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Government urged to enforce Payment Charter

Following the publication of the Payment Charter, the Government has been urged to implement the charter without delay.

“Given that there have already been many initiatives aimed at curbing payment abuse which have come more or less to nothing, enforcing compliance with the Payment Charter is of paramount importance,” said SEC Group chief executive Professor Rudi Klein – adding that the construction industry’s payment record was worse than that of any other sector.

SEC Group is urging Government to make compliance with the Payment Charter a pre-qualifying requirement for all public works contracts.

“Public sector bodies should introduce a ‘yellow card/red card’ system in respect of firms that fail to comply,” Professor Klein explained – the issue of a “yellow card” requiring compliance within a specified period and, in the event of continuing non-compliance, the issue of a “red card” involving disqualification from working in the public sector for at least two years.

He went on to encourage business secretary Dr Vince Cable to contact the top 100 private sector construction clients, inviting them to sign up to – and to enforce – the Payment Charter along the supply chain.

SEC Group also believes that a ‘charter ombudsman’ should be appointed to drive implementation and identify instances of non-compliance.

Professor Klein added that one effective way of implementation would be the continued promotion of the use of project bank accounts across the public sector and utilities sectors.

“Such measures are essential if the Payment Charter is not to become yet another wasted opportunity,” he insisted.

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