Leading trade association ECA today welcomed Liz Barclay as the new Small Business Commissioner (SBC). ECA works closely with the Office of the Small Business Commissioner to improve commercial practices and behaviour, particularly around late payments. The engineering services body has many small business Members. It actively supports the expansion of the Small Business Commissioner’s powers, remit, and role.
ECA’s Director of Legal and Business, Rob Driscoll says: “We believe the role of the Small Business Commissioner, together with the Prompt Payment Code has been and continues to be, transformative in leading the improvement of commercial behaviour for SMEs.”
The first day of the new Commissioner’s job coincides with the strengthening of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC). From 1st July, signatories to the Code must pay invoices issued by small businesses within 30 days.
Rob adds: “Our Members know too well the damaging effects late payments have on cash flow and ultimately on mental health and business survival. The Code addresses unfair payment practices within construction, which unduly affect small firms with less than 30 employees.”
The PPC is a voluntary code of practice sponsored by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Since moving to the Office of the Small Business Commissioner last year, the PPC has become a pre-condition to winning public sector work. The PPC Compliance Board – of which the SBC is a member – has powers to suspend or exclude firms from the PPC. With 3,000 firms signed up to the Code, it’s a step-change to improving payment performance within the sector.
ECA is looking forward to working with the new SBC to redress unfair commercial practices, which are the scourge of SMEs.