Francis Maude demands that prompt payment by the Government is passed on to the SME sector

Published on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 10:54
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, today renewed the government’s pledge to increase support for Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by calling on big business to follow the Government’s lead and pay their bills promptly (July 19th)

He made the call at today’s Innovation Launch Pad Product Surgery, a special event organised to enable some of Britain’s most innovative and pioneering SMEs to pitch their ideas direct to Government buyers.  Nine trailblazing SMEs were chosen for the event – the culmination of a process involving over 2000 civil servants voting on ideas submitted by 350 SMEs.

Francis Maude said:

“Prompt payment is crucial to smaller companies. The Government has an excellent record on paying our bills quickly and we expect our suppliers to do the same and pay sub-contractors well within the 30 day limit. When work has been done, especially by an SME, it is just inexcusable not to pay up quickly for that service.

“We will be keeping a close eye on how the big suppliers choose to pay their sub-contractors and we won’t shy away from naming and shaming those that we find have failed to pay promptly.”

The Minister set out measures for monitoring prompt payment, including:


  • Departments will monitor prime contractors performance as part of their contract management processes.
  • SMEs will be encouraged to use the ‘Mystery Shopper’ service to report to Government instances where payment is slipping. The results will be published on the Cabinet Office website.
  • The Crown Representatives team, who coordinate the Government’s approach to the management of key suppliers across all departments,   will strongly encourage prime contractors to pay more quickly than 30 days.

Today’s event builds on the radical package of measures set out earlier in the year, since February:

  • 14 Government departments have eradicated the burdensome Pre-Qualification Questionnaire process from low value tenders.
  • The ‘Contracts Finder’ website has received over a million page views and has over 16,000 registered users.
  • To date, 600 contracts worth over £80 million have been awarded to SMEs.

Source: Cabinet  Office

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