A PICA-Service Hearing took place at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 12, Bloomsbury Square, London on Tuesday, 25th February, 2014. This related to complaints lodged by former tenants Richard Raine and Kevin McKeith in respect of their tenures of the Old Hundred Hotel/Bar 100, North Shields and the Victoria, North Shields. The Complainants agreed to be named. The Respondents were Enterprise Inns Plc.
Rodger Vickers chaired the Hearing. The panel was made up of vice chairman Judge Trevor Barber, a pub lessee, a multiple pub tenant, a specialist chartered surveyor who also holds a Pub Co lease, a partner in a specialist firm of commercial lawyers and a retired Brewery/Pub Co Director.
The complaints briefly concerned alleged defects at Business Planning stage involving one of the Respondent Companies’ panel trade accountants, alleged defects concerning accounting and stocktaking services involving one of the Respondent Companies’ panel trade accountants and allegations as to the failure by the Enterprise Inns’ Regional Manager concerned to address the resultant financial problems or the lack of activity by the said accountant on financial monitoring, VAT and stocktaking.
The panel found, from the evidence presented, that the Respondents had committedtechnical breaches of its Code of Practice in respect of:-
1 The fact the Business Plan presented to the panel was regarded as being inadequate and inappropriate given the pre-entry requirements set out within the Respondent Companies’ Code of Practice document.
2 The Business Plan concerned was not, on the evidence of a Witness of Fact, signed off by a qualified accountant as required by the ‘pub business plan’ section of the Respondent Companies’ Code of Practice document.
3 The Respondent Companies’ assessment of the Business Plan presented was found from the evidence presented to be flawed having regard to the wording of the ‘pub business assessment’ section of the Respondent Companies’ Code of Practice document.
4 The Respondent Companies’ Regional Manager failed to afford the level of support detailed within the ‘role of the Regional Manager’ section of the Respondent Companies’ Code of Practice document.
The Complainants were awarded an undisclosed level of damages. Costs were awarded against the Respondents and the Complainants were invited to present a claim for its own costs in pursuing their complaint.
More information about PICA-Service
PICA-Service comes within the auspices of the Pub Governing Body having been formed by six of the industry’s leading associations (the ALMR, the BBPA, the BII, the FLVA, the Brighton and Hove licensee Association and the GMV) in order to deliver self-regulation to the tied tenanted pub industry. Its mandate is to deal with technical breaches or breaches of the spirit of the industry framework code of practice, or breaches of individual pub company and (pubowning) brewery codes of practice, occurring after 30th June 2010 – the date the framework code came into effect.
The PICA-Service panel comprises independent experts made up of a diverse group of individuals including a circuit judge, a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, accountants, solicitors, chartered surveyors, licensed trainers, pub tenants and retired pub tenants, plus brewery/pub Co and retired brewery/pub Co executives.
More details are available on the PICA-Service website including how complaints should be lodged. The PICA-Service website address is: www.picaservice.com