In October 2017, Paul Uppal (a former Conservative MP and entrepreneur) was appointed to the newly-established post of Small Business Commissioner (SBC) based in Birmingham. At the time, it was estimated that the office of the SBC would be operational by the end of 2017. The SBC is an independent public body and covers the whole of the UK – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
On 20 December 2017, the government launched the complaint handling service of the SBC to ensure fair payment practices for small businesses. This means that the Commissioner and his team can now handle complaints from small businesses about unfair payment practices. For example, to help solve payment disputes between small and large companies especially in relation to late payment concerns.
The Commissioner’s website is also live, providing guidance to small businesses on payment issues including how to take action if a payment is overdue. The SBC and his team will be expected to help drive a culture change in payment practices.
There are many systematic issues in the supply chain between small and large businesses and this new initiative is designed to help small businesses settle their problems with larger corporations quickly and inexpensively while at the same time maintaining their business relationships. Let’s see if it works!