Eighth case heard by PICA-Service

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Star pubs License Star pubs & bars

Vickers chaired the meeting
Vickers chaired the meeting
The eighth PICA-Service hearing took place at the Sheffield Cathedral Conference Centre on Friday, 22 November, 2013.

The licensee, who has agreed to be named is Andrew O’Brien a former tenant of the Sanctuary in Sheffield who has issued a complaint against Star Pubs and Bars.

Rodger Vickers chaired the hearing with support from panel vice chairman Judge Trevor Barber who was there as a layman. The remainder of the panel consisted of a licensing solicitor, a self-employed licensing chartered surveyor, a Pubco tenant and a consultant to the licensed trade who has formerly been both a brewery and a pubco director.

Bernard Brindley, chairman of the Pub Governing Body, which administers PICA-Service, attended as an observer and Mikayla Lettin was present in her role of PICA-Service Administrator.

Lack of Support

O'Brien listed a number of preliminary issues although he confirmed these were background to his case as they were dated prior to the coming into being of the Industry Framework Code (IFC)at the end of June 2010.

He complained about the lack of support provided by Star Pubs & Bars subsequent to the 30 June 2010 which lead to him having to give up possession of the premises.

No breach of code

The PICA-Service panel did not find, from the evidence presented, that Star Pubs and Bars had committed a technical breach of its Code of Practice or the IFC.The panel similarly did not find that Star Pubs and Bars had failed to act in the spirit of its Code of Practice or the IFC.

However, the panel did record its misgivings about the standards of the recruitment and letting process prior to the 30 June 2010 when the licensee was granted his tenancy. 

This is the second case to go to PICA-Service for Star Pubs and Bars. It lost the first case and was found in breach of its code of practice.

PICA-Service update

The PICA-Service met with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills earlier this week to discuss the issues raised by Save the Pub Group chairman and MP Greg Mulholland.

In November a group of licensees along with Mulholland visited minister Jo Swinson to discuss their experience of the PICA-Service. They presented a dossier of their concerns claiming the system was not impartial and among other things that it does not help their relationship with their pubco.

PICA-Service panel chairman Rodger Vickers, Pubs Governing Body (PGB) chairman Bernard Brindley and PICA-Service administrator Mikayla Lettin met at the department to discuss a range of concerns including those put forward by Mulholland.

PGB chairman Brindley said: “We had a good forthright meeting. We attended to give a balanced opinion.”

Brindley also confirmed that a letter had been sent to secretary of state Vince Cable and minister Jo Swinson in response to a letter from Mulholland. Mulholland had called for Brindley’s resignation after he expressed his views that some licensees were out to discredit the system.

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