The BII understands how challenging trading is for licensees from their extensive surveys and regular conversations with members, particularly as they start their road to recovery after the severe impact of the pandemic.
It is essential that these 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 BII are therefore facilitating independent expert panels to accredit professional advisors for the licensed trade for Chartered Surveyors, Accountants & Solicitors. The expert panels, formed of leading professionals in their respective fields will set accreditation criteria, oversee the appointment of accredited advisors against these criteria and review complaints which may ultimately result in formal removal of the accreditation from advisors. 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.
The accreditation scheme has 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. This will ensure licensees get effective business advice allowing them to start, protect and develop their businesses with confidence.
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 commented:
“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 will be implemented and administered by the BII and will be open to all of its members. The BII also remains committed to continuing to provide and promote an independent member helpdesk providing access to support with Pubco and Landlord matters. In addition, for those companies fully committed to the BII, we will set up a membership for tenants at appointment, giving them the professional help they require prior to signing an agreement as well access to a full suite of BII member benefits to help them to successfully build their business.
The scheme is due to launch in early 2022 and today the BII is calling for any Solicitor, Chartered Surveyor and Accountancy company to nominate those wishing to be on the Accredited Advisor 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.
A list of the criteria and rules can be found on the BII website here.
Those interested should send an email to [email protected]
Steven Alton CEO of the BII commented “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.”