The government-appointed Small Business Commissioner (SBC) has now published detailed guidance on how small businesses can access his services to help with late payment, explains ICAEW Head of Enterprise Clive Lewis.
Details of how to complain to the Small Business Commissioner can be found at www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk.
To bring your complaint to the SBC you must:
Your complaint usually needs to be about a problem with a payment:
Email the SBC complaints team with the details. Remember to include your name, business name, address, telephone and email contact details. Your complaint should also include:
Enquiries should be made to the Commissioner directly by the business affected.
You’ll get an automatic reply, so you know the SBC has received your email. The SBC will follow up within two days to let you know if they can take on your complaint and if more details are required.
A caseworker is assigned to each case. The caseworker will be in regular contact to update you on progress. The whole process usually takes from four to six weeks.
The caseworker will consider the evidence from both sides and decide what’s fair. They’ll then write to tell you:
The SBC’s recommendations are not legally binding, so you can still take other action (for example go to court) if the recommendations don’t help solve the problem.
However, if the SBC thinks your case is an example that could help change payment practices it might be included in a public report. Details that could damage your business won’t be included.
To find out about how the SBC could help contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a small business that is adversely affected by a payment-related issue submit your complaint to the SBC at: email@example.com
For more information go to the SBC website: www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk
Clive Lewis is ICAEW Head of Enterprise
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