Gateshead Council, Middlesbrough Council and Northumberland County Council have appointed Oxygen Finance to run their Supplier Incentive Programmes that are designed to pay suppliers earlier.
Commenting on the string of appointments Oxygen Finance’s Sales Director, Simon Whittle, said “These three new Supplier Incentive Programmes follow on from Oxygen being awarded the NEPO framework in 2020. We’re delighted that Gateshead, Middlesbrough and Northumberland have joined our existing NEPO clients South Tyneside and Newcastle, furthering Oxygen’s considerable presence in the North-East.”
The Supplier Incentive Programmes will run for five years and enable the councils to pay suppliers invoices worth millions of pounds much earlier than usual, provide an accelerated invoice query resolution process, and help raise the profile of participating suppliers within each council.
Jan Willis, Executive Director of Finance at Northumberland County Council said: “We are committed to investing in strategic initiatives that help us to protect future regional growth and development. The council is an important driver of business across the county, so it is essential that we set the standard for good financial governance. The implementation of a sector leading early payments initiative reinforces our commitment to the many thousands of suppliers we work with.”
All three councils are members of buying partnership NEPO, the North-East Procurement Organisation, taking the number of NEPO councils working with Oxygen Finance to five.
“In Gateshead we want people and businesses to thrive. Signing up to the Supplier Incentive Programme demonstrates our commitment to supporting local businesses by paying invoices earlier enabling them to have payment when they need it without delay. It also enables Gateshead Council to be a more attractive customer who can work flexibly and in partnership with our suppliers.” said John Shiel, Gateshead Council’s Service Director for Financial Management.
The three councils have also signed up to Oxygen’s FreePay service, which increases liquidity in local economies by paying small and micro businesses early without charge.
Ian Wright, Director of Finance at Middlesbrough Council said, “Our Supplier Incentive Programme, in conjunction with the FreePay programme we will also be running, gives suppliers in Middlesbrough the opportunity to improve their cashflow and further strengthen their relationship with the council, whilst also supporting local services.”
Speaking about the news, Steven Sinclair, NEPO’s Procurement & Commercial Director, said: “We are delighted that five of our members have launched Supplier Incentive Programmes with Oxygen Finance, the sole supplier of our UK-wide framework agreement. These programmes help address challenges faced by both the public sector and its supply chain, by driving efficiencies and supporting improved cashflow”.
The announcement follows the decision earlier in the year by Bristol City Council to launch their programme with Oxygen, and the successful five-year renewal of similar programmes by South Tyneside and Croydon Councils in the summer.