“The code is getting traction and it is starting to flag to us issues arising with the code that we should be aware of and that we may need to act on,” Newby said in an on-stage discussion with The Morning Advertiser editor Ed Bedington.
Newby discussed both the implementation of the code and responded to criticism of his appointment in the 20-minute interview.
“We've been going for seven weeks, so my office is starting to receive inquiries, calls for help and some complaints. It is early days, so I'm not jumping to conclusions.
“On the other hand, I am not sitting on my hands because I am hearing some things that concern me and I have therefore issued a statement reminding pub companies of their responsibilities under the code and pointing out some key issues that have been flagged to my office so far.
"The crucial message I need to get across is that we need people to tell us. Don't just shout at me, because we need information and evidence to be able to quickly act on complaints,” Newby said.
The most common inquiries and complaints that Newby said his office had received so far were around rent assessments and market rent-only option (MRO) request rejections.
The bearpit of politics
It has been claimed Newby's appointment, which took place six months ago, that he has a conflict of interest because of his 25 years spent working for licensed property agents, Fleurets.
At the MA500, he addressed criticism surrounding his appointment, including recent calls for his sacking from both the Parliamentary Save the Pub group and the Business Innovation and Skills committee.
“If I'm honest with you, it [the criticism] hurts,” Newby said. “I have a professional background and I'm not used to being in the bearpit of politics, which is where I find myself now.
“The conflict of interest is looked at from a high level in the way that people speak about it. The way that people speak of it would mean that anyone who knows anything about the subject is conflicted. I don't think that is the case.”
Ultimately, Newby’s intended course of action at this point is very clear. “If there are things that I need to act on then I will act on them. I very much hope that the pubs code and my implementation of it will help the trade.”