BBN UK News Update


Best Bar None News - Spring 2017





To our new look newsletter, which will be produced quarterly and in which we will aim to share best practice, keep you up-to-date with news across the BBN regions and share your stories.


In this issue we celebrate the winners of the National Best Bar None Awards; take a look at the new Evaluation Tool Kit; Share what has been taking place in Scotland; Northern Ireland and America - yes America - and take a look at the growing army of BBN schemes as they launch and relaunch in 2017.


Your feedback is invaluable so please send your comments.  If there is a topic you would like covered then please feel free to drop us a line and we will endeavour to include as many topics as possible in future issues.

Mick McDonnell,

National BBN Coordinator








The House of Lords played host to an eclectic audience on the night of the Best Bar None (BBN) National Awards.  Schemes from across the country gathered with MP's, government officials, industry representatives and the media to see the prestigious awards presented to the exceptional programmes that operate in our towns and cities.


Sarah Newton, MP, Home Office Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism launched the awards and presented the Outstanding Contribution Award to Tracey Ford from the Sheffield Drug and Alcohol Action Team.  National BBN Co-ordinator Mick McDonnell said, "Through her leadership and commitment the BBN scheme continues to evolve and grow year on year. Tracey has been instrumental in proving that true partnership can, and does, achieve fantastic results."


The Best New Scheme saw schemes in Torquay, Central Bedfordshire and Clapham go head-to-head with Clapham BBN announced as winner. "An area which has a challenging evening and night time economy has embraced over 75% of its pubs and bars engage with Best Bar None in the first year," said Best Bar None Chairman Robert Humphreys, "A fantastic start in a one of London's liveliest areas."

The award was received by scheme coordinator Jeremy Keates from Stephen Carpenter, Senior Public Affairs Manager, Pernod Ricard UK who sponsor the BBN programme. 


Next up was Most Innovative Scheme, which proved to be the most popular of all categories this year.  Central Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire and Exeter were short-listed with Exeter topping the judge's scorecard with their full-service App and the development of an innovative Queue Tracker.  The QT looks to minimise flare points outside clubs and bars through informing customers of wait times leading to better people management and reduced incidents. The award was presented to scheme coordinator Jenny Sexton by sponsor representative Debbie Read, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Molson Coors.


The final award, for the Best Overall Scheme, went to Durham, whose entry was a shining example of engaging not only the industry but the general public too. Crime figures have fallen consistently year-on-year and public awareness and engagement has risen through innovative marketing and promotion.  The award was received by scheme coordinator Carol Feenan from sponsor Mark Baird, Head of Alcohol in Society at Diageo. Robert Humphreys said, "Durham is an outstanding example of a BBN programme that has continued to evolve through strong leadership, widespread engagement with all agencies and positive consumer engagement.  Having sustained the programme for over 10 years it is testament to the commitment of the team that improvement has been constant over the years."


Sheffield and Central Bedfordshire, also finalists in the category, also saw impressive reductions in alcohol related crime and disorder. "Durham is an outstanding example of a BBN programme that has continued to evolve through strong leadership, widespread engagement with all agencies and positive consumer engagement.  The scheme is seen as an essential tool to help manage the evening and night-time economy whilst making the area an attractive place to work and visit," said Robert Humphreys.





Best Bar None in the U.S.A.

Occasionally we get requests for help from around the globe and its great to hear if the practical advice given turns into positive action.  About a year ago we were contacted by Corporal Dimitrios Mastoras, a police officer from Arlington County, in the State of Virginia in America.

Jim, as he is known, explained that he was the Restaurant Liaison Officer in the county and Virginia state law says that you can only serve alcohol if you serve food so he was effectively the alcohol lead for Arlington.

Jim had read up on BBN and wanted to know more and whether he could implement a similar programme in the U.S. We offered advice, information and guidance and helped him create a framework which has now resulted in The Arlington Restaurant Initiative which acknowledges the part BBN has played in helping shape it. Our logo is proudly displayed and we received a super letter of thanks: 


Corporal Dimitrios Mastoras, Restaurant Liaison Officer, Arlington County Police Department, VA

The nightlife scene in Clarendon, a neighbourhood in Arlington, VA, has grown dramatically in the past ten years. With the growth in restaurants and patrons, police saw an increase in public safety issues, specifically quality of life and public disorder crimes. In the spring of 2016, the Arlington County Police Department created a full-time restaurant liaison officer position to address these issues and assist in raising the best practices of restaurants that serve alcohol. Under Virginia's Alcohol Beverage Control Department law, all businesses that serve alcohol must serve food. The result of this law is there are no traditional "bars or pubs".


In evaluating how to develop a program that would raise the best practices of restaurants in Arlington, the department assessed the standards outlined in the Best Bar None program. Using this program, with the assistance of National Coordinator Mick McDonnell, has allowed Arlington, VA to develop a program tailored to fit our laws and develop standards to raise best practices. Without Best Bar None's proven success and blueprint, it would have taken far more time to develop and implement standards for the restaurants.






STOP PRESS..... STOP PRESS.....STOP PRESS....STOP PRESS ...STOP BBN Chairman Robert Humphreys and Director David Lucas to speak at 2017 Institute of Licensing Conference.........






Mick has been crossing borders to Scotland and Northern Ireland looking for synergies and ways in which we can all share best practice.  BBN Scotland Coordinator Arlene Campbell shared some highlights over the last few months 



Eleven venues gain national recognition at Best Bar None

Scotland Awards 2016-17


A Glasgow nightclub has been recognised as the best licensed premises in Scotland. 


won the national award for BBN Best Night Club and also scooped the National Champion Award


Forty seven finalists took part in the annual national awards across ten award categories with venues represented in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, West Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Airdrie and Coatbridge, Fife, Renfrewshire and the Scottish Borders.


This year's awards also saw finalists for the first time from schemes in East Lothian, Elgin and East Renfrewshire.


There are ten categories within the award scheme: Pub, Independent Pub, Bar, Independent Bar, Hotel Bar, Night Club, SEV (Specialist Entertainment Venue), Heart of the Community, Newcomer and Innovation in Social Responsibility.


This year a special new Platinum status award was introduced with nominations from Best Bar None Scotland local co-ordinators resulting in five venues receiving the Platinum status to reward continuous excellence, which was supported by Chivas Brothers-Pernod Ricard.


The awards ceremony was introduced by Mandy Haeburn-Little, Chair of Best Bar None Scotland and CEO of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) who said, "The National Best Bar None Awards continue to raise the profile of the fantastic work our venues do in support of the night time economy but in particular their innovation and social responsibility practices which impress the judges year on year. The licensed trade is a key sector of Scottish business and we are very pleased to recognise this."



Project Griffin - "Be Alert - Not Alarmed"

The BBN Scotland team continue to deliver the Operation Griffin Modules informing venues in the Night Time Economy about "Being Alert and not Alarmed" and the important part they can play as part of the prevention of terrorism in crowded places, in light of the recent incident in Westminster, this will continue to be rolled out including working with Security Staff. Securigroup supported the delivery of training to 70 of their staff who all work in the leisure and hospitality sector.


Finally, the Good night Out Films which focus on raising awareness of vulnerability in the night time economy are being delivered to Best Bar None Venues.  The training covers three scenarios - first one is Amy 17 year old girl who becomes separated from friends on a night out, second one is Graham, who has a run in with staff and then walks home alone and thirdly Laura who takes a non-legitimate taxi home.


Find out more about our BBN Winners and Good Night Out film on the link here









House of Lords backs Best Bar None


In its Report published last month (4th April), the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003 picked out Best Bar None for particular praise, describing the scheme as "one of the foremost that the Committee heard about" amongst the voluntary schemes they considered. 


The Report explained that Best Bar None is "a national award scheme, supported by the Home Office and the drinks industry, aimed primarily at promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises through partnership working


"Local Authorities can adopt and promote a BBN scheme in their area, with support from the organisation, and the initiatives which flow from it are intended to reduce the negative impacts of the night time economy, while improving the consumer's experience".


The Committee concluded "We welcome all the initiatives of which we heard evidence, including BIDs, Best Bar None, Purple Flag and others, and recognise the effort that goes into them and the potential they have to control impacts and improve conditions in the night time economy. We commend the flexibility which such schemes appear to offer, and the bespoke way in which they are developed to match the needs of their locality"






Official government statistics (ONS and HSCIC) show significant and sustained falls in rates of binge drinking (down 19%), alcohol-related violent crime (down 41%) and underage drinking (down 38%), during the last decade. Closer partnership working between industry, police and local authorities continues to be an important factor in tackling alcohol harms across the UK and Best Bar None plays an important role in that partnership.  

Our schemes across the country are contributing to making local towns and cities safer and in order to understand what level of contribution BBN makes within communities we have worked with other agencies to produce the Evaluation Toolkit consisting of two parts. 

1. The Baseline Evaluation will provide an information base against which to monitor and assess the BBN scheme's progress, effectiveness and impact on an on-going basis. 

2. Year on Year Evaluations.  Following the baseline measurement the year-on-year evaluation will provide information to ascertain how BBN has contributed to improvements/changes in reducing crime and disorder, building relationships and supporting local economic growth. 

It is important that this measurement system is adopted by all schemes as we drive BBN forward, and request that you take a base line measurement of key criteria as you launch your yearly programme.  All new schemes are required to undertake this from commencement of the programme to help measure success and existing schemes are asked to adapt their current measurement criteria to reflect the nationwide measurement areas.  If you have not yet undertaken your baseline measurement or need help with the toolkit, please contact Mick McDonnell who will assist you with this important task.



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