Small Business Commissioner

Summary

The Small Business Commissioner was established by the UK government in the Enterprise Act[1] of 2016. Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark announced the appointment of Paul Uppal to the newly established post of Small Business Commissioner on 2 October 2017. On 20 December 2017, working with digital agency "dxw digital", an advice and complaints service[2] was launched to help small businesses get paid on time and ensure fair payment practices.

The role of the office of Small Business Commissioner is to provide general information and advice to small businesses about payment issues with larger businesses, and direct them to services to help them resolve their payment issues. The Commissioner also offers a complaint service. Supporting the Britain's 5.5 million small businesses is a priority outlined in the UK government’s Industrial Strategy.[3]

BackgroundEdit

The Small Business Commissioner was established as a non-departmental public body by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.[4] It was announced in a discussion paper issued in July 2015[5] and was formally proposed for creation within the Enterprise Bill introduced into the UK Parliament in September 2015.[6]

Anna Soubry MP, the Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, believes that the Small Business Commissioner will 'build the confidence and capabilities of small businesses to help them assert themselves in contractual disputes and negotiate more effectively'.[7]

Under the legislation, the Commissioner will:

  • enable small businesses to resolve disputes and avoid future issues through general advice and information
  • signpost to appropriate services e.g. sector ombudsmen or regulators, existing independent advice services, approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers or the Commissioner's own complaints handling function
  • consider complaints by small business suppliers about payment issues with larger businesses that they supply[8]

The Federation of Small Businesses has described the proposal as 'a step in the right direction'.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Enterprise Act
  2. ^ https://www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk/
  3. ^ "Government appoints Small Business Commissioner to champion voice of small business".
  4. ^ Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy
  5. ^ Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Enterprise Bill: a Small Business Commissioner https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/450695/BIS-15-438-a-small-business-commissioner.pdf July 2015, accessed 26 September 2015
  6. ^ http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/enterprise.html
  7. ^ Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Government Response: Small Business Commissioner, September 2015 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/461675/BIS-15-548-small-business-commissioner-government-response.pdf accessed 26 September 2015
  8. ^ UK Government, Small Business Commissioner role https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/small-business-commissioner-role accessed 26 September 2015
  9. ^ Federation of Small Businesses, 'Enterprise Bill needs to deliver for small businesses, says FSB' 17 September 2015 http://www.fsb.org.uk/pressroom/assets/92%20-%20late%20payment%20commissioner.pdf accessed 26 September 2015