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Departmental Payments

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average and the median time his Department has taken to pay suppliers in each of the last 12 months; and what proportion of bills took more than six weeks to pay.

Mr. Freeman: Responsibility for such matters rests with the chief executive of the Defence Accounts Agency. I have therefore asked him to reply.

Letter from M. J. Dymond to Mr. Austin Mitchell, dated 1 December 1994:

You asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the average and the median time his Department has taken to pay suppliers in each of the last 12 months, and what proportion of bills took more than 6 weeks


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to pay. This matter falls to me, as Chief Executive of the Defence Accounts Agency, for reply.

2. Departments are required to provide details of their annual payment performance in their Departmental Reports. For financial year 1993/94, Ministry of Defence paid 99.9 percent of its bills in accordance with agreed contractual conditions or, where no such contractual conditions existed, within 30 days of the presentation of a valid invoice.

3. The MOD bill payment office at Liverpool also measure their performance against the higher departmental standard of payment within 11 working days of receipt of a valid invoice. They are currently achieving 97 percent.

4. As the vast majority of bills are paid within the 11 day target the average and median over the last 12 months would not be meaningful, but I have listed below, for each of the last 12 months for which figures are available, information which I hope you find useful.


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                  |Number of bills  |Percentage paid  |Percentage paid  |Number paid after                  

Month             |received         |within 11 days   |within 30 days   |30 days                            

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

October 1993      |258,459          |97.94            |99.99            |15                                 

November 1993     |277,925          |96.96            |99.98            |32                                 

December 1993     |258,203          |96.10            |98.09            |31                                 

January 1994      |249,488          |97.72            |99.99            |21                                 

February 1994     |244,325          |98.86            |99.99            |12                                 

March 1994        |283,141          |97.67            |99.98            |43                                 

April 1994        |272,224          |95.6             |99.99            |10                                 

May 1994          |272,133          |95.19            |99.98            |31                                 

June 1994         |250,732          |96.9             |99.99            |16                                 

July 1994         |244,214          |96.28            |99.91            |208                                

August 1994       |231,125          |96.38            |99.99            |1                                  

September 1994    |209,821          |97.73            |99.99            |3                                  

                                                                                                            

                  |3,051,790                                            |423                                

Internet

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to provide information via Internet; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames: My Department already uses Internet to make information widely available. In particular, press releases are made available electronically through the Central Office of Information to be accessible to users of Internet via data-star dialog (Europe) or Mead/Lexis/


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Nexis. My Department was involved, with the US Department of Defense, in the early development of Internet and has used Internet facilities for research purposes for many years. Security considerations prevent its widespread use within my Department but we are currently considering extending our use of Internet, to include the provision of a facility for making some Defence information, currently published in open literature, available electronically in a similar format to that adopted by the Central Computers and Telecommunications Agency and HM Treasury.


 

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