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 30 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in 2007-08; and if he will make a statement.
The Department operates a system of settling invoices within 30 days of their receipt by allowing 19 days for confirmation that the service or supply has been satisfactorily performed and 11 days for the Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) to make the payment. Statistics for the 30 day cycle could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For this reason the payment performance of the FMSSC has been used to demonstrate the Department's commitment to prompt payment.
In 2007-08, the FMSSC paid 99.96 per cent., of all valid UK bills within 11 calendar days of receipt as part of the Department's contribution to improving the payment culture in the UK. The FMSSC also introduced daily payment runs to enhance its flexibility in providing a prompt and efficient service to industry and the smaller supplier.