South Tyneside Council introduces early payment scheme to help suppliers' cash flow

The initiative, which comes in the midst of The Journal's Pay Fair campaign, brings additional benefits for companies

Cllr Ed Malcolm of South Tyneside Council
Cllr Ed Malcolm of South Tyneside Council

As The Journal’s Pay Fair campaign continues to gather support, South Tyneside Council has introduced a new early payment scheme aimed at boosting its suppliers’ cash flow.

More than 3,000 businesses provide goods and services to the authority, contributing to everything from libraries to highways maintenance and waste disposal.

Through the voluntary Supplier Incentive Programme (SIP), those firms can now have their invoices fast-tracked weeks in advance in exchange for a small cash return or discount.

Other major benefits include free access to e-invoicing, same day invoice processing and dedicated account contacts that make payment processing more efficient. It is also hoped that businesses will develop closer long-term relationships with the council.

The council’s lead member for resources and innovation Ed Malcolm said: “Businesses, especially small and medium sized firms, are the backbone of our economy.

“But we know trading conditions have been very difficult over recent years with traders often needing to fund the gap between payments, through overdrafts or bank loans, which are increasingly hard to get and cost more in fees.

“Paying businesses early is one of the ways the council is supporting its key suppliers to keep their cash flowing in these challenging financial times.”

He added that the programme benefitted both businesses and the council itself.

“The scheme improves the council’s payment processes with invoices dealt with much more efficiently,” he said. “Money generated from early payments also goes back into protecting vital council services for local residents.

“It supports one of the council’s key priorities to grow the economy and is an excellent way for us to build stronger more integrated relationships with our suppliers.”

The council is working with Oxygen Finance to implement the programme, which has already proven popular since being introduced in other parts of the country.

Suppliers to South Tyneside Homes, which manages and maintains around 18,000 properties on behalf of the authority, could also benefit.

Through the Pay Fair campaign, The Journal is encouraging North East companies of all sizes to take a responsible and ethical approach to paying firms within their supply chain.

We are asking firms to sign the Business Ethics Pledge created by the North East Institute of Business Ethics, thereby agreeing to join with others to discuss the value of business ethics and to work with each other to transform their working environments for the better.

For more information, see http://www.nibe.org.uk/

More details on the Supplier Incentive Programme, meanwhile, can be found at www.southtyneside.info/sip . Alternatively, call (0191) 603 1855 or email SIP@southtyneside.gov.uk.

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