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Departmental Billing

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the average length of time taken by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies to pay invoices from (i) small and medium-sized enterprises and (ii) all creditors in the last 12 months. (315136)

The following table shows the percentage of invoices that have been paid by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) within 10 working days during the nine month period to 31 December 2009.

Percentage paid within 10 working days

Core Department1


Executive agencies:

Northern Ireland Prison Service


Compensation Agency


Forensic Science Northern Ireland


Youth Justice Agency


1 Including arm’s length bodies and the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland but excluding Executive agencies and NDPBs

In line with guidance issued by Cabinet Office on 17 November 2008, the Department and agencies revised internal timescales for the processing and payment of invoices with effect from 1 December 2008. Since then, there has been a steady improvement in the NIO’s statistics.

The Government policy of paying within 10 working days applies to invoices from all suppliers irrespective of size—no distinction is made for small or medium-sized enterprises and separate statistics relating to these groups are not recorded.