The Government recently revealed it will consult on a statutory code and adjudicator to manage the pubco-tenant relationship.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has endorsed version 6 claiming it is "immeasurably better". This follows the BII endorsement of the code in the middle of last year.
The BBPA has called for other industry bodies to support new version.
New reforms include:
- Companies which operate more than 100 leases will be required to publish an annual statement of Code compliance which will be externally audited
- Greater clarity is provided around insurance and a commitment to price-match on like-for-like policies
- A clear commitment that income from AWP machines can only be shared once and will not also be included in the rent assessment
- A schedule of conditions which clarifies obligations on any remedial work required
- Common formats for shadow profit & loss accounts and rent assessments
- An improved protocol on flow monitoring equipment
The code also reflects a commitment to establish a new Regulatory Board to oversee the corporate governance of BIIBAS, which accredits all company codes, and the Pubs Independent Rent Review Service (PIRRS) and arbitration service PICA-Service. The PIRRS board, which is currently overseeing the PICA-Service, will be meeting later in February to confirm further details pf who will represent both pub companies and lessees/tenants on the board. The PIRRS Board is run by an amalgamation of the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA), Guild of Master Victuallers, ALMR, BBPA, and BII.
Larger pubcos are expected to have their individual codes in place around April 2013 with smaller companies taking a little longer to implement.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA, said: “A lot of hard work and discussion with industry partners has gone into this improved version of the Code. Even though we face what may prove to be a lengthy process of Government consultation and potential legislation, we believe we should press ahead with these reforms, for the benefit of the trade.
“I very much hope that other industry bodies will support this approach, and would like to thank all those who have contributed to the process, which has resulted in very real improvements.”
ALMR strategic Affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “Version 6 needs to be in place as soon as possible. In the meeting that Minister Jo Swinson had with the lessee groups she said that if the Government went statutory regulation as quickly as possible it could be in place in two years time.
"But there are an awful lot of businesses that could fail in the interim if we wait for statutory regulation. You have got a current version 5 code that is not fit for purpose. Version 6 is immeasurably better in terms of dealing with the relationship issues to do with transparency, disclosure of information. It is a big step forward.”
In a statement the BII said: “We are pleased that other industry bodies have now sought to follow BII’s lead by endorsing version six of the framework code, although in the context of recent events, we are frustrated that this process has taken so long. BII backed the latest version six months ago and question why it has taken other organisations – tasked by the government to make self-regulation work – so long to deliver."
However, the FLVA operations director Martin Caffrey said: “We still have some reservations about it.
“Discussions are still continuing and I am confident we can get there.”
He said the association wants more detail in the code, is concerned about the issues regarding the incorporation of codes into the leases for existing licensees as well as the knock on effect on existing lessees who may find their pub sold to non-BBPA members.