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The British Institute of Innkeeping (more commonly known by its acronym BII) was formed in 1981, after the licensed trade recognised a need for an independent authority to set basic standards for licensees and key staff.

It was run by committees for the first few years and it was an almost impossible task to build membership and deliver basic key skills. However, the Induction certificate and Qualifying Exam were introduced, which were the foundations for the pheonomenally sucessful National Licensee's Certificate.

Membership reached over 9,000 in 1994, when Mary Curnock Cook became head of the organisation, the New Innkeeper magazine was launched as a means to provide a dialogue with membership and to communicate news, particularly of new qualifications. This was relaunched in May 2001 as biiBUSINESS.

By 1998, the organisation was powerful enough to begin addressing one of the industry's biggest issues - that of recruiting and retaining a quality workforce. This resulted in Lesiure Careers (relaunched as biiCAREERS in 2001), which aims to communicate the reality of a career in licensed retailing to young people through schools, colleges and professionals - many of whom still see the industry in an old fashioned light.

By the time Mary Curnock Cook moved on, she had increased membership by 60 per cent and seen take up of qualifications rise from 5,000 per year to over 5,000 per month. She was also awarded the OBE in 2000 for services to training in the hospitality and tourism industries. John McNamara, the BII's new Chief Executive joined in January 2002.

biiCAREERS also works with companies to facilitate close links with their local communities and to advise on providing well-supported careers - not just jobs. The licensed retail industry currently employs over 900,000 people in the UK and is worth £23 billion. The industry also needs to fill 230,000 vacancies by the year 2004, highlighting the need for such a careers service.

The BII is currently tackling another huge issue, that of crime and disorder, through its social responsibilities initiative. This encourages members to get involved with local crime reduction partnerships. It started in six geographical areas, namely Leeds, Knowsley, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon, Brent and West Sussex. This has resulted in a better understanding of the role licensees can play and a country wide scheme to improve community safety and reduce alcohol related crime and disorder.

There has also been the development of an Advanced Qualification Diploma for licensees and the Entertainment Licensee's Certificate for licensees with Public Entertainments Licences. The BII has also produced qualifications for tackling drugs and a two-stage qualification for door staff.

Most recently, the BII has launched the Barperson's National Certificate - this tests the barperson's knowledge of licensing law and their social responsibility when selling intoxicating liquor. The qualification forms one of the modules of the Professional Barsperson's Qualification which was launched in September 2002. This will further add to the BII's range of qualifications, designed to underpin membership and a career path for licensed retailers.

The BII is recognised in the UK as the biggest professional organisation for the licensed trade industry and continues to set the accepted standards for training and qualifications. The BII's code of conduct runs as follows :

The Institute expects that:

  • Its members will at all times conduct themselves and their business in a lawful manner.
  • The establishments for which its members are responsible will be operated according to the best practice and standards of the industry, and in particular, that the health and safety of customers and employees will be protected.
  • Its members will not act in such a manner as to bring themselves, their profession or the Institute into disrepute.
  • Its members will take a responsible interest in keeping up to date with new developments and enhance their own professional knowledge.
  • Its members will take an active interest in assisting the professional development and technical education of those persons in their business for which they are responsible.
  • Members undertake to pursue business and employment practices that do not knowingly tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination with regard to sex, race or disability. They also undertake not to knowingly collude with any person, persons or organisation engaged in unlawful discriminatory practice.
  • In addition members must seek to work towards removing unfair discrimination in business and employment practices including, but not limited to, age, religion and background wherever it is practical to implement.
There are five grades of membership of the BII
  • Graduate (GBII)
    A person employed in, or about to enter, or training towards a position directly concerned with the day-to-day operation of public houses such as Bar Person or Assistant Manager. They must hold the National Certificate for Licensees.

  • Associate (AMBII)
    An individual who has one year's experience as a manager/licensee and who is directly concerned with the day-to-day supervision of public houses, e.g. Licensee; Tenant; Lessee; Full Manager; Area Manager, Freetrade Owner, District Manager or Business Development Manager.

  • Member (MBII)
    The MBII grade holds the same criteria as above (AMBII) but entrants must have been a licensee/manager or executive within their organisation for at least 5 years. In addition MBIIs working within a licensed establishment must pass an Institute in-house assessment.

  • Affiliate (ABII)
    Entrants to the ABII grade must hold a managerial position within their organisation. They are executives within specialised functions that directly or indirectly contribute to the day-to-day management of on-licensed premises. Affiliates cannot upgrade until they are directly concerned with the day-to-day supervision of public houses.

  • Fellow (FBII)
    The FBII grade holds the same criteria as AMBII and MBII but is only applicable to existing members who must have the additional experience and qualifications. In addition FBIIs must: have been a Full Member (MBII) for at least one year & hold at least one of the Institute's Advanced Qualifications.
Qualifications endorsed by the BII
Source : http://www.bii.org

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