DWP hunts for agency to handle Child Support Agency relaunch

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) is seeking an advertising agency to create a major campaign to relaunch the Child Support Agency (CSA).

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) is seeking an advertising agency to create a major campaign to relaunch the Child Support Agency (CSA).

COI Communications is understood to have approached agencies on behalf of the department and it is thought to be drawing up a pitch list.

It is expected to plough a substantial budget into the campaign.

The DWP appointed media agency PHD in July to develop a communications strategy for the new-look CSA, and it is thought the ad agency will work within the media plan drawn up by PHD. The COI and DWP refused to comment on the pitch or when a campaign will be launched.

There is still confusion over the set-up of the body which will replace the CSA and when it will be unveiled. The agency, launched in 1993 to ensure absent parents pay maintenance to their families, has been heavily criticised for being complex and slow.

Last month, work and pensions secretary John Hutton promised to replace the CSA with a new, streamlined organisation following an independent report by Sir David Henshaw. A White Paper, based on his recommendations, will be published in the autumn.

The new body will have tougher powers to crack down on absent parents who do not pay. It will only exercise its powers in the most extreme cases, leaving the majority of parents to work out their own maintenance arrangements.

A previous relaunch of the CSA in 2003, at a cost of &£500m, was viewed as a failure.

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