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Departmental Procurement

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 10 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (243496)

[holding answer 16 December 2008]: Information in respect of payments within 10 days of receipt could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department is reviewing the processes associated with the overall payment cycle. Once this work is complete it should ensure that the Department is able to measure report performance against the Government's 10 day target. The 10 day target will apply to all MOD suppliers, irrespective of size, as it would be impractical to differentiate between small and medium size enterprises and others.

While the Department is working towards a meeting the 10 day target, it currently measures performance against the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act requirement of 30 calendar days. This allows up to 19 days for MOD branches to confirm that the services or goods supplied have been satisfactorily delivered and then 11 calendar days for the Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) to check the invoices and make payment.

The information available and published in the Annual Report and Accounts for 2006-07 and 2007-08, shows that 99.8 per cent. of all valid UK bills were paid within 11 calendar days of receipt in the FMSSC.