When the Pub Industry Framework Code of Practice was launched at the start of this year, I have to admit to being slightly sceptical about the supposedly positive impact this measure would have on our sector in the midst of one of the most challenging trading periods in its history.
Indeed, even when the new Code was first mooted, I believed it would unfortunately be another move to appease the members down at Parliament Square and would turn into a sterile process that would not lead to any significant change.
How wrong can you be? Attending a number of the sessions for the Code this year as a committee member has been a real eye-opener and turned this sceptic into a believer in the work that is being carried out, and into an optimist that the future of the industry is, if not secured, certainly on a much firmer footing than 18 months ago.
Many of the participants, from national pubcos to regional brewers, have taken a good look at the way their businesses work and re-evaluated their relationships with their tenants.
The Code and the discussions it has produced have generated many of the new lease agreements that have recently appeared.
There is now greater transparency across the industry and these new tenancy agreements are even more informative and clear.
There is also greater assistance available for those looking to enter the sector for the first time, with advice available from a number of professional advisers and associations.
While the freehold market remains robust, the leasehold sector has suffered during the downturn. However, I believe there is still a place for tied leases, especially with the new Code playing a key role.
The tied-lease model is not busted but it does need to evolve and the work already undertaken since the turn of the year has made this an achievable goal.
For many years there have been calls for the industry to work together to tackle the challenges faced and to ensure that pubs continued to prosper.
No-one is saying that the Code of Practice is perfect or the measures that it has produced will work for everyone, but take it from this old cynic — it is putting the industry back on track for a brighter future.
Neil Morgan is head of pubs at Christie+Co