All Blogs

IPOS Mediation (IPOS) and Resolve Disputes Online (RDO) announce joint venture to tackle the SME late payment crisis.

London, England – 4th May 2023 – IPOS Mediation (IPOS) and Resolve Disputes Online (RDO), both pioneering dispute resolution companies, today have announced a joint venture to realise the LawtechUK proposal to utilise Online Dispute Resolution to tackle the SME late payment crisis.

There is now a technological solution to a longstanding problem facing SMEs. The problem is late payments which affects most small businesses. The solution is known as online dispute resolution - an inexpensive and quick way of resolving legal disagreements. Resolving late payment disputes through traditional courts are lengthy, disproportionately expensive, and can jeopardise ongoing business relationships.

Representing 99.9% of UK businesses and ~60% of jobs and private sector turnover, SMEs are essential to the UK economy. SMEs suffer £40bn in annual losses due to legal problems, resulting in over one million business owners suffering anxiety and ill health. One of the biggest issues for these businesses is late payments and the lack of an efficient way of recovering debts, which costs the UK economy £2.5bn each year . SME late payment debt has now risen to £50bn , with a cost to SMEs of over £5bn each year to collect money owed. Each SME deals with an average of five overdue invoices amounting to sums of £25,000 at any one time, spending an hour and a half every day, and £500 every month chasing payments .

  1. Federation of Small Businesses, ‘Stop late payments, save 50,000 small businesses’ (November 2016)
  2. The Credit Protection Association ‘Late payments are “crippling small business owners’ (January 2020)
  3. Tide, ‘New research: UK SMEs chasing £50bn in late payments’(January 2020).
  4. Pay.UK, ‘UK SMEs face debt burden of £23.4 billion’ (November 2019).

In June 2020, LawtechUK recognised the potential for a new, technological approach to the late payment challenges facing British business. Specifically, they envisaged the development of an online platform that could provide an affordable, easy to use environment for SMEs to recover unpaid debts - as an optional alternative to the courts. In doing so they awarded a contract to Resolve Disputes Online (RDO) as part of a consortium to deliver a feasibility study and proof of concept to research the need for such a platform.

Following the release of the study in 2021, LawtechUK announced that they would not be building or funding the development of the platform itself. Accordingly, IPOS and RDO, both pioneering dispute resolution companies, are pleased to announce a joint venture that will combine RDO’s award-winning online dispute resolution technology with IPOS’s considerable mediation experience to deliver on LawtechUK’s vision. The partnership will see the launch of a platform that offers a simple, fast and affordable multi-tiered ADR process that relies primarily on negotiation and mediation. Also, within the platform, arbitration will be used for disputes in which parties fail to settle.

Mark Jackson-Stops, founder of IPOS, formerly In Place of Strife, said: “Having built a market leading mediation practice, over 27 years, for bespoke mediation of high value and complex cases, I have always had an ambition to develop a low-cost model for lower value disputes which often holds back the potential of many SMEs. Our JV with RDO makes this possible and we are delighted to be working with the market leader to bring an online platform to the market”.

“The RDO-IPOS joint venture is a unique and transformative collaboration. IPOS’s experience as one of the most well-known and effective mediation practices in the UK is complementary to RDO’s plans to deliver on the next phase of the SME ODR project, first started by LawtechUK” said Sebastian Jenks, Head of Sales at RDO. “RDO’s mission is to improve access to justice and we have been very successful in North America, Asia and Europe. This partnership continues to validate our position as a disruptive force in the UK market.”

About IPOS:
IPOS Mediation (formerly In Place of Strife) was founded in 1995 to provide the services of experienced mediators to those with complex and/or high value disputes. For more information, visit or follow us on LinkedIn .
Contact Details: Henrietta Jackson-Stops:

About Resolve Dispute Online (RDO):
Resolve Disputes Online (RDO) is dispute resolution software as a service empowering Courts and tribunals, governments and law firms with innovative technology to improve access to justice around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on LinkedIn.
Contact Details: Sebastian Jenks: