When IT contractors have had payment disputes – be it late payment or unpaid bills – with their clients, these contractors have had no choice but to wait for their invoices to be settled, and this can adversely affect their cash flow.
However, there now appears to be hope for them, as the latest announcement from the UK Government states that the Small Business Commissioner will be available from October 2017 to help IT contractors and small traders settle payment disputes with their clients.
However, a survey has found that just 2 per cent of small business contractors and suppliers believe that the Small Business Commissioner will be effective in helping them.
A survey conducted by FreeAgent found that nearly 57 per cent of small business owners were unaware of the Small Business Commissioner. This percentage appears to be consistent with the replies that the Government received for a consultation. Most responses to the consultation were submitted by business representative bodies. In fact, there were hardly any replies from small businesses.
The Government said that it is looking for small business owners to come forward and suggest which traders and contractors should be eligible to call the commissioner, the reasons to complain to the commissioner, and how the Small Business Commissioner will make recommendations for complaints.
The commissioner’s main role will be to support small business owners and self-employed individuals operating a business to resolve payment-related disputes. The commissioner will also be responsible for giving general information and advice, pointing IT contractors and small traders to services that will help resolve payment disputes, and handling all complaints related to payments.
The Government made it clear that even complaints on issues that occurred before the formal launch of the scheme will be handled by the commissioner.