About Us

Home / About Us

About Us

BOSS is the authoritative body for the UK office products industry. We are a non-profit making organisation and do not pursue any economic or political objectives of our own, concentrating our efforts on playing a strategic role in the support, promotion and protection of the office products industry.


Who we represent

BOSS represents all businesses along the distribution chain in the office products industry, covering stationery, office machines and supplies, office furniture, office systems and related product areas. We have a wide breadth of membership from the smallest retailer to the largest manufacturer, and therefore represent a very large part of the industry turnover.



Price Cutting

BOSS has a long history, stretching back over 100 years to 1905, where salaries for the stationer were so poor due to price cutting that the Stationers Proprietary Articles Trade Association (SPATA) was formed. Its prime objective was to fight price cutting and establish a stable, orderly market.

SPATA published a list of approved products and prices, and if these were cut or sold to known price cutters, they were put on a stop list and supplies were cut off. This Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) seems unthinkable in today's price-slashing climate, but it had full legal backing until the 1960s.


Name Change

Despite ongoing financial pressures, SPATA changed its name in 1912 to the Stationers' Association, to reflect its success in protecting selling prices and to cover the varied role it now played. It soon added 'of Great Britain and Ireland' to include the widening geographical spread of its membership.

In the 1920s, the Stationers Association widened the services offered to members, introducing an Information Bureau, an Employment Bureau, a Free Legal Service and the Education Service. The Stationers' Association Benevolent Fund was established in 1925 to help needy colleagues, past and present.



The Stationers Association got much of its income from an annual exhibition following WW2, but the 1992 recession and other unfortunate circumstances caused heavy financial losses. This led to a structural overhaul, where staff numbers were halved and the Manufacturers, Wholesaler and Retailer / Dealer Management Boards were set up.

The Federation later re-established itself as a Limited company, which meant that any costs from potential legal action against the Federation were no longer the responsibility of members or staff to pay.



For many years BOSS was synonymous with its central London office at 6 Wimpole Street, followed by a short stint in Slough and later High Wycombe. In July 2007, the Federation signed an association management contract with the British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF), and shortly after it relocated back to London. BOSS has been located at the St Bride Foundation on Fleet Street since January 2017.



In BOSS' recent history, a significant development has been the increasing emphasis on industry standards, such as Packs & Pers and the Industry Standard Product Classification. In fact, the Federation has been so successful with several standards that many within the industry do not know business operations without it.


The Future

Over 100 years ago, SPATA was formed with a clearly defined objective of protecting and policing price cutting. Those particular worries are long gone but today, BOSS continues to represent all businesses along the distribution chain in the office products industry.

By 'connecting members to create our industry's bright future', BOSS is still pursuing the original SPATA mission - to bring commercial advantage to all its members.


Roll Of Honour

The following have served as Chairman of our Trade Association for more than 100 years, from the original formation of SPATA to today's British Office Supplies & Services Federation Limited.


1905-1906       George Fraenkel

1906-1907       George Kentish

1907-1908       Duncan Cameron

1908-1909       Sidney J Sandle

1909-1910       Duncan Cameron

1910-1911       Wallis Manford

1911-1912       H A Mead

1912-1913       J A Robinson

1913-1919       Percy Barringer

1919-1920       T W Thornton

1920-1921       Clifton Tollit

1921-1922       Frank P Dorizzi

1922-1923       Alex Finburgh

1923-1924       G Delgado

1924-1925       Charles Porter

1925-1926       Leonard Lydall

1926-1927       Alfred D Gascoigne

1927-1928       J Adams Keene

1928-1929       G Stewart Vivian

1929-1930       Walter Shaw

1930-1931       S H Smyth

1931-1932       E G Pullinger, JP

1932-1933       C H Shelton Cox

1933-1934       Lancelot D Spicer, DSO MC

1934-1935       F C Guildford

1935-1936       H Limbrey

1936-1937       W H Barrell, OBE JP

1937-1938       S E Sandle MC

1938-1939       Clifford B Dennis

1939-1940       A D Simmons

1940-1944       J W Hamilton-Jones

1944-1945       W A G Morgan

1945-1946       R L Lydall

1946-1947       E W Dancaster

1947-1948       H W Dewick

1948-1949       A D Simmons

1949-1950       J Ogilvie Lennox, JP

1950-1951       Norman Jones

1951-1952       Mancell Gutteridge

1952-1953       John Drew, JP

1953-1954       T E Franklin

1954-1955       H H Brookes

1955-1956       A Berner

1956-1957       H F Guildford

1957-1958       K G Collins

1958-1959       P J Pullinger

1959-1960       M M Thacker

1960-1961       R Thacker

1961-1962       F G Holliday

1963-1964       E Waterston, CA

1964-1965       Albert C Peters

1965-1967       W J Smith

1967-1969       J C Packford

1969-1970       P Warrand

1970-1972       F H Magson

1972-1973       G R Keay

1973-1974       J T Caddick

1974-1975       G H Weinberger

1975-1976       M F Tollit

1976-1978       C T Neate

1978-1981       L W Bayer, MBE

1981-1984       J E Parbury

1984-1986       G Demetriou

1986-1988       J S T Greenwood

1988-1990       A Jenkinson

1990-1992       T H Millar, MBE

1992-1994       N Tomkins

1994-1996       W R (Bill) Armstrong

1996-1998       S G Bellingham

1998-2000       Hugh Sear

2000-2004       Ron E Wotherspoon

2004-2006       Rick Needle

2006-2008       Duncan Savage

2008-2010       Alan Barclay

2010-2012       Philip Beer

2012-2014       Alan Ball

2014-2016       Sean Starkey

2016-2019       Geoffrey Betts

2019 -        Simon Drakeford