Government appoints new PCA

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

New role: Fiona Dickie has been deputy pubs code adjudicator since November 2017
New role: Fiona Dickie has been deputy pubs code adjudicator since November 2017

Related tags: Pubs code adjudicator, Pubs code

The Government has announced it has appointed Fiona Dickie as the new pubs code adjudicator (PCA), a role that was previously filled by Paul Newby.

Dickie was first appointed as deputy pubs code adjudicator in November 2017 and reappointed in October 2019.

She will take up her appointment for a four-year term when Newby’s term ends in May this year, and she will step down as deputy at that point.

Role power

The PCA has responsibility for enforcing the statutory pubs code, which governs the relationship between large pub-owning businesses and their tied tenants in England and Wales.

In her new role, Dickie will have the power to arbitrate individual disputes about breaches of the pubs code and market-rent-only (MRO) options.

She will also be able to investigate suspected breaches of the code by pub-owning businesses and impose sanctions, including financial penalties, when there is non-compliance.

On her new role, Dickie said: “I am delighted to have been appointed PCA in succession to Paul Newby. I intend to be a strong champion for the rights and protections parliament has given to tied tenants through the pubs code.

“The regulated pub companies know I will be clear and frank with them about my expectations when it comes to code compliance. As PCA, I intend to use my position to ensure that they deliver on their statutory obligations, and to make sure code rights are understood by tied tenants and that accessing them is straightforward.”

Current PCA Newby announced he was stepping down in August last year.​ He was appointed to the role in 2016 for a four-year term and, during this time, he has introduced new and technical legislation.

Significant resistance

On his work during his tenure, Newby said: “The introduction of the pubs code has been a major regulatory intervention in the long-established tied pub model and a business culture ingrained over many years.

“This has not been an easy task with significant resistance and conflict along the way. Even so, three years on the tied-pub landscape is different compared to July 2016 when the code came into force, the principal effect being to re-balance the relationship between pub tenants and their regulated landlords, giving tenants greater control over their business and the opportunity to make better informed decisions and the best choices for them. I am proud to have played my part in that.”

On his departure, Newby said he was looking forward to starting a new project in 2020 but added he would be continuing to work hard to deliver the aims of the pubs code in the remaining nine months of his term. He also said he was very grateful to the PCA team for their continued dedication and support.

Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) national chairman Nik Antona said: "CAMRA congratulates Dickie on her appointment as PCA. We look forward to working with her to ensure the pubs code is fit for purpose and works for the benefit of tenants.

"Our research has shown the pubs code isn’t delivering on its aims to support licensees. The yet uncompleted pubs code review is the opportunity to make changes to the pubs code regulations. This will help ensure that tied tenants are no worse off than free-of-tie tenants, and to stop pub companies circumventing the code."

Related topics: Legislation

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