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Departmental Procurement

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 30 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (226504)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), including its agencies, seeks to comply with 'The Better Payments Practice Code' for achieving good payment performance in commercial transactions. Under this code, the policy is to pay bills in accordance with contractual conditions or, where no such conditions exist, within 30 days of receipt of goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice, whichever is later.

The prompt payment results for 2007-08 showed that 91.6 per cent. of departmental and agency invoices were paid in accordance with the terms of the standard; this can be broken down as follows:


Paid on time (Percentage)

Northern Ireland Office


Northern Ireland Prison Service


Forensic Science Northern Ireland


Youth Justice Agency


Compensation Agency


Any analysis relating to the size of the business can be completed only at disproportionate cost.