§ Mr. Ottaway
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average time it takes his Department to pay suppliers of goods and services to his Department.
§ Mr. Hurd
The Home Office payment procedure comprises two stages under which invoices are(a) initially received from suppliers by the headquarters section of the outstation which ordered the goods or services, and where, after being checked for accuracy and conformity with the orders, the invoices are authorised for payment and forwarded to the Office's accounts branch for (b) the preparation of payable orders under computerised central payment arrangements. The accounts branch daily receives more than 1,000 invoices for payment. The time taken by the accounts branch for examination and payment is normally about 6–10 working days, but following recent relocation of the branch is at present approximately 10–15 working days. An average time taken for the whole two-stage procedure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.