Information for council contracted suppliers

Message for suppliers to the council

Firstly, the council is most appreciative of the ongoing commitment and support from our contracted suppliers to maintain services and supplies to the council during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We fully appreciate that this is a very challenging time and that we will all need to work together in the coming weeks.

We also appreciate that some suppliers may struggle to fully meet their full contractual obligations, and that we may need to alter our requirements, temporarily suspend some services, or change ways of working to do what is necessary for our community.

During this period the council would like to work together with our contracted suppliers to provide support where it is possible in order that we can resume normal contract service delivery as soon as possible once the COVID-19 outbreak is over.

Supplier relief

The council has been working with government and acting on guidance from the Cabinet Office and are able to offer some supplier relief (support), on a case by case basis, to those organisations that are most at risk according to the nature of the services, goods or works being provided, the challenges being faced, the contracted terms and the constraints of any statutory requirements.

Every contract will have its own unique characteristics and therefore the relief available will vary case by case, but some examples could be as follows:

  • Increased frequency of invoicing
  • Payment in advance in extreme circumstances and in any event not more than 25% of the value
  • Redeployment of any currently unrequired services capacity to other areas of need
  • Change to contract requirements including an extension to current agreed end date
  • Change to delivery locations, frequency and timing of delivery
  • Changes to targets and performance indicators
  • Extension of time for contract performance
  • Revised milestones or delivery dates
  • Payment at usual contractual rates for certain critical services with analysis and reconciliation at a later date

There may be other forms of relief that may be helpful in the short-term so please feel free to suggest those if it ensures we can maintain business continuity.

Supplier relief is currently available up to the end of June 2020, and this may be extended further at a later date if we are advised of this by Government.

Earlier invoice payment

As an immediate step the council has started measures aiming to pay all validated invoices as soon as possible, rather than on the usual 30 day terms. This will be actioned automatically, there is no need to apply.

We aim to ensure that all invoice payments are processed as promptly as possible. You will appreciate that the pandemic is impacting our capacity, so please bear with us. You can help us to achieve this target by ensuring that you provide full details of the goods/service provided on your invoice. It is particularly important that you quote your purchase order (PO) number.

We do not commit to the prompt payment of invoices without a PO number or, in the absence of a PO, the name of the council officer who requested the service. Your invoice is likely to be returned to you if it does not contain enough information for our central accounts payable team to identify the service you dealt with.

Our facilities for receiving documents are limited, therefore please communicate electronically and do not send in paper invoices. Please invoice us using one of these methods, in order of preference:

  1. If we already have an agreement with you to use our 'self-invoicing portal', please continue to use that and ignore options two and three below.
  2. If you aren’t signed up to use our 'self-invoicing portal' then the best method of submitting your invoice is to use our 'submit an invoice' online form. This will ensure that we are able to capture all the information we need and reduce the risk of delay in payment.
  3. Alternatively, you can email your invoice to payments@salford.gov.uk. We will still process your payment as quickly as we can, but if your invoice does not contain all the information we need, there is a risk of delay, so we would advise you to use option two above.

Requesting relief

If you need some flexibility or support up to the end of June 2020 and would like to request some contractual relief you should make contact with your normal council contract manager or day to day contact to discuss the options that might be available.

Please could you then follow up with a formal relief request by email to your contact, with your request and your rationale and justification in order that the Council can quickly determine the best solution in the best interests of both parties and our community.

If you are unsure of the email address of the contract manager or your day to day contact you can also send your relief request to the following email address: procurement@salford.gov.uk and the request will shared with the correct person and you will be advised of the correct email address for future communication.

Supplier obligations during the relief period

The council needs all suppliers to ensure that business continuity is maintained wherever possible, and that you enact your business continuity plans to do your utmost to support the council’s requirements.

In some cases the council may need to make quick decisions with imperfect information, and any supplier relief offered is conditional on suppliers agreeing to act and work on a total open book basis with appropriate cost transparency in order that the council can continue to meet its value for money obligations.

Other conditions for any supplier relief are as follows:

  • Suppliers must commit to ensuring that any required cost data is made available to the council where requested or agree to provide it at a later date for audit and reconciliation. Suppliers must note that the council does not tolerate fraud and will take action as necessary if fraud is suspected.
  • Where relief is offered suppliers must agree to continue to pay their own employees and subcontractors to ensure business continuity.
  • Suppliers should retain records during the relief period in order to support future reconciliation.
  • Suppliers should strictly adhere to the agreed invoicing protocols in order that the council can pay you quickly, in particular by quoting a PO number or council officer contact.
  • Suppliers should identify in their invoices which elements relate to normal business as usual matters, and which elements are related to the impact of COVID-19 where relief has been agreed.
  • If it is found that any supplier is found to be taking undue fair advantage, or failing in their duty to act transparently and with integrity, then the council has a right to take action to recover payments made.

Finally, we feel sure that everybody will work together to deliver the best outcomes for our community and that any agreed relief up to the end of June 2020 is offered on this basis.

Your best efforts to support the council and our community are genuinely appreciated.

This page was last updated on 22 May 2020

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