The Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) has always claimed to meet up with tenant representative bodies and this seems to increasingly be the case with government. However, they often speak to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) who represent regulated pub companies but not their tenants.
In contrast, tenants do not have that united voice and representation, something many publicans recognised. It was a concern that was regularly communicated to Dave Mountford, The Pub Defender and the Forum of Private Business. As a result of this feedback and a desire to improve matters in the hospitality industry we decided to set up and launch the Forum of British Pubs.
Currently the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) who regulates the Pubs Code, meets the following three organisations, all of whom have strong links to the regulated pub companies and rely on them for a lot of their revenue.
UK Hospitality merged with the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which (as their name suggests) represented a great number of multiple operators and NOT individual tied tenants. Moreover the ALMR included as members two of the six companies regulated by the PCA (Greene King and Heineken)! Fleuret’s, were also members of the ALMR (and presumably, now, also UK Hospitality).
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII)
This is not a tenant representative organisation, but a membership organisation with charitable status that offers support, advice and professional services to its members, and which sells services to tenants through the regulated pub companies (meaning the BII is actually a commercial partner of the pub companies the PCA is supposed regulate). Enterprise Inns offer free membership of the BII or the Federation of Licensed Victuallers Associations (FLVA) to their lessees and some of the regulated pub companies are also corporate members of the BII. Fleurets are corporate members of the BII and advertise on the BII website. Greene King, another regulated pub company, are also offering to pay the BII for one year’s membership for their tenants.
The Federation of Licensed Victuallers (FLVA)
The FLVA is a tenant representative body, but one that has a direct financial/commercial link or agreement with Enterprise Inns. They offer free membership to all Enterprise leases/tenants, providing financial support for the FLVA. The FLVA Operations Director (the lead position in the organisation) Martin Caffrey, is a former regional director for Enterprise Inns. Notably, the FLVA failed to support the Fair Deal for Your Local campaign and a Market Rent Only option, the only notable tenants’ representative group not to do so.
With the Pubs Code Adjudicator and, it seems government, listening to the three organisations described above, as well as the BBPA, we feel that tenants and general publicans views, issues and problems are not being listened to. More importantly, without their feedback which is needed to balance the argument, efficient solutions and opportunities cannot be addressed and that is of great concern.
So, the Forum of British Pubs plans to positively and proactively engage with government and its regulators at national and regional level as well as provide a voice with the regulated and unregulated pub businesses and we will rely on the support of publicans and industry stakeholders to achieve this.