CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT
by Philip Smith, Secretary of the A.C.C.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Our Club recently approached a new Bank for the purpose of changing Bank Accounts. We have been dissatisfied with our existing Bank for some time and thought the process for changing Banks would be simple. The new Bank refuses to open an account saying that the Club is not registered with Companies House. Our Club has never had any communication with Companies House and we are struggling to provide the Bank with their requested information.
I think the reason why your new Bank is having difficulty in processing your application is due to the fact that it has mistakenly considered your Club to be a Limited Company. In fact, the Club is a Registered Industrial and Provident Society and is not listed at Companies House. The Club has no Certificate of Incorporation or Memorandum and Articles or Association. The Bank has seen the word Limited at the end of your title and made an incorrect assumption.
May I suggest that you return to the Bank armed with the Club's Rule Book informing them that the Club is an Industrial and Provident Society and is registered with the FSA, Mutual Societies Section.
The Club Committee suspended a Member for Three months at the end of last year. This Member was also a Member of the Club's Committee. The Member in question claims that following the completion of his suspension period he will be entitled to return to the Committee. I do not think that this is permitted under the Rules and would appreciate your advice.
By reference to the Club's h Rules, when this period of suspension comes to an end, the Member may resume the facilities of Membership of the Club. However, this Member may not return to the previously elected position on the Club Committee.
This position is now a casual vacancy and should be filled by the Committee appointing a person who will hold this place for as long as the suspended Member would have held it.
I confirm, however, that the Member in question would be entitled to be nominated for re- election to the Club's Committee at the Club's Annual General Meeting provided, of course, that the period of suspension ends prior to the deadline date of nominations being closed.
What is the situation if a Member of our Club's Staff serves a Member or guest who they suspect may be over the legal limit and will be driving? Could the Club or Member of Staff be liable in any way should such a person be involved in an accident?
By reference to Section 141 of the Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence to sell or supply alcohol to a person who is knowingly drunk or to allow alcohol to be sold or supplied to such a person.
I have to say, that this particular Section is not imposed by Police Licensing Officers or local Licensing Authorities in a manner which has in any way reduced drunkenness that can be witnessed in almost any part of the UK on any Friday or Saturday evening. However, it may be useful for your Committee to be aware of this Section, since it would support any decision which may be made in refusing to serve a Member or guest who is knowingly intoxicated.
I am not aware of any case against a Licensee or Club Committee where prosecution has been made as a result of a person driving when drunk. Ultimately, it is an individual's responsibility not to drive when drunk. If the person in question is selfish and stupid enough to drive whilst intoxicated, then I hope the Police will catch him and that they do so before he harms himself or, more importantly, any other person.
You may be aware that there is a Police Campaign for people to inform on those who knowingly drink and drive. Ultimately, if your Committee do not wish this Member to be served alcohol when they know he is intoxicated an instruction could be given not to serve him.
My daughter is the Stewardess of my Club. I have served on the Club's Committee for a number of years. The Committee are in the process of negotiating a new contract with the Stewardess and the Club Committee have requested that I leave the Committee Meetings when this matter is being discussed due to 'vested interest'. I can find no Rule in the Club's Rule Book regarding this matter.
This Association does not normally advise individual Members 'in isolation' from the Committee of the Club on matters regarding Club management and administration. This is the case, even if the individual concerned is a Member of the Club's Committee.
However, I can confirm that in my opinion, the Club Committee are entirely correct in requesting you to not participate in discussions or voting on matters relating to your daughter's employment with the Club.
Clearly, there is a vested interest in view of your family relationship with the employee. You are correct that there is no specific Rule regarding this matter, since the subject of vested interest is one which is standard accepted management practice. I do not think that you should view the request for you to leave Committee Meetings as a personal reflection on yourself. The Club are not saying that you personally would be unable to separate your role as a Committee Member acting on behalf of the Club with the fact that you are the employee's Father. It is simply a case of sound management procedure and it is important not to create a precedent whereby Committees of the future find it difficult to impose the vested interest scenario on the grounds that they made an exception in your case.
I would advise you to accept the Committee's decision in respect of this matter which is both correct and appropriate.
I have recently received Form L222-I from HM Revenue and Customs and cannot find any reference to the Category B3A Gaming/ Lottery Machine. Can I assume that the Club is not liable to pay Amusement Machine Licence Duty on this particular machine?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am afraid that a Category B3A Gaming/ Lottery Machine is not exempt from AMLD. The notes to Section 3 of Form L222 show Category B3 (annual fee £1965) covers machines with a maximum stake of £1 and a maximum prize of £500. This Category includes the Sub-Category B3A. I confirm that the Form is somewhat confusing, but nevertheless does not create exemption!
I am currently preparing the contract for 'Steward and Spouse to Assist'. We are using the model agreement supplied by the ACC. Is there a legal minimum timescale during which we are obliged to pay full salary whilst statutory sick pay is being paid, or is it totally at the Club's discretion?
I confirm there is no minimum timescale during which an employer is obliged to pay full salary in the event of employee sickness. However, I think that most key staff would expect to receive some period of full pay, before the payment of only statutory sick pay came into effect.
In my experience, the average amount of full pay being offered is two to three weeks. Most Clubs offer a full sick pay provision following the completion of a probationary period.