From 21 July to 21 January, the Enquiry Line set up by the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) to provide information about the Pubs Code has received 435 enquiries. 91% of the enquiries were from tied pub tenants or their representatives.
The top issues raised by callers were:
In the same period the PCA also received 121 referrals for arbitration, 42 more since November 21st. The top issues that have been referred are:
- whether a full response had been given by a pub-owning business to a request for an MRO Proposal
- duties of the pub-owning business in relation to Rent Assessment Proposals
Mr Newby said:
Calls are continuing to be received by the PCA at a high rate and referrals for arbitration are still rising. This is a very significant level of engagement from tied pub tenants.
I am receiving a great deal of information and I am building a good picture of what is happening in the industry and the issues to prioritise but to strengthen that picture more information is helpful.
If I am to take action on Code-related issues it needs to be evidence-based and I would encourage tenants to come forward with that evidence where they believe they have experienced inappropriate practices. I would urge them to contact the Enquiry Line confident that their identities will be protected.
The figures I have released today also demonstrate the scale of the task for the PCA. I am working with my team to deal efficiently and effectively with the referrals. In recent weeks I have increased my office resources to support this work and I expect some of the early cases to be completed shortly.
I am committed to resolving all arbitrations without undue delay. However, some are complex cases and as the legislation is new, many are the first of a kind.
They cannot be completed overnight and each party must be given an opportunity to make their case. Individual cases and the requirements of the parties will be different in each case. There can be no one size that fits all in terms of the length of time a case will take.
Mr Newby said he had also held a wide range of meetings with tenants, their representatives and stakeholder organisations:
A major part of my role is to raise awareness of the new rights and protections tied pub tenants have under the Pubs Code and to encourage compliance from the industry.
I have held a wide range of meetings to spread the message and the vast majority of responses I have received have been positive and encouraging. I am always willing to meet interested parties who wish to engage constructively and support the PCA’s mission to create a fair and lawful environment for tied pub tenants.
Notes to editors:
The Pubs Code came into force on 21st July 2016. Its two key principles are that there should be fair and lawful dealing by pub-owning businesses in relation to their tied tenants and that tied tenants should be no worse off than if they were free of tie.
The Pubs Code Adjudicator is responsible for promoting and enforcing the Code. The PCA Enquiry Line is open Monday to Thursday, 9:30am to 5pm and Friday, 9:30am to 4pm on 0800 528 8080. Fact sheets explaining the Pubs Code are available on the PCA website
For further information contact Sheree Dodd firstname.lastname@example.org