The British Franchise Association (commonly known as the BFA) is an industry body that represents the franchise sector in the UK. Its mission is to regulate the franchise industry, provide potential franchisees with information about franchising and help its members develop their businesses & the industry as a whole.
When prospective franchisees are looking at franchise opportunities, the BFA can give a degree of confidence that the franchisor is bound to act in an ethical manner & to provide the franchisee with a number of rights. The full list of franchisors who belong to the BFA can be found in the BFA member directory.
What is the role of the British Franchise Association?
The BFA sets standards for ethical franchising in the UK and accredits and oversees franchise businesses in order to ensure they meet these standards. The accreditation process involves an examination of a franchise operation against a rigorous set of criteria.
The BFA has an accreditation process as part of its membership application. Organizations are only allowed to become members if they meet the standards the BFA outlines in its rigorous set of criteria & operate in an ethical manner.
The BFA also offers a wealth of resources for both franchisors and potential franchisees. These include educational programs, industry research, networking opportunities, and a range of professional advice and support services.
Through its work, the BFA seeks to promote a greater understanding of the franchise model, ensure good business practices and ultimately help the UK franchise industry to grow and prosper.
Its aim is to promote ethical franchising for UK franchisors & franchisees to help build trust in the industry & to enable growth. It does this with a strict standards based approach to membership of the association.
As part of its duties, the BFA collaborates with government, academia, the media, other trade associations and the general public in order to develop & evolve best practice. Any franchise that becomes a member commits to upholding those standards.
In addition, the BFA provides industry research & has regularly prepared the bfa NatWest Franchise Survey which shows the state of the franchise industry over time.
Who regulates franchises in the UK?
There isn’t a government body that regulates franchises. This is one reason why the British Franchise Association is important to franchisees. The BFA requires its members to abide by the European Code of Ethics for Franchising which provides clear & unambiguous ethics principles for franchises to follow. The BFA also works in association with the World Franchise Council which works to provide global standards for franchising.
What is the European Code of Ethics for Franchising?
The European Code of Ethics for Franchising was originally drawn up in 1972 by members of the newly-founded European Franchise Federation. It directly reflects the experience of good behaviour of franchisors and franchisees in Europe. It was reviewed in 1992 in order to fit into the framework of the European Union & further in 2016. The code aims to reflect industry best practices from both established franchisors & from grass-roots members.
The code includes a number of ethical responsibilities for franchisors:
- They must have operated their business concept with success in the relevant market
- They must recognize their franchisees as independent entrepreneurs and shall not directly or indirectly subordinate them as employees
- They must provide franchisees with initial training and continuing commercial and /or technical assistance during the entire life of the agreement
- They have a responsibility to maintain & develop industry know-how & grant the rights of use of this know-how to franchisees
- They must monitor the actions of their franchisees
- They must invest in the promotion of their brand & in industry innovation in order to ensure the long-term development of their business
- They must give franchisees access to all information relating to the franchise relationship before the signing of a franchise agreement
- They must provide a franchise agreement that is in accord with the Code of Ethics
The code also includes responsibilities for franchisees who should:
- Collaborate loyally with the franchisor
- Devote their best endeavours to the growth of the business
- Be responsible for the actions of their business with regard to third parties (& customers)
- Communicate operating data with the franchisor
- Not disclose operating know-how to others
The code also includes responsibilities for both franchisors & franchisees to:
- Safeguard the reputation of the franchise network
- Exercise in good faith & fairness in their dealings with franchisors
- Resolve disputes in good faith
The code has a number of other ethical standards including advertising in a manner that is free of ambiguity & misleading statements.
Belvoir Group & the British Franchise Association
Belvoir Group has a long association with the British Franchise Association, being founder members of the organisation. Our founder, Mike Goddard was the chairman of the BFA from 2008 to 2014 (as well as a Director of The Property Ombudsman). These are outward signs of Belvoir Group’s commitment to acting ethically within the industry & to establishing best practice.