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Statement – Pip Wilkins, CEO, British Franchise Association: European Code of Ethics for Franchising

In recent weeks, an association has set up in the UK marketplace claiming to be a not-for-profit, self-regulatory franchise association. This association, alongside others, has provoked an influx of enquiries to us directly from concerned members and therefore I’d like to provide some insights, both historical and from present day as to the true nature and influence of any representative national franchise association. 

The European Code of Ethics is a self-regulatory code created and translated by the European Franchise Federation (EFF) including its Member, the British Franchise Association (bfa). The Members of the EFF are its authors and guardians and it is the national franchise associations of the EFF only that have the recognised accreditation by virtue of the due process that led to their membership to the EFF. This ensures that they actively commit to abide by it, get their members to abide by it and who all do so in respect of its true and proper purpose and use. 

The recognised national franchise associations of the EFF have the right and freedom to adapt the code for their country and market, of which the bfa did most recently in 2016. It is important to note that the code is not static; it is a living code and the bfa is responsible for integrating grass-roots evolutions, which in turn serves as guidance to legislators, the judiciary and other professional organisations.

As much as we encourage recognition and conformity to the Code within the UK franchise industry, The European Code of Ethics cannot simply be ‘borrowed’ as a publicity gimmick for any commercially-motivated organisation claiming to be a franchise association.

To clarify, the bfa is the only national franchise association in Britain with accreditation to the EFF, which as a consequence also gives access to the World Franchise Council (WFC). The communication, intelligence and influence at these levels enables true self-regulation and a significant ongoing due diligence framework that is sustained throughout any bfa member’s membership.

Since 1977, the bfa has protected the general public looking to invest in franchising by only promoting accredited brands. This continues to be one of our core focus areas and aligns to our vision to empower, promote and connect people in franchising. New associations setting up in the UK market do nothing but pose a risk to prospects and it is the responsibility of the bfa, and all its members, to protect the franchise industry. 

Pip Wilkins QFP 

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