In February, MarketInvoice will be launching ‘The State of Late Payment’ report, a detailed anaylsis of over 20,000 invoices taken from debtors across the world in the last 5 years. 

The second preview of the report features the public sector, looking at the payment records of councils, hospitals, schools and more. 

UK public sector as debtor:

  2015 2014
Paid on time 3.3% 4.0%
Paid Late 61.7% 44.7%
Paid Early 35.0% 50.7%
1 week late + 44.3% 34.1%
2 weeks late + 30.9% 22.6%
1 month late + 10.9% 6.5%
Average payment days: 6.3 days late 0.4 days late


* Data taken from over 1500 invoices across 5 years – paid by local authorities & councils, educational institutions, the NHS, the Bank of England and central Government departments.

Key points:

  1. Late payment by public sector bodies appears to have increased significantly in the last year. In 2014 44.7% of all public sector owed invoices were paid late, in 2015 this number jumped to 61.7% – meaning nearly two-thirds of invoices owed by public sector bodies were paid late.
  2. In 2015 the public sector (61.7% paid late) had a worse record than FTSE 350 (60.9%) companies, banks (44.7%), and tech companies (50.5%).
  3. One third (31%) of invoices owed by public sector bodies were paid more than two weeks late.
  4. If you’re owed money by a public sector body, you will on average be paid nearly 1 week late (6.3 days), again this compares badly with FTSE 350 (4 days), banks (0.3 days), and tech companies (1.7 days).
  5. Educational institutions have a particularly poor record –
    1. 8 out of 10 of payments by schools, colleges and academies were paid late last year.
    2. Average pay day of 17.9 days late.

Sector comparisons:

Debtor sector Percentage of invoices paid late last year
Supermarkets 68.7%
Retailers 63.3%
Public sector 61.7%
Energy companies 54.7%
Technology companies 50.5%
Banks 44.7%


Debtor sector Average pay day last year (days late)
Public sector 6.3
FTSE 350 companies 4.0
Technology companies 1.7
Banks 0.3


Debtor sector Percentage of invoices paid 2 weeks or more late
Public sector 30.9%
Banks 21.4%
Technology companies 14.8%
FTSE 350 companies 12.3%

When a business uses MarketInvoice, we capture the due date, expected payment date, as well as the issue date of every invoice. Invoices are verified by the end debtor. Debtors pay into a trust account managed by MarketInvoice, meaning record the eventual payment date when the invoice is settled.