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SEC Group calls for prompt payment government inquiry

In addition to calling for rapid implementation of the recommendations in the National Audit Office (NAO) Paying government suppliers on time report, the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group has also called for further action.

It has written to chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge, inviting her to consider an inquiry to establish the measures that will be required to implement the NAO’s recommendations.

One of the aspects of the report includes urging the Cabinet Office to provider stronger strategic leadership of the government’s payment policy.

Suggested improvements include more monitoring and reporting on payment performance to suppliers within the supply chain, along with performance measurement to ensure all departments and agencies adopt a standard approach to reporting.

This will overcome issues such as defining the point a 30 day payment period comments, which public bodies currently have different approaches toward.

SEC Group chief executive officer Rudi Klein said the NAO had been highly critical of public bodies’ failure to monitor payments, but “Good intentions had not been turned intl reality. The NAO did not seem to be too impressed with codes and charters especially where there were no sanctions for non-compliance,” he said.

The NAO has also recommended better use of initiatives including project bank accounts, of which the SEC Group has been a strong advocate.