The conscience of Punch Taverns

By The PMA Team

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Partnership Corporation Partner

Dave Pawson: the conscience of Punch
Dave Pawson: the conscience of Punch
Punch Taverns has appointed Dave Pawson as its first-ever partner relationship manager. The PMA Team asks him about the job.

Punch Taverns has appointed Dave Pawson as its first-ever partner relationship manager. He's been described as the "conscience of Punch". The PMA Team asks him about the job.

Q. You've been described as the conscience of Punch. Why does Punch need a conscience?

A .Firstly, I don't think this a question of understanding what is right and what is wrong. There is no one I work with who actively looks to have a negative impact on anybody. What we do recognise is that we need to evolve the business model and our culture. In a business of our size and complexity, it needs someone in a central role to challenge

the way we communicate with our partners and our behaviours, and that is where the "conscience" comes in. It is a voice and actions to add balance.

Q. What does the job involve?

A. My role is to act as the "gatekeeper" for all communications to our partners and to ensure that our Pathway to Partnership programme moves us in the right direction, both from a business and, more importantly, a behavioural perspective. I am here to challenge internal teams on the decisions we take that impact our partners, the way that we communicate with them and, ultimately, to influence how we can improve our relationships.

Q. What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

A. I work closely with all of our internal support functions to ensure that any partner communications are clearly written in the right tone and that they are issued at the right time. We want to make sure that we communicate effectively and that we don't bombard partners with too much information at any one time.

Historically, we've not been great at this and I'm committed to ensuring that we not only streamline the amount of communication, but that we make it as relevant as possible for our partners. Having said that, it's not easy, as we have so many different pubs with diverse needs and requirements. I'm also responsible for our partner complaints process, which I hope has improved over recent months.

I sit down with our MD, Roger Whiteside, every Monday morning to review any complaints that have come in and together we formulate an individual response to each partner. Over the past few weeks, we've also put in place a new process for responding to letters of praise from our partners, which signifies that we're moving in the right direction. In addition, I am leading the roll out of our partner forums, the first of which was held in December. I see this as a critical part of my role, generating quality feedback from our partners, which will help us to shape our future strategy.

Q How have colleagues at Punch responded to your appointment?

A. This was the easy part. It really is pushing at an open door. I've spent quite a lot of time working with my colleagues so that they're clear on what we're trying to achieve and there is total support for the Pathway to Partnership programme.

Having come from the ops team (I was a BRM for nine years) with a clear understanding of the business and needs of our partners, my appointment has been well received by internal teams.

Q. How are you enjoying the job?

A. There is a lot to do, and I think my wife sees less of me now (which she may say is not a bad thing!), but I love it. It's challenging and every day is different. I accept that there is always more that I can do to move us on. However, every small step counts and we are starting to see real progress.

Q. What have been your achievements so far?

A. We've made inroads in streamlining the amount and tone of the communication that goes out to our partners.

That may seem like a small thing, and some may scoff at that as an achievement, but these small steps mean a change in our culture, and how we do business on a day-to-day basis. Our first partner forum was constructive and I'm looking forward to rolling these out in the coming months, across the country.

We have instituted a structured complaints process so we can resolve those complaints, and also measure them and improve our overall service as a result.

Q. What are the challenges ahead?

A. There are always going to be challenges in this role. We need to land some of the big projects we have in our Pathway to Partnership programme, including our new code of practice, which is the next big thing on my agenda. I think the other major challenge to overcome is the cynicism that exists around the industry.

There are some who don't believe we are committed to this path, and some will never believe it, however far we go. All I can say to that is, I wouldn't be doing this job unless I really felt Punch Partnerships was dedicated to this new way of working, and I'm sure we will get there.

Q. In what ways has the culture at Punch changed in the past 12 months?

A. The idea and concept of partnership has filtered into the day-to-day thinking of the

business, and that has changed from previous years. I would hope that people are now starting to experience a difference.

We are not there yet, but I think we can "institutionalise" partnership into this business. It takes time to change a culture, but all of the business has bought into the need for us to evolve and build real partnerships with our licensees and it's an exciting time to be in this role.

Yes, we're still going to make a few mistakes, but we are genuinely acting with the best of intentions and are trying to put the partner at the heart of everything we do.

Related topics Legislation Punch Pubs & Co

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more