While small and medium-sized companies in the construction industry continue to struggle with ever-lengthening payments, Highways England now tops the league of public-sector bodies for its payment performance.
Following a recent internal review, Highways England confirmed that £10.4bn of highways work has been awarded where project bank accounts (PBAs) have been put in place.
It is now well on its way to achieving and exceeding the £20bn target by 2020 that it set itself for putting these in place.
As a result of using PBAs, the body is able to ensure that all supply firms – including subcontractors and sub-subcontractors – are paid within 19 days.
Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group chief executive Professor Rudi Klein said: “The construction industry owes a debt of gratitude to the team at Highways England that has been responsible for achieving this remarkable performance.
“Project bank accounts are the most effective mechanism for ensuring that supply chain small and medium-sized firms are in regular and timely receipt of their cash. Other initiatives such as fair payment charters have proved to be a waste of time and effort.”
Highways England is now extending the use of PBAs to contracts other than for works.
They are being rolled out for designers, engineers, traffic modellers and national vehicle recovery contracts.