Small Business Commissioner

Body: Small Business Commissioner
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Business, Finance & Skills
Location: Birmingham
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration for the role will be £120,000 per annum
Time Requirements: The role of the Commissioner is full-time

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 07/12. Please note this date is subject to change.

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The role has six broad elements:  

  • setting the strategic direction of the organisation and delivering against a robust business plan; 
  • raising the awareness and profile of the Commissioner and the Office of the SBC; 
  • providing strong leadership to your staff; 
  • overseeing investigations into complaints and publishing outcomes; 
  • leading the Prompt Payment Code compliance and supporting Code reforms to ensure it plays a more significant role in driving improved payment practices; and 
  • performing the role of Accounting Officer for the organisation. 


Strategic direction of the organisation 

As Commissioner, you will need to be tenacious and energisedleading (with input from advisory boards as appropriate) the development and application of strategies and approaches to significantly drive up the number of in-scope enquiries and complaints received by the Office of the SBC. You will set stretching targets for the number of enquiries/complaints received, with these forming part of the critical metrics for the organisation. You will also oversee the development and delivery of an ambitious Business Plan. 


Awareness raising among stakeholders 

You will lead the work to establish the Office of the SBC as the go-to organisation for small businesses experiencing problems being paid by larger businesses – providing advice and information and raising awareness of existing support to build the confidence and capabilities of small businesses to assert themselves when dealing with their large business suppliers. To support this aim you will coordinate the development and implementation of an ambitious Communications Plan.  

You will establish and maintain a high profile and credibility with small businesses, government and the Devolved Administrations to successfully influence the resolution of late payment disputes. You will work with large businesses to drive the universal adoption of prompt payment practices and promote a culture of paying on time, especially to small businesses suppliers. You will be required to travel throughout the UK to engage with businesses and comfortable talking with everyone from a freelancer to a FTSE CEO. You will also need to be comfortable with technology enabling you to hold meetings online. 


Staff leadership 

You will lead a small team, initially consisting of 11 staff, with the support of the Commissioner’s Head of Operations. You will need to be inclusive in the leadership and development of your staff, ensuring they are equipped and enabled to deliver, and are provided with clear strategic direction. You will also actively engage with and utilise the wider experience and knowledge of the SBC’s Non-Executive Directors to support strategic decision making. 


Late payment investigations and report publishing 

In line with statutory functions you will consider complaints from small businesses relating to payment matters in connection with the supply of goods and services to larger businesses. You will make non-binding decisions and recommendations on them, requiring you to demonstrate excellent judgement and take into account the broad range of information available to you. You must be confident in challenging poor payment practice where you find it, speaking up for small businesses in disputes and praising larger businesses who seek to improve their payment practices as a result of your intervention.   


Prompt Payment Code  

You will lead the Code compliance work, rigorously ensuring companies continue to meet the standards of the Code. You will support the BEIS-led work to strengthen the Code, increase signatories, and ensure it plays a more significant role in driving improved payment practices. 


Accounting Officer role 

As Accounting Officer, you will take personal responsibility for safeguarding public funds, alongside core operations of the Office. Your accountabilities will include assuring Parliament, key partners and the public of high standards of probity in the management of public funds, including publishing an annual report and accounts detailing the activities of the Office of the SBC. 


Person Specification

Essential Criteria: 

The successful candidate will demonstrate in their application all of the following:  

  • strategic outcome-focussed leadership and delivery; 
  • targeted partner engagement to raise the profile of organisation; 
  • outstanding communication, interpersonal and influencing skills; 
  • encouraging staff to excel in the delivery of corporate objectives; 
  • driving a culture of innovation and continuous improvement; and, 
  • evidence-based decision making. 


Desirable Criteria: 

  • experience of working with or within both small and larger businesses in the UK; 
  • financial governance; 
  • an understanding of UK law, specifically contract law; and, 
  • experience or understanding of alternative dispute resolution. 


Additional Information

The closing date for applications is 25/10/2020 at 23:00. Late applications will not be accepted.

If you are shortlisted for the role, due diligence will be carried out and your referees are likely to be contacted.

You will be asked to prepare some identification documents if you are invited to an interview – further information will be provided at that stage.

Interviews are likely to be held remotely through Microsoft Teams.

SBC Applicant Pack
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