The complainant has requested a breakdown of the number of child maintenance cases in which a specific scenario has occurred and the sanctions that may be implemented. The Commissioner’s decision is that DWP is entitled to rely on section 12(2) of the Act to refuse to comply with the request. The Commissioner finds, however, that DWP has breached section 17(5) of the Act as it failed to provide its section 12 refusal notice within the statutory timeframe. She also finds that DWP did not provide adequate advice and assistance under section 16. The Commissioner requires the public authority to provide the complainant with advice and assistance regarding the last element of the request, namely the sanctions that FIU may implement when it has determined that a paying parent has deliberately provided false information. The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.
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