Government asks Skanska for prompt payment advice

Skanska is one of eight organizations – ranging from bakers to bankers – represented in a new Advisory Council on Prompt Payments which has been set up by the Business, Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) with the aim of to strengthen the quick payment code.

Only 250 companies in the construction sector have signed the code since its creation more than four years ago and everything suggests that few of them are fully committed to its principles.

A recent poll by the Streetwise Subbie campaign group polled 216 trade contractors and found that 95% were paid more than 30 days on publicly funded projects, despite the government’s “30-day payment promise”. On private sector projects, less than 9% are paid within 30 days. (See our report here.)

Skanska was chosen to sit on the new advisory board “because of its good reputation in payment practices,” BIS said. The other organizations are Aviva, Barclays Bank, Bury Council, City of London Corporation, Fujitsu, Greggs and Stort Chemicals.

The Prompt Payments Advisory Council, which first met yesterday, was tasked with making proposals for:

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  • improve monitoring and enforcement of the Code
  • promote awareness of the Code
  • indicate whether it is necessary to update the Code.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Late payments continue to weigh on businesses, straining cash flow and hampering growth plans. We are committed to tackling this problem, but there is no quick fix. This is a culture change, which requires business and government to work together.

“The new advisory board will strengthen the prompt payment code, tackling bad practices and showcasing good practices. “

Philip King, CEO of the Institute of Credit Management (ICM) and Co-Chair of the Prompt Payment Code Advisory Board said: Awareness and Membership. Now is the time for the Code to be further strengthened and developed as a key tool to help tackle the scourge of late payments and drive a top-down corporate culture change.

“The launch of a dedicated Quick Checkout Code Advisory Committee is both positive and exciting. This will allow individuals to provide expert advice and identify further improvements to support the creation of an environment where paying on time is the norm rather than the exception.

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Elaine R. Knight

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