The Guide to the Code of Ethics
One of the main objectives of the bfa, particularly in the absence of franchise specific legislation, is to promote ethical franchising in the UK and the interests of its members. As more and more businesses in the UK adopt franchising as a business expansion technique and the value of the franchise industry in the UK continues to grow so too the role of the bfa has expanded and by necessity has had to become wider and more representative of the franchise industry as a whole. In order to ensure that the bfa maintains its rightful role as the representative body for the franchise industry and the unofficial watchdog for standards, it has recently undergone an extensive review of its quality standards for members and an in depth consultation process culminating in a set of standards and procedures which, if followed, should ensure best practice within the franchise industry as a whole.
As a result, this latest edition of the Guide provides a more comprehensive explanation of what the bfa considers to be ethical behaviour and therefore best practice in a number of key areas in franchising. Although the guidance is aimed primarily at franchisors it also addresses issues which affect franchisees and professional advisors and consultants involved in the franchise industry. It is therefore invaluable reading for all those involved in franchising whether or not they aspire to become members of the bfa.
It must be recognised however that this Guide and the Code of Ethics itself is not intended to form the part of any contract between franchisor and franchisee unless the parties in question have specifically agreed this. In addition the bfa’s views as expressed in this Guide should not be taken as the definitive meaning of the Code of Ethics with legal standing.
A franchisor cannot and should not be expected to guarantee success but it should be expected to have proven the business concept as a franchise proposition as far as possible. There are business risks which can affect any category of business and franchising is not exempt. The business sector in which the franchise operates should be thoroughly investigated to ensure it is not a passing fad and that it is proven as a viable business with a future. This emphasises the need for careful, patient and thorough pilot testing of a business concept before rolling it out as a franchise proposition. This testing must be done at the risk and expense of the franchisor not franchisees.
The bfa monitors developments in the marketplace and from time to time issues guidelines to franchisor members on how to deal with new practices from its ethical point of view.
Those guidelines can be accessed on the bfa website and should be read in conjunction with this guide.The bfa will continue to keep the guidelines published in this booklet under review and will adapt and adjust them in the light of practical experience.