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How the CSA collects and uses information
The CSA can ask for and share information about you to set up and manage your child maintenance arrangement. Learn more about how the CSA collects and uses this information and how to find out what information it has about you.
Why the CSA needs information about parents
The Child Support Agency (CSA) needs certain information to set up and manage child maintenance arrangements. This information helps to:
- find non-resident parents
- work out how much child maintenance a non-resident parent should pay
- make sure that non-resident parents pay the right amount at the right time
A non-resident parent is the parent who the child does not normally live with.
How the CSA gathers information
The CSA will ask the parents involved in the child maintenance case for information first. If parents don't or can’t provide information, it can ask other people and organisatons for the information it needs. This includes:
- the non-resident parent’s employer, accountant, companies or partnerships that they provide services to
- government organisations, like Jobcentre Plus, HM Revenue & Customs and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
- prison services and local councils
- organisations that have information about the non-resident parent's financial history, like banks and building societies, credit reference agencies and gas and electricity suppliers
How the CSA uses information
The CSA will only request and keep hold of the information it needs to deal with a child maintenance case.
The CSA will not give out names and addresses unless it is ordered to by a court. If the law allows, it may also give information about parents to some other organisations, including:
- other government organisations
- a court tribunal in relation to child maintenance
- debt-collection agencies
The CSA will also pass on information that will help to prevent or detect crime.
What information is given to the other parent?
When the CSA sends letters about how child maintenance is worked out, it includes the following information:
- which children are included in the calculation
- the non-resident parent’s income
- the number of children living with the non-resident parent
- any other special circumstances that have been taken into account
This helps both parents check that the CSA has worked out child maintenance using the correct information.
Find out what information the CSA holds about you
The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to ask to see what personal information the CSA holds about you.
Some information will be available free of charge, for example:
- how your child maintenance amount was worked out
- an update on your case
- a copy of a specific letter that was sent to you by the CSA
If you want to see other information that the CSA holds about you, you will have to:
- pay an administration fee of £10
- send a written request to the CSA Data Protection Unit
For more information about how the CSA use your personal information, download the following leaflet.