Published: February 15, 2018 1:59 pm

Plymouth picked up the title for ‘Best Overall Scheme’ in this year’s prestigious ‘National Best Bar None Awards’. Torquay was highly commended in the same category and Bolton and Sheffield received top category awards; Bolton for ‘Best New Scheme’ and Sheffield for ‘Most Innovative Scheme’.

PC Natalie Dolan of Greater Manchester Best Bar None was singled out as winner of the ‘Outstanding Commitment Award’, presented to an individual who has shown commitment above and beyond what would normally be required in support of their own local Best Bar None scheme, or nationally.

The winners were announced at a special parliamentary reception, which took place at the House of Lords on Monday 5th February. The awards ceremony was hosted by Chairman of Best Bar None, Lord Smith of Hindhead CBE, who said: “I was delighted to become the Chairman of Best Bar None at a time when it is increasingly important for the industry to maintain self-regulation, demonstrating that licensed premises are well run, responsible businesses that have a positive impact within our towns and cities.

“I have always believed that a society which socialises together is a stronger society. The so called ‘stay at home’ culture is not good for our industry and statistics show that people who drink in company consume less alcohol than those who stay at home, and they also benefit from social cohesion. We want more people to go out and enjoy our great pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.

“It is important to remind Government that the hospitality industry is the third largest private sector employer. Three million jobs are directly supported through Hospitality UK. That is 9% of all UK employees. And if we just take from that figure the statistics relating solely to eating and drinking out, then our pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants generate £63billion turnover each year, returning a third of that turnover in taxes funding vital public services. In fact, one in three of all new jobs created last year was generated by the hospitality industry.

Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability and Minister for Women, also addressed the guests. She said: “The Government’s Modern Crime Prevention Strategy contains new measures to prevent alcohol related crime by improving local intelligence, establishing effective partnerships and equipping the police and local authorities with the right powers.

“The strategy has also committed to launch a second phase of the Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA) programme as part of our work to establish effective local partnerships to make the night time economy safer. Since its launch in January last year, we have been working with 32 areas across England and Wales to support local action, and working in partnership to tackle alcohol-related harms.

“An important part of that initiative was the founding of a highly successful Best Bar None scheme. I’m grateful for the work that Best Bar None and other schemes do to improve this essential partnership working, making our cities and towns that much safer.

“The Home Office supports Best Bar None because we share common objectives of reducing alcohol-related crime and disorder and promoting the responsible management of licensed premises and the licensed trade, working with businesses, the police and local authorities. The schemes that receive awards tonight provide excellent examples of the role that Best Bar None can play in achieving those objectives.”

Best Bar None is funded by the industry and its main sponsors and supporters are HEINEKEN, Diageo, Pernod Richard, Molson Coors, Asahi, Stonegate Pub Company, JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butler and Ei Group.

Winning schemes Bolton and Plymouth both have Stonegate licensees at the forefront of the schemes. Commercial Director for Stonegate Pub Company, Suzanne Baker, said: “A large number of the pubs in our estate are involved with Best Bar None at a local level. It plays a very important role in reducing alcohol related crime and creating a safer environment within the communities in which it operates. We are proud to support such an important initiative and delighted that many of our pubs have won top accolades as a result of their involvement in the scheme.”

Best Bar None Annual Report and Video

The inaugural Best Bar None Annual Report was launched at the awards, along with a new Best Bar None Video outlining the success of the scheme to date and summarising plans for the future.