Many clients of our company formation agents here at London Registrars are likely to take an interest in the launch by the Government last month of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) complaints handling scheme and website.
The scheme is designed to provide small businesses with an additional means of holding larger firms to account if they encounter problems receiving payment. The Small Business Commissioner (Scope and Scheme) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1273) set out further details of the complaints scheme.
How does the SBC scheme work?
The regulations were made and came into force in December 2017 and are in substantially the same form as the draft regulations published last February. Broadly, an eligible business is required to bring a complaint within 12 months of the incident complained of, although the SBC can extend this time limit.
Complainants are also not permitted to bring their case to the SBC before first communicating the substance of their complaint to the person against whom it is made, unless – in the view of the SBC – there is sufficient information that such communication would be detrimental to the complainant’s commercial interests.
Also set out in the Regulations are the requirements as to what form a complaint can take, and in what circumstances the SBC has the right to dismiss it. In addition, a list is included of the factors that must be taken into account by the SBC when deciding whether to identify the respondent in any report published under section 6 of the Enterprise Act 2016.
Learn more about the SBC online
Interested parties can now consult the SBC’s website at www.smallbusinesscommissioner.gov.uk, where information is provided about how unpaid invoices can be dealt with, how a complaint can be made to the SBC in relation to an unpaid invoice, and the exact role of the SBC and complaints scheme.
The current Small Business Commissioner is Paul Uppal, who took up the role in October 2017.
He commented at the time of the scheme’s launch: “Having run my own small business for over 20 years I am well aware that integrity and trust are key to running and building a small business. My mission is to help all small businesses nurture positive and lasting relationships with their customers that work in the best interests of both.
“Today I am launching a new website so small businesses know their rights, as well as how to contact me if they need further action to be taken when the larger businesses they supply owe them money.”
The news of the SBC’s long-awaited launch is very much welcomed here at London Registrars, and we will await further developments of potential benefit to our small business clients with interest. For further information about the services of our company formation agents if you are yet to establish your small firm, don’t hesitate to call us today on 020 7608 0011.