Council hits back at FOI criticism

FENLAND Council has hit back at criticism from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) that it had failed to answer an FoI request on the payment of invoices.

A spokesman for the council said: “In fact, we provided a clear response to the FPB’s request. We stated our standard payment terms – 30 days from date of invoice - and added: “The Council no longer collates or reports, and is not required to, figures relating to payment of invoices. The Council is committed to ensuring it meets its standard payment terms and where necessary works closely with its suppliers should a variation to these terms be necessary. As the FPB was told, we are no longer required to collate these figures. When the Coalition Government came in two years ago, it scrapped many of the “Best Value Performance Indicators” that previously obliged councils to keep a wide range of data. That decision was part of its plan to cut unnecessary bureaucracy.

The indicator on supplier payment times is one of those that is no longer required, which is why we no longer spend time collecting that information.

“We support the Prompt Payment Code and pay our suppliers according to the terms they lay down and they are happy with that. It should also be noted that our external auditors, Price WaterhouseCoopers recently commended the council for all aspects of its financial management.”