A new, independent and free dispute resolution service, the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) is appealing directly to the cultural and creative industries sector to see if their unresolved banking disputes can be tackled.
It is estimated that nearly 600,000 UK small and medium sized businesses with turnover between £1m and £10m across all sectors could qualify for the BBRS’ independent, free-of-charge specialist dispute resolution services dating back to 2001. This includes organisations which have since closed down, merged or been sold. The BBRS is urging business and charities in the sector with outstanding banking disputes to see if they can apply for support using a quick online tool, particularly those with older unresolved complaints, as the deadline for historical complaint applications is 14 February 2023.
The Co-Chairs of Future Arts Centres, a network of more than 100 UK arts centres, welcomed the opportunity for cultural and creative sector organisations to potentially benefit.
Annabel Turpin, CEO of ARC, Stockton-on-Tees, and Gavin Barlow, CEO of The Albany, Deptford, London said: “The establishment of the BBRS is extremely timely for many arts and cultural businesses that are struggling with the financial impacts of the pandemic.
“Organisations of all types in our sector which are eligible, including not-for-profit venues, are urged to use the free and impartial services of the BBRS to help resolve disputes that they may be having with their bank.
“This new support is very welcome. It could make a difference for many in the sector as we all take on the challenges of rebuilding business, supporting individuals and local communities, and contributing to the UK’s economic recovery”
Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, said: “It has been a testing period for so many of the UK’s small and mid-sized businesses. We have taken unprecedented measures to keep alive the creativity, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit which they bring to every sector of the economy and every community.
“It is important that businesses who have unresolved disputes with their bank check to see if they can receive support. Services like the BBRS will play a vital role in ensuring SME and their owners, past and present, can access expert advice and support for vital issues such as unresolves banking complaints, not only as we build back better from this pandemic but also well into the future.”
The BBRS is fully independent and free to use. The process is overseen by Chief Adjudicator, Alexandra Marks CBE, a Deputy High Court Judge, and resolves disputes based on what is fair and reasonable for each case. Businesses going through the service will be assigned a highly skilled dispute resolution specialist, who will act as a single point of contact and offer practical support. The BBRS can make both financial and non-financial awards when a complaint is upheld.
Chief Adjudicator Alexandra Marks said: “We want as many businesses as possible – and directors of those no longer operating – to have the opportunity to use the BBRS’ service. This includes businesses, trusts, charities, friendly societies, and co-operative societies. We urge them to see if they qualify for our help and, if so, to register. If unsure, businesses can check online or contact us to find out more.”
The BBRS’ Historical Scheme covers banking complaints first registered in the period from 1 December 2001 to 31 March 2019. Businesses may qualify for support if they had turnover between £1 million and £6.5 million per annum at the time of their complaint, and their case has not already been settled, been subject to an independent review, or gone to court. Businesses with turnover between £6.5m and £10m with unresolved banking complaints since April 2019 can apply to the BBRS’ Contemporary Scheme for support.
SMEs are encouraged to use a new online tool to see if the BBRS can help them. They can check and register online at: www.thebbrs.org.uk/register