From the top · 13 February 2017

Applications open for long-awaited small business commissioner

Small business minister Margot James will make the final appointment decision
The government has opened applications to become the UK’s first small business commissioner, to help the country’s small business owners resolve payment disputes with large customers.

The successful candidate will work on behalf of Britain’s small firms in government, providing general information, handling complaints and directing small business owners towards the right payment dispute resolution services.

First introduced in July 2015 as part of a wider government plan to tackle Britain’s late payment problems, news that an individual will now be appointed to the long-awaited role will be welcomed by the small business community.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has said the successful candidate will have credibility amongst both large and small businesses, be experienced in resolving payment disputes and will have a strong appetite to become a national small business champion.

Applications will run from 12 February to 13 March 2017, with the final appointment decision to be made by secretary of state Margot James, supported by a panel of judges amongst which will be national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry.

Commenting on start of the search process, James reiterated the significance of the small business commissioner to the government’s overall strategy against late payments.

we all rely on the UK’s 5.5m small businesses and an unfair payment culture that hurts these firms has no place in an economy that works for all, she said.

this is why we are looking for an exceptional individual to help smaller firms resolve payment disputes and champion a culture change in how businesses work together.

Once appointed, it is likely the small business commissioner’s office will be based in Birmingham. The appointment is one of several measures to be introduced at the start of 2017 to drive a change in payment culture between UK businesses.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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