No Purchase Order, No Payment Policy frequently asked questions

From the 1 January 2012 Cheshire East are implementing a 'No PO, No Pay' (No Purchase Order, No Payment) policy as part of the established Shared Service Centre.  This means that without an official Council PO, payment of supplier invoices will be delayed.

All suppliers of goods and / or services to the Council must only accept a verbal or written order when a Purchase Order number is given.  Any invoice received that does not quote a valid purchase order number will not be processed and will be returned to the supplier.

Q.  Why implement this policy of No PO, No Pay?
The policy was implemented to increase efficiency in the procurement process across Cheshire East.  This follows a recent upgrade of our business system, which allows a streamlined procurement process.  The benefits to supplier will include a streamlined process for payment of invoices within terms of trade (if a PO number is quoted) and reduced processing costs for the Council.

Q. Will I be paid any quicker if I quote a PO number?
Standard payment terms are 30 days from date of invoice. Invoices received without a valid PO number quoted will not be paid and will be returned.  This may lead to a delay in the payment process.

Q.  What is the PO number sequence for Cheshire East?
All Valid PO numbers for Cheshire East are in the format 6nnnnnnnnn where 'n' is a number.

Q.  Past invoices without a PO number have been paid by Cheshire East.  Will this still happen?
As a result of formalising our purchasing arrangements, from 1 January 2012 all financial commitments for goods and services must be made using a purchase order.

As part of the 'No PO, No Pay' policy the supplier is expected to put the valid PO number on the invoice, otherwise it will be returned.

Q.  where can I email my invoice for payment?
The email address to send your invoice for payment is

Q.  An invoice has been returned requesting a valid PO number be quoted.  How can this be obtained?
You should contact the member of staff who gave the original instruction to supply the goods / services and ask them to provide a valid PO number.
When obtained, you should send a replacement invoice, quoting the valid PO number to:

Payments Section
Cheshire East Council
PO Box 3655

Q. I only supply Schools. Does this affect me?
Schools are not included in the No PO No Pay Policy. There will not be any change to the payment process for invoices received for schools.

Q. what happens if I get paid in a different way?

  • Purchase Cards – The Council use purchase cards for low value and one off purchases, you will receive a card number to process the payment against.
  • Interfaces – The Council uses various interfaces to pay suppliers, Invoices are sent direct to the services or invoices are raised by the services on your behalf directly into the system.

The Council has a short list of agreed exceptions (mainly payments to individuals or Utilities) to the No PO No pay policy. We are making all Council Officers aware of these agreed exceptions.

Unless you are paid via these routes you will require a Purchase Order numbering order for your payment to be processed without delay.

Q. What should I do if I am not a supplier and I have received a letter?

Some individuals who have received payments/ grants from the council in the past have been recognised in our accounting system as suppliers. If you have received a letter and do not provide us with goods and services please disregard the letter and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Q. What do I need to do if I currently submit my request for payment through a portal?

Some care related payment requests are submitted via a portal, please continue to do this as you currently do as these invoices are not processed by the central invoice team these are not included in the No PO No Pay roll out.  If you invoice Cheshire East outside of the portal you will require a purchase order number.

Page last reviewed: 01 June 2021