Reporter: Ross Bentley
Our Autumn series of talks kicked off with a visit by Richard Peck of the Royal Warrant Holders Association on 26th September in our new venue at the Town Hall Assembly Rooms. It was a fascinating insight into how the mark of royal patronage from medieval times has translated into celebrating standards and ‘quality assurance’ today.
The presentation was reported in the local press via the following link
and you can also read it below.
How does a business get awarded a Royal Warrant?
Just what it takes for a business to have the right to bear the Royal coat of arms on its stationery and packaging was explained in a recent presentation by the man responsible for overseeing the process.
Richard Peck, who is CEO of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, visited Suffolk to give a talk to civic group, the Sudbury Society.
A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a mark of recognition for a business, which has supplied goods or services to the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for at least five years, and which has an ongoing trading arrangement.
Those who apply for the warrant undergo an appraisal, which looks further into how the business runs and whether it is operating sustainably. Royal Warrants are not granted for professional services, such as bankers or solicitors, and are aimed at those businesses practising the trades.
Today there are around 800 Royal Warrant holders representing a huge cross-section of trade and industry, from individual craftspeople to global multi-nationals. Of this number 85 companies are located in the wider East Anglia region including eight in Suffolk. These include Newmarket sausage maker Musk’s, pest control specialist Command Pest Control at Preston St Mary near Sudbury and ForFarmers, a livestock feed supplier based at Rougham.
But these businesses are not allowed to rest on their laurels, as Royal Warrants are granted for a maximum of five years before they are reviewed to ensure designated businesses are maintaining standards.
“It’s important that there are regular reviews as it keeps the process dynamic and keeps everyone on their toes,” said Mr Peck, who said the origins of the Royal Warrant can be traced back to medieval times, when competition for Royal favour was intense and the Monarch had the pick of the country’s best tradespeople.
And this heritage can be seen in the make-up of the businesses holding Royal Warrants today – 80% are small businesses and 50% of these are manufacturing companies.
One of the roles of the Royal Warrant Holders Association is to bring these businesses together to “exchange knowledge and collaborate” said Mr Peck, who has the enviable job of visiting the companies, including the many suppliers of champagne to the Royal Household.
“We hold some great lunches and seminars where large companies such as Jaguar and Unilever can help smaller companies in areas such as looking for export markets,” he added.
And despite the historical nature of the Royal Warrant, Mr Peck said he is constantly impressed by the innovation and “brilliance” he finds in the companies he deals with.
“People are saying with Brexit that businesses are depressed but I’m finding the opposite,” he said
“When I hear the world is doom and gloom, I just go and see a Royal Warrant holder.”
Royal Warrant “a marque of quality” at Musk’s Sausages of Newmarket
Maker of Newmarket Sausages, Musk’s, has held five Royal Warrants granted by four members of the Royal Family, dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. The company’s first came in 1907 from King George V (then the Prince of Wales) before Edward, Prince of Wales, continued the relationship in 1929. A third warrant was awarded in 1965 by the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother while Musk’s current warrant is with Her Majesty the Queen and dates back to 2000.
“We primarily supply Sandringham – when Her Majesty visits there over Christmas, there is usually an order going through,” said Musk’s managing director Ed Sheen. He says despite the addition of numerous sausages types to the company’s range in recent years, such as pork and leek, and gluten free, the Royal Household still insist on the classic Newmarket Sausage, whose recipe dates back to the 1884.
“For us the Royal Warrant is a marque of quality,” added Mr Sheen. “Not all our customers comment on it but there are some who think it is fantastic.”