Promoting Responsible Community Retailing by Lobbying, Communication, Networking and Advice.

Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland


Get Yourself Covered With Retail Mutual

Independent retailers have a responsibility to ensure that their premises, stock, staff, customers and those in their immediate local community are kept safe and secure at all times. Just one incident can cause irreparable financial damage, and with increasing competition, even minor reputational damage can leave a small business fighting to survive. Preparing in advance and minimising your risk rather than dealing with problems after the fact will help protect your business and those around you. So what steps can you take?

Your staff and customers

As a business owner you are liable for staff or customers who injure themselves on your premises. Make sure your access paths are kept safe and clear in the event of ice and snow. Keep the inside of your shop free from trip hazards and train your staff to clean up any spillages immediately. Don’t forget to display warning signs where relevant.

Your premises

Simple maintenance inside and out can save you time and money and will also minimise your exposure to public or employee liability claims. Keep drains and gutters clear, insulate your pipes and maintain your roof to prevent water damage in colder weather.

Mitigate against fire damage by using dry risers, sprinklers and smoke detectors as appropriate. Carry out regular electrical inspections and avoid the temptation to use portable heaters close to flammable stock and materials when temperatures drop.  

Installing shutters can prevent damage to your shopfront and may help to reduce your business cover costs too.

Your stock

Make sure display shelving is securely fixed and try to avoid overstocking with heavy bottles and cans. This can cause collapse, resulting in damage and loss to stock as well as carrying a risk to staff and customers. Take adequate precautions when transporting stock to and from the premises, and where possible try to lock away any high-value stock such as tobacco out of hours to mitigate against theft. Always empty the till and leave it open to show that there is nothing inside to steal.  

Have you got it covered?

If you employ any staff, even on a part-time or casual basis, you are required by law to take out Employer’s Liability cover. If you own your own business premises, you will also need Building cover and should ensure your stock and contents are adequately covered too.

Public liability cover will protect you in the event that a member of the public suffers an accident – or claims to have done so – on your premises. Additional covers such as accidental damage or fixed glass can be a godsend in the event of an incident. Many cover providers charge an additional premium for these, however some specialist providers, such as The Retail Mutual, include it with their business cover as standard.

It is always important to check your business and liability cover wordings to satisfy yourself that they are adequate for your needs, and check that your cover limits are sufficient. If you are in any doubt, speak to your cover provider before the expected occurs.

The Retail Mutual is dedicated to the independent retail community and has been protecting Scottish convenience store owners for almost 20 years.  

For an immediate quote call 0333 2121007 or visit TheRetailMutual.Com for more information about our business, home and residential landlord cover for independent retailers.

Work Place Pensions

SGF is working with one of our key corporate members, AGL Wealth Management, to provide a tailored solution to the challenges of setting up a work place pension scheme. Just click on the AGL logo for a highly cost effective, straightforward and fully compliant solution.


Free Licensing & Employment Legal Hotlines

The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), in partnership with TLT, is delighted to announce the launch of a new service that includes free licensing and employment law hotlines for its members – this is  offered solely by TLT for the benefit of SGF members. In addition to accessing the free hotlines, SGF retail members will receive a discounted rate for additional legal services outside the scope of the hotlines, as well as other free benefits including a licence health check, legal bulletins and access to TLT seminars with free attendance.

The numbers below will give you direct access to expert solicitors in the licensing and employment sectors at the offices of TLT in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The hotlines are now live and taking calls from SGF members. This service is a fantastic edition to the benefits of being a member of the SGF and we urge our members to make use of these to seek specialist help on a range of issues which can have significance to your local business.

The licensing hotline is monitored by two of Scotland’s leading licensing solicitors – Partner and Head of Licensing (Scotland) at TLT, Stephen McGowan, and Licensing Legal Director at TLT, Niall Hassard. Between them, Stephen and Niall appear at all of Scotland’s licensing boards for local clients on a regular basis, and have represented many independent grocers and convenience store operators in numerous matters such as:

·        New Premises Licence Applications

·        New Personal Licence Applications

·        Variations to Existing Licences including: extra hours; extra activities; expansion and layout changes, manager changes and so on

·        Transfers of Licences – for example following disposal/acquisition of a shop or business

·        Review Hearings: defending your premises or personal licence when under threat of revokation, suspension

·        Enforcement Difficulties: issues arising with local licensing standards officers (eg promotions), test purchasing and more

·        Personal Licence Training (including Refresher Training)

·        Mandatory Staff Training for persons selling alcohol

Our employment hotlines are monitored by Partner Jonathan Rennie, a specialist employment solicitor with significant experience, and assistant solicitor in his team, Aileen Irvine. They can assist with queries arising from issues such as:

·        Staffing issues and procedures

·        Contracts

·        Queries over pay entitlements

·        Queries over holiday or leave entitlements

·        Employee misconduct

·        Employment Tribunal appearances

 Free Hotline Numbers:

 Licensing: 0333 006 1996

 Employment Law: 0333 006 1995

Employment Law and Health & Safety support for your business

RBS Mentor is an advisory, support and consultancy service, providing expert guidance to help UK businesses manage their regulatory and compliance obligations. Headquartered in Glasgow since the outset, we have been helping Scottish businesses for the last 20 years.

The Scottish Grocers Federation has teamed up with Mentor to offer a free two month trial of our advice service to SGF members (terms & conditions apply). Call 0800 634 7005 to find out more and quote ‘SGF16’. Please note that Mentor’s services incur a cost outwith the trial period.

Mentor helps businesses create and maintain effective employee relations with safer, environmentally friendly workplaces. We provide support on issues relating to employment law and HR, health and safety and environmental management, as well as offering specialist payroll solutions.

Mentor’s services are provided by qualified, experienced consultants, who take the time to get to know your business and work with your objectives.

Your business could benefit from:

  • Face-to-face support from your consultant
  • 24/7 Mentor Telephone Advice Service
  • MentorLearn training courses, from introductory to in-depth
  • MentorLive: our online portal, including templates, personalised documentation and employee records 

Take a look at these case studies to see what our customers say about us:

Novelli Associates

Jean-Christophe Novelli has made numerous TV appearances, but his sojourn into the international restaurant business in the ‘90s proved to be a bruising experience. Jean-Christophe rapidly built an empire of seven restaurants in London, France and South Africa and tasted stellar success, but fell into trouble within a few years. “I kept growing my business in a way that wasn’t sustainable,” he explains.

Read more…

Burrow Farm

When a small business expands, it often finds its employment responsibilities increase substantially. Help is at hand.

Burrow Farm has been supplying award-winning beef at its farm shop and farmers markets since 2007, but when it took over a traditional butchers shop, it went from being a small enterprise to being an employer. Consumers want to know where their food comes from providing businesses like Burrow Farm, which sells beef reared and prepared on its own premises, with a unique opportunity.

Read more…

Why choose Mentor? 

  • 650 combined years of experience
  • 14,000 customers across the UK
  • Established 20 years with a wealth of experience

For more information on what Mentor could do for your business please call 0800 634 7005. Quote ‘SGF16’ to take advantage of a free two month trial of our advice service under our agreement with the Scottish Grocers Federation (terms & conditions apply). 

Mentor produces a monthly eBulletin to keep businesses up to date with key changes that affect them. Sign up to receive this free bulletin here.