It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey, and I take my hat off to the parliamentarians, tenants’ groups, Select Committee witnesses, ministers and many others who have got us here.
Today is a momentous day for the hardworking tied-tenants of 12,000 pubs in England and Wales.
I am proud to be the first ever Pubs Code Adjudicator and will work tirelessly to uphold the code and its values. I completely understand and appreciate that there are tied-tenants out there struggling to make a living as a result of bad deals with their landlords.
Rights to tenants
This goes right to the heart of why the code really matters – it is about giving more rights to tenants who need to provide for their families and keeping thriving pubs open for local communities to enjoy.
Tied-tenants need to know their cases will be heard fairly, lawfully and professionally. A lot has been said, by a minority of people claiming to represent your interests, about a potential conflict between my previous job and my new role.
I want to take this opportunity to say that these accusations are totally unfounded and that some of the abuse I have suffered as a result has been completely unreasonable. I have worked for, and understand, both tenants and pub companies – this is exactly the experience needed for this type of role.
And now is the time to focus 100% on what is most important of all – ensuring tied tenants in England and Wales understand their new rights and how to use them.
The pubs code regulations are necessarily lengthy and there is a lot to take-in. That is why I’ve published a number of initial factsheets on our website, including contact details and a freephone enquiry number.
In the coming months I will continue to work with interested stakeholders to develop further understanding as we need to find out what works for all sides of the industry.
The first thing I want to be clear on is that tied-tenants are able to refer breaches of the code that have occurred from 21 July 2016 onward. This means I am not able to consider breaches of the code before it came into force and it’s important to be up front about this.
I am immensely grateful for the time people have given me to discuss the implementation of the pubs code. I will remain open-minded and engage with anyone who has an interest in the code.
I have also been encouraged by the actions of the regulated pub companies and their willingness so far to cooperate. My ambition is for the pubs code to bring about a long-lasting behavioural change that means that fewer cases, rather than more, need to be referred to me.
I also want to urge tied tenants to take some time to visit the Pubs Code Adjudicator website, learn more about it and use the enquiry line if you would like to discuss it.
This code is for you and the Office of the Pubs Code Adjudicator is here to help.
Anyone who would like to make a general enquiry about rights or obligations under the pubs code or make a referral to the adjudicator should call: 0800 528 8080
Alternatively, you can visit the website.
Paul Newby is the Pubs Code Adjudicator