The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) exists to help small businesses like yours resolve disputes over late payments from bigger businesses that may be jeopardising your future.
Here’s some context, from a new leaflet produced by the SBC.
‘Late payment continues to be an ongoing issue for UK small businesses. It costs both time and money, prevents investment, stifles innovation and restricts growth.’
It can even mean the end of your business.
The Government introduced the SBC in October 2017 with the remit to help.
‘The SBC looks at complaints from small businesses about problems getting paid by larger businesses and will work with you to get the matter resolved’, says its introductory leaflet.
Late payments are, of course, a widespread problem.
‘Latest figures report that the overall level of late payment debt owed to small and medium sized businesses stands in the region of £20 billion’, according to the SBC.
On the whole, in order for your case to be taken on by the SBC, you’ll need to be a business with fewer than 50 employees, and ‘be complaining about a customer with 50 or more employees and a UK office’.
Your complaint will be about a late payment that was due in the last 12 months (though not before 6 April 2017). And that you’ve already yourself tried to resolve with the customer. Although not yet by resorting to legal action, mediation, adjudication or arbitration, for instance, suggests the leaflet.
It anticipates the SBC’s process will probably take between four and six weeks.
‘Any form of late or unfair payment practice can seriously affect the effective running and potential for growth among small businesses and is simply not acceptable!’ the Government’s Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal is quoted in a second leaflet.
At least now there’s somewhere clear to turn.
Find the Small Business Commissioner site here. As well as many more details of the support on offer.