HL Deb 18 July 1996 vol 574 cc72-3WA
Lord Brabazon of Tara

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proportion of bills were paid on time by government departments and their agencies during financial year 1995–96.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie

Government departments and their agencies are required to monitor their payment performance and to publish the results in their departmental or annual reports. The following table lists, by department, the proportion of bills paid within 30 days, or other agreed credit period, of receipt of a valid invoice for financial year 1995–96.

The figures in the tables have been calculated using different monitoring methods and concerns have been expressed that these differences have made comparisons between departments difficult.

The Prime Minister therefore announced on 11th March this year that more consistent monitoring requirements were to be placed on departments and that they were to publish their performance against strict targets in an annual league table. This would allow more valid comparison between departments in addition to the year on year comparisons possible under the previous monitoring system.

The new monitoring requirements have been in place since 1st June 1996 and the first league table of performance based on these requirements will be published in the autumn. It is currently the intention to publish the information annually thereafter, following the end of each financial year. All departments should aim to pay 100 per cent. of invoices, including disputed invoices once the dispute has been settled, on time in these terms. No department should fall below 95 per cent. for undisputed bills.

The results for 1995–96 based on the previous monitoring procedures are:

Departmental payment performance 1995–96
Department Percentage of invoices paid on time
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 83
Registry of Friendly Societies 96
Charity Commission 88.8
HM Customs and Excise 94
Cabinet Office 84
Central Statistical Office 88
Crown Prosecution Service 94.3
Ministry of Defence 99.9
Department for Education 75.2
Employment Department 97.1
Employment Service 98.5
Office of Electricity Regulation 99.66
Office for Standards in Education 96.3
Department of the Environment (incl. Office of Water Services) 92
—Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre 90
—Ordnance Survey 91
—PSA Services 100
—Health and Safety Executive 93.8
Office of Fair Trading 96
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 93.5
Forestry Commission 86
Office of Gas Supply 99.8
Department of Health 95.2
Home Office 91
Inland Revenue 92.3
National Investment and Loans Office 100
Office of the National Lottery 89
Lord Chancellors Department/The Court Service 93.9
Department of National Heritage 91
Department for National Savings 99.2
Northern Ireland Office 96.6
Overseas Development Administration 90
HM Paymaster General 84.6
Office of Passenger Rail Franchising 97.4
Office of the Rail Regulator 98.7
Serious Fraud Office 92
Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools (Wales) 98.5
The Scottish Office 94
Department of Social Security 96
Office of Telecommunications 94
Department of Trade and Industry 93
Department of Transport 90.3
HM Treasury 86
The Welsh Office 95