We have recently completed the fit-out of the offices of Maidstone council’s “one-stop-shop”, and were genuinely pleased to have our invoice for the architectural work paid in just 15 days

This echoes Gordon Brown’s assurance at the end of 2008 that the public sector would pay its suppliers within 14 days.

Prompt payment, by both public and private sector clients, supports cash flow, allowing consultants to plan and to resource projects effectively. It also helps to forge good relationships and breed loyalty – ever more important in times of recession.

I am concerned that payment may slow in 2009 as the recession bites, but we need to remember that being paid on time is better all round – for the project, the client, the consultant and the health of the industry as a whole.

If the public sector can continue to make good on its promise, the recession might be eased just a little for some companies in the sector.

Peter Brimelow, director, Brimelow McSweeney Architects