A SENIOR Thurrock Councillor has staked his reputation on ensuring that 97% of all invoices sent to the council are paid within 30 days.
Portfolio holder for central services, cllr Phil Smith told last weeks cabinet meeting that the present rate of payment was not good enough.
His comments came in response to a question from Conservative councillor, Shane Hebb.
Cllr Smith said: “The October figure was 90% and the November figure was also 90%. It just isn’t satisfactory.
One of the reasons is that the Oracle computer system has not functioned properly. There are also a lot of training issues.
But he added: “I have had assurance by officers that the figure will be 97% by March 2013.
“I wanted it at 98% but we will accept 97%”
Cllr Hebb said “Paying invoices on time is a basic requirement for the council, one which is not currently being met.
“The huge underperformance means thousands of pounds is owed to local businesses – businesses that have done the work the council asked for, but have not been paid. It’s simply not good enough.
“Labour have tried to blame the computer system and tried to blame businesses for not dating their invoices correctly.
“The reality is the blame game doesn’t help anyone – we need to make progress. I am pleased we have been promised improvements by March and I am sure local businesses will look forward to seeing the money they are owed in their accounts.”
Will Phil Smith still be in cabinet next year? Computer says no