Pubcos have come under sharp criticism for failing to adopt redrafted guidance from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) on setting fair rents. They were also attacked for failing to provide information for a national database on rents and other costs for tenants - although it was revealed that an "urgent" new effort to put this together is underway - during the first hearing of the Business, Innovation & Skills Committee's follow up inquiry on reform of the pubco/tenant relationship. The new RICS guidance, billed as clearer and fairer than the previous document, was drafted after criticism on the rent setting process by BISC's predecessor. Speaking during the hearing in Westminster this morning, independent pub valuer and multiple operator Garry Mallen said the guidance is a "better paper than the last one" but he added: "The problem we find is that pubcos are not implementing it properly. "Valuation is prepared by overworked BDMs [business development managers] trying to look after upwards of 60 pubs. They are not trained in rent valuations and most of the BDMs I've dealt with really know nothing about the RICS guidance and nothing about the ALMR [Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers] benchmarking [survey] of costs. "They have, from what I've seen, a prescribed formula for rent review but without the guidance they can't do it properly." Enterprise Inns was singled out for criticism during the session. The company's national rent controller Rob May declined his invitation to answer questions at the hearing, which earlier led to criticism from BISC chairman Adrian Bailey. "For reasons we can only speculate about, he declined the invitation," said Bailey "It shows his priorities." Outspoken BISC MP Brian Binley said: "I have the evidence that Punch are [training BDMs in the RICS guidance] and making an effort. I have no evidence whatsoever from the very famed Enterprise Inns, led by the very famed Ted Tuppen, [that the company is] embarking on that process. "It's a very serious matter that goes to the heart of the problem." Binley added: "Tenants are being misled when they go into pubs. It's that simple." David Rusholme, director of the Valuation Professional Group at RICS, was asked why the group has failed to put together a national database of operating costs, as urged by BISC's predecessor. "That attempt has failed on account of the commercial costs of putting it together," he replied. He explained that it was expensive to put in place the mechanisms for dealing with information that is commercially sensitive. But the failure to put a database together received an angry response from Simon Kirby, a BISC MP and a former multiple pub operator himself. "There are pubs across the country going bust week in, week out, and it's not going to get better as a direct result of the rents being charged and the discounts available. I don't understand why you can't have a database. I'm very disappointed in your failure in not bringing it forward." Binley added: "Surely it's not beyond the wit of the pubcos [to contribute to the survey]. They already have a view of what the pub is worth." Mallen also said there had been "no meaningful discussions" between ALMR and the British Beer & Pub Association about the survey. Rusholme revealed that "preliminary discussions" have taken place with "leading pubcos" about RICS leading a new attempt. The plan has support of the RICS board and the BII, he said. "If no one else is going to step up to the plate, we will do it. We will do it ourselves and we will do it quick," said Rusholme. When pressed on a timetable, he said it would happen "as urgently as we possibly can".