Rentokil backed

The government-sponsored Better Payment Practice Group has endorsed Rentokil Initial’s revised 60-day payment policy in a move that the under-fire company hopes will finally draw a line under the late-payment furore in which it has become embroiled.

After a five-month dispute, a BPPG statement said Rentokil had reiterated its commitment to the group’s prompt payment code and clarified payment terms to small suppliers. Under the Late Payment Act small suppliers can charge a company 8% interest on unpaid bills after 30 days if no contract had been agreed.

Before a BPPG meeting earlier this week, the Forum of Private Business had called for Rentokil to change its payment policy or be banned from using the BPPG logo. Companies signed up to the payment code have to agree and stick to payment terms with the supplier.

Earlier this month, Rentokil issued a revised payment policy, which keeps to 60 days but offers suppliers an increased interest rate on overdue bills.

But despite the BPPG’s attempt to put the Rentokil row behind it, the meeting failed to resolve serious differences over the group’s complaints procedure.

A BPPG spokesman said there had always been clear complaints procedures which required members to send written complaints to a BPPG complaints administrator, detailing when and why they believed another member had broken the code.

The spokesman added the Forum of Private Business had not provided written evidence to back its claim that Rentokil was breaking the group’s code.

But forum head of policy Nick Goulding said he was unaware of a disciplinary procedure and the last meeting had failed to reach a consensus on a new complaints procedure.

Goulding insisted he had provided the trade department with written evidence on several occasions, explaining why Rentokil’s payment policy broke the BPPG code. He said he was still not satisfied with the payment terms.

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