Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, launched a report in Parliament on 1st May on his inquiry into electronic invoicing in the public sector, which concludes that £2billion a year could be saved. Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, backed the report and closed his speech by saying “We are on the case. This makes a huge load of sense. We are going to press ahead.”
The Parliamentary Inquiry on e-Invoicing was established by Stephen McPartland who similarly supported the launch of the BASDA Interoperability Charter. Together with the UKNEF (UK National Invoicing Forum) and BIS, he has also pushed for the establishment of a revised version of the original BASDA Interoperability Charter to support Government steps towards greater interoperability.
There is a move to get the Charter adopted asap to maintain momentum for interoperability around the publication of the report.
Key recommendations from the report:
- The adoption of eInvoicing in the UK public sector supporting economic growth: The Government should encourage transparency and greater efficiency by establishing defined targets for eInvoicing in the public sector, for example, by including how much they pay by eInvoicing and how quickly they pay, in their annual reports.
- Learning from the UK private sector: Make eInvoicing a contractual requirement in the public sector and set common standards against the background of the European e-procurement Directives, based upon experience from the private sector.
- Learning from other countries: The UK should be moving from average to world leading and, by looking at the experience of other countries, seriously consider whether mandating is required in the public sector.
- European legislation provides a framework for change: The Government should ensure that the rapid transposition of the European e-procurement Directives through legislation also confirms an obligation to adopt eInvoicing.
- Greater inclusion of SMEs in the public procurement process: eInvoicing solutions should be paid for by efficiency savings, and be free to small businesses (up to a defined level of activity) to encourage and ensure their involvement.
Tim Cole, Executive Vice President, Research & Development, Causeway Technologies and chair of the BASDA eBusiness SIG was at the launch event and has represented BASDA members at various meetings as well as pushing for the Interoperability Charter to be adopted.