Small Business Commissioner due in October

The first official pinpointing of when the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) will be on-hand to help unpaid freelancers has been blighted by a lack of faith in its services.

In fact, following publication of new rules to put the commissioner to work from this October, a poll reportedly shows only 2% of freelancers think the SBC will be effective.

Such self-employed or micro-business owners are typically not even aware of what the SBC is or will do, added pollsters for FreeAgent, as 57% said they had never heard of it before.

Obtained by the Mail on Sunday, the finding appears to tally with what the government’s consultation reply on the SBC says about responses it received -- that only one came from an individual.

Business representative bodies submitted the most responses, even ahead of those who the SBC will fight on behalf of -- actual small businesses (responsible for just 7 responses).

Now, the government wants to hear views on which small traders should be able to call on the commissioner; the criteria to complain and how the SBC -- dubbed ‘the late payment tsar’ -- will make recommendations for complaints.

The government has reminded that the commissioner’s role will be to support small businesses and self-employed people who are a business, or run one, in resolving payment disputes.

It will provide general advice and information; direct small traders to existing dispute resolution services (foregoing the need for it to intervene directly), and will handle complaints about payment issues.

The government added: “The SBC [will be able] to receive complaints on matters that occurred before the date the complaints scheme formally begins, 1 October 2017. This will broaden access to the complaints service and help the SBC build momentum.”


26th February 2017

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