Government Appoints Small Business Commissioner

The first Small Business Commissioner has been appointment by the Government. The new role will provide invaluable support to small businesses in resolving late payment disputes with larger businesses by providing an in-house complaints handling function. Mr Paul Uppal, a father of three from Birmingham, will take up the position and will lead an independent office that will drive a culture change in payment practices. With over 20 years’ experience as a small business owner in the property sector, it is hoped that he will be able to oversee the cultural change of late payments by customers. Small businesses will be provided with general advice and information on matters such as resolving disputes including signposting to existing support services.

 

Commenting on the new appointment, Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark said, “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, providing jobs and opportunities across the country. I am delighted to announce Paul Uppal as the first Small Business Commissioner. His extensive experience as a small business owner makes him perfectly suited to champion the interests of small business and bring about a change in culture that will create a level playing field for everyone.”

 

The role of the Small Business Commissioner was established by the Enterprise Act 2016 and will be primarily concerned with the handling of complaints from small businesses who are experiencing payment issues in connection with the supply of goods or services to a larger business. Under the Act, a small business is defined as a business with a headcount of less than 50 employees. Complaints should be made within 12 months of the date of the incident complained of. Once the complaint has been decided upon, The Small Business Commissioner will have the discretion to publish a report on it that may detail recommendations about how similar disputes could be resolved in the future. They may also choose to name the respondent in the published report.

 

The office of the Small Business Commissioner is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.