The irresponsible consumption of alcohol can have detrimental effects on the social structures of local communities. We recognise that publicans, supermarkets, off-licences, the Government and the consumer all have responsibilities towards the promotion and management of a responsible drinking environment. We seek to be responsible by the following means:
- Drinkaware - The Company is a sponsor of the Drinkaware Trust. Drinkaware promotes responsible drinking and finds innovative ways to challenge the national drinking culture to help reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol-related harm. This independent UK-wide charity is supported by voluntary donations from across the drinks industry and provides people with accessible, evidence-based information about alcohol and its effects it works alongside the medical community, third sector organisations, government and drinks manufacturers and retailers to promote responsible drinking
- Proof of age - We actively promote various proof of age card schemes to all publicans and provide details of a variety of schemes to all new publicans to enable them to operate a scheme in their premises. We promote the industry's Challenge 21 campaign and have provided campaign materials to every pub
- National alcohol harm reduction strategy - Through membership of the BBPA, we have actively participated in discussions with the Government in the fulfilment of its National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy
- Addressing consequences of alcohol misuse - We continue to work proactively with local authorities and have actively made commitments to provide support for schemes such as Best Bar None and Pubwatch to develop and implement policies and strategies that are designed to address the potential consequences of alcohol misuse whilst not penalising the majority of responsible publicans and their customers
- Drinks range - We supply our publicans with an extensive range of products including many low and reduced alcohol alternatives and in our own managed pubs offer a full range of products
- Drinks labels - We support suppliers who have introduced sensible drinking messages on their products
- Responsibility Deal - We support the Governments Public Health Responsibility Deal and encourage our publicans to embrace responsible retailing and enjoyment of alcohol especially in the safe and sociable environment of the pub. We continue to proactively communicate units of alcohol by measure to ensure our publicans can easily inform their customers and operate our managed business the same way.
Gaming and leisure machines are an integral part of the business for most pubs, providing entertainment to the consumer and an important income stream to the business.
We are committed to ensuring that our publicans are aware of both their legal and social responsibilities under the Gambling Act 2005.
It is the responsibility of all licensees and pub operators to create and maintain a safe, secure and relaxing environment for their customers. We support our publicans though free training and help and advice from their Regional Manager to ensure they can fulfil these obligations.
We continue to work extensively with publicans, local authorities and local communities to ensure that licensing hours and conditions are appropriate and take account of the opportunities and interests of all parties. Through membership of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), we continue to engage with government departments within the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to promote understanding of, and compliance with, the licensing regime.
Our publicans support local businesses
We offer an extensive range of regional and craft beers to our publicans. We work closely with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) through whose distribution network our publicans can access many regional microbrewery products.
Our publicans also recognise that by sourcing local fresh produce they are not only providing their customers with great quality but also supporting local businesses and the community.
Our Regional Managers and Operations team work with our publicans to help them ensure they offer the highest levels of retail standards to their customers and provide a safe and welcoming environment at all times. These include levels of service, cleanliness, product quality and overall health and safety.
As beer is such an intrinsic part of our customer offer ei group work closely with Cask Marque an independent body that assesses the quality of beer served by member pubs. Ei group financially supports over 650 pubs to join the Cask Marque scheme.
We advise our publicans on the importance and delivery of systems and processes to ensure they not only provide a good experience for their customers but they also work within the relevant legislation.
Supply chain management
In 2015 we revisited the need for an ethical purchasing policy. We have now formed a dedicated procurement team who will work in the coming year with our key suppliers to ensure they share similar values to our own, to ensure sustainability is considered as part of the procurement process and that suppliers have the highest standards of ethical business decisions and practices.
The managed business
Where we now have operational control of our estate of managed pubs with that direct control we are able to influence how best to manage waste disposal, recycling and energy efficiency. As our managed business grows we will grow our capabilities to deliver sustainable operating procedures which are mindful of the environment and the local community. In particular we have engaged with a specialist independent energy consultancy for expert advice and guidance on energy saving opportunities and efficiencies. They are providing detailed energy surveys and recommendations to improve efficiency and energy management which allow us to focus investment where annual savings have attractive short and long-term payback periods and improve energy ratings for the properties. In the longer-term we intend to take these initiatives to the leased and tenanted estate and include them in our investment considerations, harnessing greater efficiencies across the wider estate. In the managed estate we do not operate any 24 hour licenses and are able to directly promote age appropriate supplies and directly engage with local communities where we are also able to recruit local employees for the retail business.
Health and safety
Ei group takes the health and safety management of its employees, publicans and supply chain partners very seriously. To ensure the health and safety function is best placed to meet the evolving needs of the business, we operate two groups which deal with strategic safety and also operational issues. These are designed to ensure that every area and function of the organisation can contribute to the development of relevant safety systems and procedures. Safety Management Group (SMG) – meets on a quarterly basis to review any day-to-day operational safety challenges, demands and required solutions for the organisation. This includes developing any changes to our policies or procedures. These are designed to maintain safety with minimum impact on our operational and commercial objectives. Any breaches of our policies or procedures are also reviewed by this group. Strategic Safety Group (SSG) – meets on a monthly basis to oversee the strategic direction of safety within the business. This group is specifically tasked with a governance role to discuss the business’s performance, operational targets, and objectives and performance in relation to safety. Primary Authority (PA) – the Company continues to participate in the Government’s Primary Authority Scheme (PAS) and regularly interacts with regulators. The Company has a relationship with Westminster City Council for health and safety, West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service for Fire Safety, and is currently exploring a relationship with Milton Keynes Borough Council for Food Safety and related enforcement. The PAS arrangement ensures a company trading across council boundaries is guaranteed access to robust and reliable advice in relation to regulatory responsibilities.