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Businesses get paid on time with the prompt payment code

Find out about the prompt payment code for contractors, suppliers and other organisations that provide a service to us.

We are contributing to a national initiative to prevent businesses failing because of late invoice payments. We will achieve this by making sure that invoice payments are made within contractually agreed terms or, where there is no 'formal' contract, within 30 days of a correct and properly addressed invoice.

Questions and answers

Will this apply to my organisation?

We are urging all commercial suppliers in our supply chain to sign up to the terms and conditions of the prompt payment code. This aims to pay suppliers on time, provide clear guidance to suppliers and encourage best practice.

What if we are not a small or medium enterprise?

All organisations should benefit from faster payments. Certainty of cash flow is paramount in the current financial climate. If you employ subcontractors, we would ask you to pass on those faster payment terms to help smaller organisations further down the supply chain.

In addition to the prompt payment code, the Mayor of Lewisham has pledged to pay undisputed invoices for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within 10 working days.

Will the terms and conditions of my contract have to change?


When do I start counting the days for the purpose of the prompt payment code?

We count from the day we get a correct invoice at our designated address (see below: where should I send my invoices?).

This is as recommended in the Government guidance on Best Value Performance Indicator 8.

What is a valid invoice?

If you don’t include a valid purchase order (PO) number in your invoice, we will return it. Your PO number is the letter P followed by 10 digits, and always starts P601 e.g. P6010000001.

Your contact at the Council will give you your PO number, which is automatically generated by our ordering system when we place an order with you. You can find more information about submitting a valid invoice in our invoice guidance for suppliers (below).

Where should I send my invoices?

Please email your invoices as a PDF to financialtransactions.payments@lewisham.gov.uk. Our postal address is:

Financial Transactions Payments Team
4th floor Laurence House

Who do I contact if I have a query about an invoice?

In the first instance, you should get in touch with your primary contact with us. This is usually the person who manages your contract or places orders with your company.

Who do I contact if I need to speak to someone in Accounts Payable?

You should call 020 8314 8174 or email financialtransactions.payments@lewisham.gov.uk. 

Please do not contact us until the payment is overdue. The more time we spend answering queries, the less we have to pay invoices.

How will I know when a payment has been made?

We only send remittance advice by email, so please supply your email to supplierdata@lewisham.gov.uk.

Do you make payments by other means?

Payment runs are made five times a week, Monday to Friday. Remittance advices are emailed on the day the payment is made. All payments are made by BACS and will take two working days to reach your account.

In exceptional circumstances we may make a payment by cheque. We are consulting on how best to manage the phasing out of cheques, so if you are not set up to receive payment by BACS, you may want to review your payment methods.

We are able to make payments by corporate card (currently VISA). This method of payment ensures that you get funds within three or four working days and reduces, if not eliminates, your debt collection costs.

What do I do if I want to make a complaint?

If you are unhappy with the service you have received regarding your payment you can make a complaint by using our complaints procedure, see comments, complaints and compliments.

Invoice guidance for suppliers

To ensure prompt payment, suppliers who provide goods or services to us must follow the guidance below when submitting an invoice.

Suppliers' invoices must include the following information. Invoices should normally be submitted within 14 days of the provision of goods and services:

  • date of invoice (plus tax point if not same as invoice date)

  • supplier name, address and VAT registration number

  • supplier bank details

  • the valid purchase order number provided by us (if a valid purchase order number is not provided the invoice may be returned unpaid)

  • the agreed charge (and where not complete a breakdown of the relevant work or services as they relate to this charge or an explanation of a difference in expected charge)

  • confirmation that the services detailed have been fully performed.

Where suppliers provide a large number of invoices each month, serious consideration should be given to consolidating their invoices and providing them in an electronic format. This method is not only the most efficient and cost effective but also the most environmentally friendly.

All invoices should be sent to:

Financial Transactions Payments Team
4th floor Laurence House

If suppliers follow the above guidance, we will consider the invoice as having been correctly rendered.

Upon receipt of a correctly rendered invoice, we will aim to pay valid invoices in line with agreed contract terms and, where none exist, within 30 days in line with our standard terms and conditions.

Suppliers should note that the date of invoice receipt is defined as the date of receipt at the above address.

If an invoice is disputed you should be informed. In such cases the payment date will reflect the date upon which the dispute is resolved.