Following the need for an independent authority to set basic standards for key staff and licensees, the British Institute of Innkeeping was established to carry out this mission. For the first few years it was run by committees, which made it next to impossible to form membership and deliver key skills. With the introduction of Qualifying Exam and Induction Certificate, however, there were created basic foundations for the National Licensee's Certificate.
In 1994 when Mary Curnock Cook became the head of BII, the membership reached more than 9,000. The same year the New Innkeeper magazine was introduced as a means to communicate news of new qualifications and provide a dialogue with the organization's members. In May 2001 the magazine was re-launched as BII BUSINESS.
By the year 1999 BII had enough power to start addressing one of the largest and most important issues in the industry, namely acquiring and retaining the quality workforce. This resulted in Leisure Careers, aimed at communicating the career reality to young people through colleges and schools. During the period of 1998-2004 membership increased by 60% and qualifications rose from 5,000 per year to more than 5,000 per month. In 2000 Mary Curnock Cook was awarded the OBE for services in the tourism and hospitality industries. The new Chief Executive of BII, John McNamara joined in 2002.
Relaunched as BII Careers in 2001, Leisure Careers co-operates with companies with the aim of facilitating close links with their local communities, as well as offering advice on well supported careers. Currently the licensed retail industry, worth $27 billion, employs nearly 900,000 people throughout the UK.
Another vital issue tackled by BII is that of disorder and crime through its social responsibilities initiative, which encourages BII's members to get involved in crime reduction partnerships. This was started in six geographical areas, including North Warwickshire, Leeds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Knowsley, West Sussex and Brent. BII has also launched the Advanced Qualification Diploma and the Entertainment Licensee's Certificate for licenses.
One of the recent developments include the Barperson's National Certificate that tests social responsibility and knowledge of licensing law of a barperson.
Today BII is regarded as the largest professional organization for licensed trade industry in the United Kingdom and continues to set the standards for qualifications and training. The British Innkeeping Institute expects that the establishments for which its members bear responsibility are operated in accordance with the accepted standards and best practices of the industry, with the regard for safety and health of employees and customers.
The members are also expected to take an interest in keeping up to date with the latest developments that would improve their professional knowledge, and assist the technical education and professional development of those businesses for which they exercise responsibility. In addition, members should work towards eliminating unfair discrimination in employment practices, like religion, background and age.