§ Maria Eagle
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are his plans to address the problem of the Child Support Agency's backlog of periodical reviews. 
§ Angela Eagle
Until December 1998, child support legislation required the Agency to reconsider child support assessments every two years. This process meant gathering all the many pieces of information used to make an assessment afresh. In many cases, parents failed to return review forms or to provide the necessary information and the reviews have become increasingly difficult to complete as time has passed. As a result, there are now some 350,000 outstanding periodical reviews in the Child Support Agency.
To address the backlog of periodic reviews and to release more of the Agency's resources for current work, however, I intend to bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows retrospectively to repeal the provisions which govern this process. This will mean that there will no longer be a requirement to complete the outstanding reviews for past periods. However, the Agency will be taking forward a rolling programme over the next two years to review and update assessments from a current date. Where the parent with care is on benefit, this will happen automatically: parents who have applied voluntarily for child support will be offered the opportunity to have the assessment brought up to date. Also, any parent who wants to have the periodical review completed in their case can ask the Child Support Agency to complete this action and this will be done providing the information and evidence necessary to complete the process is supplied.