Notice to Suppliers - Achieving Purchase Order Compliance

Page updated on: 16/08/2023

From 1st August 2022 we will be making some changes to how we handle invoices.

We are introducing a compulsory purchase order policy which will help to speed up the processing of invoices and is a key financial control measure for the Council. This will ensure that the council only pays for goods, services and works received when they have been properly authorised in accordance with the Council’s financial governance framework.

Applying this policy means that we will not be able to pay invoices received without a correct and valid purchase order (PO) number quoted (exclusions apply). Invoices received without a valid PO will be returned to the person who took the order to obtain a valid purchase order number, they will contact you and you will be required to re-issue the invoice quoting the purchase order number.

In order to avoid any unnecessary delay to your payment, you should only supply goods/services to the Council once you are in receipt of a valid PO number which is numerical and follows the format of 1nnnnnnn. You must not, under any circumstances, accept any verbal or written order from a Council officer unless a valid PO number is given or an exception as set out in the attached FAQs applies or it is an emergency order.

If you are a regular supplier of goods/services to the Council, you may wish to get in touch with your usual order contact if you have any questions or to confirm your status.

If your goods/services have already been provided to the Council, and you have not received a Purchase Order you must contact the member of Council staff who gave the original instruction to supply the goods/services and ask them to provide a valid Purchase Order number.

The Purchase Order must be quoted on the invoice before being submitted to the Council for Payment. Any invoice received without a valid Purchase Order will be returned to you requesting that you reissue the invoice quoting the Council Purchase Order number.

The Council standard payment terms are 30 days from receipt of a valid invoice.

It is your responsibility to inform the Council of any changes to your business information including bank account, VAT and Companies House details.

A set of frequently asked questions is available.

Exceptions list

POs are not required in these circumstances:

  • Utility bills
  • Postal services
  • Photocopying services
  • Payment to individuals (e.g. Foster Payments, Volunteers, Expenses, Prizes, etc)
  • Rents
  • Occupational Health medical reports
  • Subscriptions to societies
  • Payments on behalf of public bodies
  • TV Licences
  • General Provisions (Food and Drinks) - Catering only
  • Emergency payments