Birmingham City Council 'turns around invoice fiasco'

Birmingham City Council's system for paying invoices is back on track, the authority's cabinet will be told today (Monday).

Birmingham City Council's system for paying invoices is back on track, the authority's cabinet will be told today (Monday).

A report to the council's cabinet will say 94% of its bills were paid on time in May - "the best figure recorded in at least three years by the council".

Computer Weekly had reported on problems with the payment of invoices by what is Europe's largest local authority since it introduced a new SAP-based financial system. The council had said about 10,000 invoices were "stuck" in the system in May.

The council initially said it had cleared a backlog of invoices that built up when it implemented its Voyager system in October 2007, but then admitted that this led to a build-up of unpaid invoices "further along in the payments system".

It set 13 May as "approvals day" to clear backlogs and to "identify and permanently eradicate any remaining payment issues". Today's annual update to the cabinet on what the council calls "business transformation programmes" suggests a remarkable turnaround in its invoice-payments system.

The number of unpaid invoices stood at 18,000 in February, with the council suffering the embarrassment of bailiffs visiting its on at least one occasion to pursue a debt.

Glyn Evans, the council's corporate director of business change, said the "approvals day" had cleared 2,000 of the then 10,000 backlog, and the authority paid 94% of invoices within 30 days during that month.




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