The initiative aims to ensure operators are able to tap into a credible source of independent, expert and most importantly, qualified advice across a range of sectors.
The BII said it was essential that vital small businesses get independent, expert advice as they face critical decisions, especially with major commercial lifecycle events; entering into formal agreements with landlords, where conditions in agreements are substantially changing, and when considering sizeable capital investments in their businesses.
The organisation has now set up independent expert panels to provide accreditation for professional advisors in the areas of chartered surveyors, accountants and solicitors.
The panels are formed of leading professionals in their fields who will set the accreditation criteria, oversee the appointment of advisors and review complaints.
An independent governance board made up of the chairs of the three expert panels will ensure the accreditation scheme is delivered effectively and deal with any appeals from the independent expert panels.
Steve Alton, ceo of the BII, said the scheme had been designed to provide trusted professional advisors for licensees who “meet the highest standards of professionalism, have full liability insurance, the required skills and expertise and in-depth knowledge of the pub industry”.
Pubs Code Review
In the recent Statutory Review of the Pubs Code and the Pubs Code Adjudicator: 2016-2019, this requirement was formally recognised by Government, the Department for Business, Enterprise & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and separately supported by the Pubs Code Adjudicator.
The Pubs Code review stated that the Government will:
• work with the PCA on ways to find out more about new tenants’ understanding of their Code rights and what informed their decision to enter into a tied tenancy agreement.
• not restrict who can provide advice to tied tenants but work with the PCA and representative groups on how to disseminate information to tenants to help them to access appropriate, professional advice and consider whether an expert panel approach, as offered by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) to its members, could increase the availability of independent advice for tied tenants.
Fiona Dickie, Pubs Code Adjudicator said: “I welcome this industry initiative and I’m pleased to see participating pub-owning businesses seeking to ensure tenants, and prospective tenants, receive good quality professional advice.
“This advice can be key to tenants using their Code rights successfully throughout their tenancy – including before they sign on the dotted line.”
The accreditation scheme, which is due to launch in early 2022 and has the support of pub operating businesses, will be implemented and administered by the BII and will be open to all of its members and the organisation is calling on sector professionals to nominate those wishing to be on the accreditation panels.
These advisors will be subject to a formal application form and interview by senior colleagues (the expert panels) in their fields before they are accepted and will be expected to meet the criteria set by their peers.
Alton added: “We recognise the significant challenges facing our members who independently operate pubs across the UK, and we pride ourselves on providing impartial, expert support across all key areas to these vital small businesses at the heart of their communities.
“Providing access to these BII accredited advisors, independently appointed by their peers, further strengthens our ability to support our members, to ensure they can thrive, accessing professional advice with key decisions in their business.”