appears to be driven by what it collects, the greater the amount collected the better the job it is doing. This I believe drives the hierarchy within the CSA to set performance targets based upon what can be collected. However my what if is :-
Is this relevant to your stated point?

Additional pay increases for achieving CSA corporate objectives
14. An additional pay increase of 0.5% will be paid with pay increase 3 if, in
the 12 months prior to the pay increase:
a) there has been an increase in either the cumulative collection rate or
the percentage of parents who meet more than 75% of their child
support liabilities;
b) there has been a reduction in customer dissatisfaction with CSA
service; and
c) there has been a reduction in CSAs average annual unplanned leave
figure.

and

66. Employees at the maximum of their salary range, with 12 months
qualifying service and who receive a performance rating of 3 in accordance
with Clause 213, will be paid a $500 bonus.

Plug me back into the Matrix
Wozza, partly, however there is a lot more. From the very top line that is reported to FAHCSIA i.e. the amount collected/transferred which is basically saying that the CSA has reduced the FTB paid by 50% of the amount, though to the CSO's who may well have targets based around amounts collected and the number of punitive measures put into place, such as x garnishees per month.
and no one measures how may underlying assessments are correct?  This means they cn go on collecting the wrong amount as much as they like, with no responsibility for the reliability of the underlying assessment.  Thoroughly self-delusional organisation.
Most large corporations provide attractive 'incentives' to management which then filters down the ladder. I was providing this excerpt as it is a readily available document which provides clear evidence of what you state. Admittedly only to the lowest staff levels.

If anyone has had insight as to how statistics are generated I would be questioning everything the CSA said and then throwing it out. Could a partial audit of these figures be carried out to then result in a corrected figure? If my case is any indication they would be out substantially even if I was exaggerating.

Could it be that by fabricating/creating an inflated debt they are actually ensuring their position and continuation. How better to provide yourself with job security. Is it not true that the more staff you have working under you the higher the remuneration? If they had no debt to collect I don't think they would be employed to play cards.

I'd hate to add up what I have cost the community in CSA time. While I am aware and regretful of this maybe we need to assess what the savings would be if they started making appropriate decisions. Can we get the figures of what complaints and litigation cost the CSA annually? We can then add this back onto the FTB figure. Let's see how they go then!

Plug me back into the Matrix
Well I am hoping this: ANAO Audit Work Program 2009-10 flushes out a few issues.  ANAO have been pretty good of late at identifying systemic bad practice.  
Building a Better Child Support Agency

Complementing the Child Support Scheme reforms is the Building a Better Child Support Agency initiative. Building a Better Child Support Agency is a major component of a reform agenda for which DHS will receive $146.6 million over five years from 200506. There are three key focus areas to Building a Better Child Support Agency: customer service improvements, organisational change, and improved communication and stakeholder engagement.

The audit is examining the effectiveness of DHSs management of the implementation of Building a Better Child Support Agency initiative.

The audit report is expected to be tabled in the Spring 2009 Parliamentary Sittings
Why spend all that money when I'll tell them for nothing.

Where does all that money go? It wouldn't all be on paper clips would it? How does money get rid of a culture (definition any way you want)? It's a government agency. There are some things money just won't buy, in this case it would be reform.

So I can just see it now getting tabled in Parliament. Even if the Audit reveals something it will surely get lost there.

Have you got the phone number for the ANAO? I'll put them on my contact list.

Plug me back into the Matrix
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