Managing Electronic Documents in The United Kingdom

As a customer in the United Kingdom, you can send electronic documents either by email (as attached files) or through the PEPPOL eDelivery Network. There's currently no standardization or consensus on the use of PEPPOL in the UK. However, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has decided to use PEPPOL as a document delivery method, and it's being adopted as a messaging standard when dealing with the NHS.

There is currently no unified legislation in the United Kingdom specifically addressing electronic invoicing. However, several best practice guidelines have been established, including:

  • Using a third-party solution employing a "three-corner model," wherein both the contracting authority and economic operators engage via a shared platform.
  • Implementing an internal system that facilitates electronic invoicing, allowing economic operators to directly submit their invoices electronically.
  • For institutions such as the NHS, compliance involves adopting Peppol as a framework for a "four-corner model." This entails contracting authorities and economic operators operating from distinct platforms or access points that are subsequently interconnected.

The table below outlines the current regulatory states and future outlooks for B2G, B2B, and B2C (business-to-consumer) sectors.

Transaction TypeCurrent Regulatory StateRegulatory Outlook
B2GElectronic invoicing has been mandatory since 2019.

Only the National Healthcare System in England, has formally defined to use of Peppol eDelivery Network and formats for electronic invoicing.

The rest of the public sector follows different regulations. These regulations require the use of various exchange formats.

Checkmark Supported by Document Capture.1
Checkmark Supported by Document Output.2
No changes are expected.
B2BNo legislation is in place.

To exchange electronic invoices between two parties, the exchange method and format must be agreed among them.

Checkmark Supported by Document Capture.1
Checkmark Supported by Document Output.2
No changes are expected.
B2CNo legislation is in place.No changes are expected.

  1. Peppol eDelivery Network supported with Peppol BIS 3.0 Invoice and Ordering.
  2. Peppol eDelivery Network supported with Peppol BIS 3.0 Invoice.

UK regions and electronic invoicing

Electronic invoicing solutions are being adopted across various regions in the UK. Each region has its unique approaches and platforms for facilitating electronic invoicing:

  • England - several local authorities in England have independently implemented electronic invoicing solutions as part of their procurement strategies. Additionally, there have been collaborative efforts among some authorities to establish shared-service centers, to enjoy the benefits of cooperation.
  • Scotland - the Scottish Government has introduced a national electronic invoicing solution through PECOS P2P. This platform can accept invoices in PDF format and convert them into XML files for further processing. The XML files generated comply with the electronic invoicing Directive 2014/55/EU.
  • Wales - the Crown Commercial Service in Wales has launched a Peppol framework as an optional choice for public bodies in Wales, but it is not mandatory for adoption.