Pub companies: follow-up - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents


Supplementary memorandum submitted by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII)

BII BENCHMARKING AND ACCREDITATION SERVICES (BIIBAS)

  The BIIBAS Steering Committee have been active in agreeing new processes, procedures and policies designed to accommodate the changes brought about by the BBPA Framework Code of Practice. This includes a strengthened Benchmarking Committee, new and more formal procedures for dealing with allegations of breaches, more transparent reporting of breaches and a systematic approach to sanctions including withdrawal of accredited status for repeat offenders.

    The Benchmarking Committee has the responsibility of accrediting individual Pub Company codes. The make up of this committee is being strengthened in terms of numbers (11 to 20) but also in terms of the mix of licensees, pub company personnel and industry representatives. The Steering Committee (responsible for the overall management of the scheme) has agreed that the make up of the committee will be as follows:

    — James Brewster (Chief executive of The Licensed Trade Charity) (Independent Chair)

    — Bernard Brindley (Vice Chair)

    — Seven lessees/tenants

    — Seven Industry representatives

    — Four Pub Company representatives

    — Karl Harrison has been invited to join to Benchmarking Committee and he has accepted.

    — A quorum of the committee is five which will include members from each category.

  In the following ways, the accreditation process will be more rigorous than was previously the case.

    Dealing with Breaches and Sanctions. A key enhancement of the scheme is that once a code has been accredited it will be available on the BIIBAS website for all to see.

    — All allegations of breaches will be logged.

    — The website will also publicise a record of all allegations against each accredited code and will detail which ones have led to a satisfactory resolution and any which have not.

    — Where, in the opinion of the Benchmarking Committee, there have been major unresolved breaches, these will be flagged up and will count towards withdrawal of accredited status. The Pub Company will then have to reapply for accreditation and the Benchmarking Committee will need to see evidence regarding improvements in their systems to enable them to proceed.

    — To clarify, the following table indicates the number of major unresolved breaches in any one calendar year which will trigger withdrawal of accreditation:
Up to 100 pubs: 3
101—250 pubs: 10
251—500 pubs: 10
501 to 1,000 pubs: 15
1,001 to 2,000 pubs: 20
Above 2,000 pubs: 25


    — Fees for accreditation have been agreed which are on a sliding scale to accommodate smaller Pub Companies

    — Initial assistance will be given to all applicants to the scheme. The Scheme Secretary (a permanent member of BII staff) will offer to visit each applicant to discuss the production of a code and to explain how the scheme works. BIIBAS will also ensure codes are in an appropriate state before submitting to the accreditation process with the Benchmarking Committee.

    — Non BBPA members will be encouraged to apply for accreditation of their code of practice. The same rules will apply to them in terms of accreditation, breaches and sanctions.

    — Current Formal Breach Resolution - in 2009 we dealt with eight formal allegations of breaches of accredited codes of practice of which four were upheld as breaches. Of these two were resolved to the satisfaction of BIIBAS and the lessees. Two others are the subject of ongoing dialogue with the relevant Pub Company.

    — As soon as BIIBAS is alerted of an allegation of a breach, a record is raised as investigations are carried out.

    — BIIBAS will be adding to its resources to meet the demand as many more codes will be accredited within the next few months.

HOW GOOD IS MY LANDLORD

    — The BIIBAS Steering Committee felt that we should allow the new processes and policies of the BIIBAS scheme to become established during 2010 and that in the second half of the year we would undertake an independent lessee/tenant survey which would determine how well the pub companies were abiding by their codes of practice. The results of such a survey would be published on the BIIBAS website.

PIRRS

  Since fully launching on 1 December 2009 the Pubs Independent Rent Review Scheme has received 36 enquires. Nine of these have progressed to applying to participate in the scheme, with two of these cases now fully underway. None have yet reached final resolution via the PIRRS. Nine cases who have originally explored the option of resolving their dispute via the PIRRS with their Landlord have now resolved their dispute.

  Evidence from alternative arbitration scheme indicates that out of 30 enquires only one case would fully enter into the scheme.

  We instructed our in-house lawyer to investigate the legal implications of the scheme and are pleased to say that she concurs with the view that the PIRRS scheme is indeed binding on both landlord and tenant. Neither party can deviate from the agreement once they have signed up to the PIRRS scheme. Obviously if the tenant defaults on the post PIRRS rental agreement the landlord would have the ability to forfeit the lease. This reflects normal practice.

OTHER ISSUES

BII Income

  Around 4% of all BII income comes from our Corporate Members plus some additional sponsorship for specific events from time to time.

  The BII Business Support Helpline is well established and on average takes around 15 calls per month. This is a member benefit and is not directly related to the BIIBAS scheme.

  Inevitably however, the helpline receives calls covering a wide variety of issues. This is resourced by our industry consultants and is widely used by our members. Through the help offered, we signpost members to other sources of information or assistance and we also liaise with the Pub Company on our member's behalf when appropriate. This has been welcomed by both members and Pub Companies in resolving issues of contention.

  Our experience indicates that around 65% of all calls to the helpline are in relation to rent debt issues. In this respect PIRRS is a welcome initiative (please see notes above). Other areas raised were: buying out of tie issues; business rates; agreement renewals; repairs; and buying a pub.

Compulsory Initial Induction Training

  We recognise that in this industry there is a good deal of movement of licensees between pubs and pub companies. We feel it is entirely reasonable that where a new lessee/tenant of a pub company who has current experience of running a lease or tenancy may attract a waiver to such training.

Benchmarking

  We recognise that this is an important issue and we will join the Committee and seek to improve the data re single operators.

2 February 2010






 
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