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Open consultation: Increasing the scope and powers of the Small Business Commissioner

This consultation seeks views on the merits of strengthening the Commissioner’s ability to assist small businesses by providing them with effective mechanisms for redress, in respect of late payments. The Commissioner would potentially gain powers to activate enforcement mechanisms against:

  • businesses who do not comply with information requests. We are seeking views as to whether the Commissioner should have the power to enforce non-compliance with their information requests, such as through court orders and / or financial penalties;
  • businesses who are found to have poor or unfair payment practices towards small businesses. This consultation explores whether sanctions should be imposed by the Commissioner under certain specific circumstances. These sanctions could include undertaking of binding payment plans and financial penalties where payment fails to take place.

We are also seeking views on extending the Commissioner’s scope to allow him or her to consider complaints by small businesses about other small businesses.

In addition, we are asking if the Commissioner should be given the powers below:

  • the power to investigate specific instances of suspected poor or unfair payment practices at his or her own initiative or following receipt of a complaint from a third party
  • the power to carry out a review on the effect of relevant legislation, policies and practices on small businesses, following an instruction by the Secretary of State. The review need not be limited to payment matters and may consider other issues which affect small businesses

See the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.