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6th February 2019

National Best Bar None Award Winners Announced

BBN Award Winners 2019_ L-R - Tracey Ford; Laura Mason; Simon Barker; Garreth Robinson; Ben Dixon; Alison Watkin; Ann Williams; Cat MacDonald; Simon Lane

Plymouth’s Best Bar None scheme was celebrating once again this year, having scooped the top prize for ‘Best Overall Scheme’ for the second consecutive year in National Best Bar None Awards held at the House of Lords on Monday 4th February.

Sheffield was highly commended in the same category and Wrexham and Barnsley also received top category awards; Wrexham for ‘Most Innovative Scheme’ and Barnsley for ‘Best New Scheme’. Simon Lane, City Licensing Manager for Exeter, was singled out for the ‘Outstanding Commitment Award’.

Backed by the Home Office, Best Bar None has been working collaboratively with the alcohol industry, local authorities and the police for over 15 years. It promotes responsible drinking and higher professional licensing standards in bars, pubs, hotels, clubs and entertainment venues in over 70 towns and cities across the UK.

Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, said: “People should be able to enjoy a night out safely and responsibly without the fear of being a victim of alcohol-related crime and disorder. The Home Office is committed to addressing this and I’m pleased to back the Best Bar None scheme and the partnership working it promotes. I also value the leadership Best Bar None has shown in raising the standards of licensed premises.”

The awards ceremony was hosted by chairman of Best Bar None, Lord Smith of Hindhead, who said: “I am delighted to report that Best Bar None continues to go from strength to strength. Last October saw the launch of the new Central Scheme, which I am delighted to say means that Best Bar None can now accommodate venues that fall outside of the existing regional schemes. This is a major step forward for the scheme and we will be working hard to extend its reach in 2019.

“Other exciting news for this year is the launch of a pilot scheme with Manchester Airport Group. The aim of this partnership is to further improve standards of airside alcohol retailing across the UK’s biggest airport group and improve the travel experience for its 60 million passengers.

“The national awards truly are the highlight of the Best Bar None calendar. To be named as one of the best performing schemes on a national level is a fantastic achievement and I would like to congratulate all our winners for 2019. I look forward to seeing continued innovation from the schemes over the coming year.”

The National Awards are the highlight of the Best Bar None calendar. The competition carries a prize fund of over £5,000 split across three categories:

  1. ‘Best Overall Scheme’, presented to the scheme that has had the biggest impact on the local area (£3,000)
  2. ‘Most Innovative Scheme’, awarded to the most creative concept or initiative introduced to make a difference in the local area (£1,000)
  3. ‘Best New Scheme’, open to any scheme that has been running for less than 18 months (£1,000)
  4. ‘Outstanding Commitment Award’, presented to an individual who has shown commitment above and beyond what would normally be required in support of their own Best Bar None scheme or nationally (£250)

The scheme is funded by the industry and its main sponsors and supporters are: Diageo, Heineken UK, Pernod Ricard UK, Asahi, EI Group, JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butler and Stonegate Pub Company.

For further information:

BBN National Coordinator Mick McDonnell

Email: Tel: 07809 340 417

Poppy Kelham, Leisure PR

Email: Tel: 020 8605 3544

– ENDS –

Editors Notes:

  1. Best Bar None is a national award scheme promoting partnership working between the pub and bar trade, the police and local authorities. Through enhanced professionalism and customer safety, the scheme reduces alcohol related crime, anti-social behaviour and health harms in the areas where it operates. Best Bar None is supported by the Home Office, the Scottish Government, the police and the on-licensed trade.
  2. Premises are audited for operational standards, policies and procedures, as well as the education and training of staff, in the process identifying and promoting the best and most innovative practice.

Best Overall Scheme

Plymouth is a self-funded scheme that has been running for over 10 years. In 2018 it increased the number of accredited venues, actively engaged in the scheme, from 55 to 60, extending its reach to businesses which don’t sell alcohol yet still have a role to play in the late night economy, including two city centre MacDonald’s restaurants.

The scheme continues to evolve and innovate, introducing new initiatives to reduce crime and disorder and improve the safety of those using licensed premises. Notable achievements in 2018 were the launch of a Taxi Marshall scheme and a Safe Bus project, involvement with police in an innovative scheme to manage incidents of drink spiking, and the implementation of standardised procedures to deal with drugs and fake ID.

Over 35 venues and 70 door staff took part in Ask for Angela training – an initiative set up to encourage people who feel vulnerable or threatened on a night out to discreetly ask bar staff for help. A continual programme of ‘mystery visits’ ensures that venues are correctly managing the initiative.

The judges were impressed with the scheme’s work with Plymouth University, which has helped to significantly reduce the number of incidents involving students. Flyers are handed out at the Freshers’ Fayre advising students to ‘look for the BBN logo’ and a Best Bar None representative attends an open day to explain what it means to new students and their parents. The University of Marjon has also now invited BBN Plymouth to work with its students.

Crime statistics show a reduction in alcohol-related crimes of 19.1% overall, and 16.6% during Evening and Night Time Economy (ENTE) hours compared with last year, as well as a massive reduction in drunkenness, which was down by 54%.

Best Overall Scheme – Highly Commended

This year the Sheffield scheme celebrates its 10-year anniversary, during which time it has continued to expand and innovate, despite a reduction in resources. Sheffield is also one of the few schemes to actively market the Best Bar None scheme to consumers, ensuring that they are aware of the scheme and what it represents.

Sheffield was highly commended by the judges for its work in widening the scope of the scheme. Efforts have been made to tackle wider issues that impact on the night-time economy, such as vagrancy, to help ensure the city centre is a safe, vibrant place in which to live and to visit.

The scheme has collaborated with Safe Sheffield, a University of Sheffield initiative, to produce three drug awareness videos. A short film was recently produced to educate licensees about Ask For Angela (AFA) and specialist training has been developed in conjunction with the Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. Notably, it piloted AFA at Sheffield’s Pride festival, extending the boundaries of the scheme.

Most Innovative Scheme

Wrexham’s Best Bar None scheme was launched in 2013 and is supported by the Council, North Wales Police Service and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The scheme has committed to delivering a number of different initiatives to tackle ‘pre-drinking’, drug dealing and child exploitation.

The judges were impressed by the scheme’s participation in STAD in Europe (SiE), which aims to reduce binge drinking and associated harms in young people, which they have delivered with limited resources and minimal budget. With a specific focus on addressing preloading, Wrexham awards Best Bar None credits to encourage licensees to deliver the ‘Drink Less, Enjoy More’ (DLEM) initiative, aimed at reducing the propensity for bar staff to serve people who are drunk.

Best New Scheme

Barnsley’s Best Bar None scheme was launched in November 2017 following a significant investment by Barnsley Council to redevelop the area and create a modern and vibrant town centre for residents and visitors alike. The judges felt that the scheme’s focus on public health was commendable and initiatives in this vein have included awarding bonus points to licensed premises for offering five low sugar non-alcoholic options, as well as signposting local drug and alcohol support services. Barnsley has also introduced a People’s Choice award to give consumers the chance to vote for their favourite and engage with the scheme.

Outstanding Commitment Award

Each year, a further award of £250 is presented to an individual who has shown commitment to Best Bar None, which is deemed to be above and beyond what would normally be required in support of their own local scheme, or nationally. This year the award was presented to Simon Lane, City Licensing Manager at Exeter City Council.

Exeter’s Best Bar None scheme was launched four years ago, and since then Simon Lane has been at the heart of its success. Not only has he ensured the continued growth and development of the scheme, he also voluntarily travels to, and speaks at, numerous Best Bar None events across Devon and Cornwall. He also sits on the BBN National Standard Review Group and brings his expertise of licensing and regulation to that table.

National Coordinator for Best Bar None, Mick McDonnell, said: “Simon is thoroughly deserving of this award. He completely embraces the ethos of Best Bar None and without his support, the Exeter scheme would not be as successful as it is.”