Cumbria County Council and Oxygen Finance have been selected as shortlisted finalists in the Public/Private Partnership category in the 2018 LGC Awards. The awards, run by Local Government Chronicle, is one of the biggest and most prestigious awards ceremonies for the local government sector.

Cumbria and Oxygen Finance have been shortlisted for their work on the Council’s Premier Supply service (PSS).  Launched in 2014, the programme has gone from strength to strength, generating savings and making significant improvements to the Council’s processes and efficiency.

PSS is an early payment programme that enables suppliers to have their invoices paid ahead of the contracted term in exchange for a pre-agreed discount, applied dynamically as the invoice is paid – the level of the discount is directly proportional to how early the payment is made.

The value can be seen both in terms of hard financial benefits for the Council and social value creation from delivering cash to suppliers, with payments typically being made 20 days earlier than their standard contracted term.

Approximately £200m has been injected into the local economy through early payment of invoices, helping cash flow for local SMEs, reducing their reliance on bank financing and increasing their stability and capacity to invest for the future.

LGC editor Nick Golding said: “To be shortlisted for an LGC Award shows a council service is among the country’s most innovative, and doing the most to support the needs of local residents as councils face continuing budget cuts. We should salute the council officers and councillors doing the most to ensure our vital public services thrive in this era of austerity.”