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CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT

ACC Catering Franchise Pack – Now Free of Charge

The ACC Catering Franchise Pack is now available free of charge to all ACC Clubs.  This Contract pack can be used by Clubs which have a franchisee who uses the Club’s facilities to prepare and serve food within the Club. The Franchisee Contract permits the Committee to decide if the franchisee shall pay a set fee per month to the Club for use of the Club’s facilities, shall pay to the Club a percentage of the profits from the sale of food or that a combination of both methods of remuneration shall be utilised.

The Catering Franchise Contract Pack can be provided electronically or as a hard copy posted to the Club. To obtain the Franchise Pack please contact the ACC.

 Questions and Answers

Q. Can you confirm if a Member is able to be nominated for more than one elected position?  Is it also acceptable for a Member to write in the names of the proposer and seconder on the nomination sheet themselves?

A. A Member can be nominated for multiple positions.  Should they be elected for more than one position they will have to choose which position they would like to fill.

I suggest that if a Member wishes to write in the names of his proposer and seconder on the nomination sheet himself that he arranges for the relevant persons to also confirm their nominations with the Committee in writing.  This will ensure that the Committee are satisfied that the listed Members are willing to act as the Member’s proposer and seconder.  

Once proposed and seconded a Member does not need to be present at any point during the Annual General Meeting, or the period leading up to the AGM, in order to be properly elected. 

Q. Our club has always welcomed IA Ticket holders from other clubs but recently a group of members from a neighbouring club have been using our club four or five times a week.  The committee wish to impose a ban on all IA Ticket holders who live within five miles of the club.  Is this acceptable?

A. Regulation 8 of the Rules and Regulations governing the IA Ticket Scheme reads as follows –

‘The committee of every Inter-Affiliated club reserves to itself the right to make Special Regulations (subject to permission of the ACC Council) as to the admission of Inter-Affiliated members, in which case, a copy of the same shall be exhibited on the club notice board.  Such permission shall not be required for the exclusion of Inter-Affiliation Ticket holders whose permanent habitation is within a radius of ten miles of club premises.  The holder of an Inter-Affiliation Ticket is reminded that admission to an Inter-Affiliated club is an act of courtesy which can be withheld in the interests of the club, on any occasion, or in respect of any individual at the discretion of the club committee of any Inter-Affiliated club.’

The object of this regulation is to prevent members of one club, with possibly a low annual subscription, from using the facilities of a neighbouring club that has a higher rate of annual subscription on a regular, if not daily, basis.  Therefore, the committee of any Inter-Affiliated club reserves the right to impose a radius restriction on IA Ticket holders.

Due to the fact that Regulation 8 also provides committees of Inter-Affiliated clubs with the authority to refuse the admission of any IA Ticket holder–if this is considered to be in the interests of the club–we suggest that overall radius restrictions are not imposed.  Club committees should instead rely on the authority provided by Regulation 8 to simply restrict those IA Ticket holders who seek to use the IA Ticket Scheme as a method of regularly enjoying the facilities of a club which, for whatever reason, they have chosen not to join.

In short, therefore, committees are advised not to permit a few ‘bad apples’ jeopardising the enjoyment of neighbouring IA Ticket holders who do not wish to abuse the Scheme but who would like to occasionally visit other local clubs. 

Q. We have a local person who wishes to become a Member of the Club. This person has had issues with other licensed establishments in the town and it is unlikely that the Club’s Committee would vote for him to be admitted as a Member to our Club.  Our Steward has already expressed concerns as he is aware of this person from other incidents within the town. Do we need to provide a reason for refusing this person’s Membership application and is there any way that they could challenge the Committee’s decision.  At our last Committee Meeting it was suggested that our decision could be judicially reviewed by this person.  

ANo one can ‘judicially review’ a decision of a Club for the main reason that a Judicial Review  only apply to decisions made by public bodies such as the Government and Local Authority.  The Club is a Private Members’ Club and therefore decisions made by the Club cannot be challenge by way of a Judicial Review. 

For the vast majority of ACC Clubs, Membership decisions are purely vested with the Committee and two votes against admission will prevent the candidate from becoming a Member of the Club.  The Committee is not obliged to provide a reason to an unsuccessful candidate for the primary reason that would often be impossible to provide a reason since the individual Committee Members voting are not obliged to reveal the reasons why they have voted the way they have.  Even if a Committee knew why a Membership application had been unsuccessful they would still not be obliged to disclose this reason to the unsuccessful candidate. The Committee can simply inform the candidate that their application was not successful.  You do not need to provide any further details.   

It is also completely appropriate to take into account the Steward’s concerns.  It is right and proper that the Committee considers any concerns raised by an employee towards a membership applicant as the Committee does have a duty of care towards the Club’s employees. Should the Committee wish to hear from the Steward prior to voting then they are free to invite the Steward to the Committee Meeting to hear what he has to say.  Ultimately, however, the final decision must be made by the Committee.  Employees cannot ‘veto’ prospective Members.

Once the vote has been taken the applicant can then be simply informed whether they have been successful or unsuccessful in their application. No Committee Member has to provide a reason for the way that they voted and the Committee would be completely in order to just minute whether the application is successful or unsuccessful. 

One final piece of advice that I will provide is that it is always easier to prevent a person from becoming a Member than to expel them once they have become a Member. I think it is therefore completely understandably if Committees tend to err on the side of caution regarding Membership applications.

Q. Whilst considering a membership application I have discussed the applicant with several Members of the Club and have reached a negative view of the applicant. A question has been raised over whether I should abstain from the Committee vote because of my discussions regarding the prospective candidate; it is claimed that I am now ‘bias’.

A. I see no reason why you should abstain simply because you have discussed this potential candidate with other Members and employees – this is the whole reason for the Membership application process so that potential candidates can be discussed to assist the Committee when they come to vote on the application.  It would be very difficult for any Committee to reach a considered view on a membership application without discussing the applicant with other Members of the Club and Club employees.

Q. At our Club’s recent Annual General Meeting, some members asked why the item ‘Any Other Business’ was not on the agenda.  Unfortunately, whilst I have never included this item, I was unable to give a reason which they found acceptable.  What is your view?

A. The item ‘Any Other Business’ is totally out of place on the agenda of a General Meeting for the simple reason that it gives no information or notification to members of matters which may be brought up and dealt with.  The sole purpose of an agenda is to inform members of what is to be discussed, thereby giving an opportunity to decide on whether to attend the meeting.  ‘Any Other Business’ would permit any matter to be raised and voted on without proper notification.

I often advise Clubs to conduct an ‘open forum’ after the meeting has closed since this provides an opportunity for members to raise matters with the committee, without the outcome of such discussion being binding upon the Club.  Should any member have any particular matter of concern then he or she should raise it with the Secretary for inclusion on the agenda as a specific item in accordance with the procedure set out in the Club’s Rules.

Q. Our Annual General Meeting is due to be held soon and we have not had any nominations for the position of Chairman.  The nominations period has now passed and we are not sure what we should do regarding this vacant position.

A.  I suggest that at the AGM, nominations are taken from the floor for the position of Chairman. This will give the Members present at the AGM the opportunity to propose candidates for the position.  As no one has currently proposed anyone for the position it will be completely in order to take nominations from the floor.  If only one person is nominated then they will be elected unopposed, if two or more persons are nominated at the AGM then a ballot will need to be held.

Should no nominations be forthcoming at the AGM then it would be in order for the meeting to agree that the Committee co-opt suitable Members to fill the vacant positions as and when such candidates become available.

Q.  Our Rules state that the Club’s Annual General Meeting should be held in the month of April although our Audit will not be ready until May.  Should we delay the AGM?

A.  If the Audit is not going to be ready until May then in these circumstances it would be logical to delay the AGM.  A notice to this effect should be posted on the Club’s Notice Board.  In future I suggest that significant time is given to the Audit to allow the Annual General Meeting to proceed as usual in April.

If you wanted to hold the AGM in April, for instance if you felt that Members may complain if the Meeting was not held in April, then the Meeting could be held in April and all other agenda items dealt with apart from the Accounts.  The Meeting could then be adjourned until a specific date in May and then resumed to solely deal with the approval of the Club’s Accounts. 

Q. We have recently started running a ‘Member on the Spot’ competition every Wednesday.  At some point during the evening a number is drawn which correlates to a Member’s membership number.  If the Member is in the Club at the time then they win the prize pot.  If the Member is not in the Club at the time then the prize pot rolls over to the next week and £10 is added.    It is currently around £250.  A ‘winning’ Member who was not in the Club at the time has told us that this game is unlawful.  We do not charge the Members for this game and the only requirement for winning is to be in the Club at the time their number is drawn.  We find this is a good way to get Members into the Club on an otherwise quiet evening.   Are we acting unlawfully?

A. This is a completely lawful and appropriate game and one which many Clubs use to increase Membership attendance on quiet evenings.  I suggest you just make sure that the rules of the game are clear (that the draw will be conducted at some point on Wednesday evening and that to win the prize the selected Member must be in the Club at the time of the draw) and that you allow any Members to ‘opt out’ if they do not wish to have a chance of winning the game.  Otherwise, I hope that the game continues to encourage Members to make use of the Club on the evenings of the draw.

 Boc Sureserve Article: Getting the Quality Right Starts in the Cellar

Clubs invest a great deal of effort in getting the atmosphere and facilities just right – good quality food, top quality beers, a clean and attractive environment – but it is just as important to ensure that the beer is dispensed properly, so that it has the best taste. Carl Goode of ACC Recommended Supplier BOC Sureserve explains:

In recent years, ‘quality’ has become an issue for the Club just as much as the brewer. The dispense process needs to deliver a consistent product every time. That includes: the way beer is pulled; the type of glass, nucleated and shaped so the carbon dioxide breaks out in exactly the right way; the way it is presented to the customer with the right head, at the right temperature, and with the right clarity and drinker appeal. Crucially, in addition to all these elements, the quality of the carbonating and nirogenating gas has to be right – and that is where BOC Sureserve can help.

The key factors

First of all, it is vital to use a reputable supplier for your dispense gases, one who can supply food-grade gases in cylinders that meet industry safety standards. Among the items to check are the cylinders are fitted with positive pressure valves which prevent moisture getting in and corroding the cylinder, and that these incorporate the correct outlets, ensuring that the high pressure mixed gas is not put onto a low pressure CO2 regulator.

The cylinder label should carry all of the information you need to know: size, quality standard, nominal weight, nominal pressure, safety advice, dangerous goods information and the suppliers contact details (including emergency telephone number). All these are required by law.

Every cylinder should have a coloured test ring attached to the valve indicating when it is due for testing by your gas provider.

The cellar

It is a legal requirement for every licensee to complete a Confined Space Risk assessment. This can be completed through self-assessment and there is a step-by-step guide available from BOC Sureserve. Based on this, you will need to develop an action plan to minimise the risks highlighted, keeping a running record of the actions you take. You can guard against gas leaks by installing CO2 monitoring and detection equipment, by increasing cellar ventilation and by setting out clear emergency procedures.

Leak testing can be done by spraying an ammonia-free leak detection solution (ammonia reacts with brass and can corrode fittings) on all cylinder connections. If frothing or bubbling occurs there is a leak. The gas should be turned off immediately and corrective action taken before the cylinder is used again.

Ensuring that staff who change gas cylinders are trained in safe storage and handling will help ensure a safe environment. The ability to spot tell-tale signs of gas leakage (such as condensation build up on a cylinder, or loss of pressure on regulators when the cylinder is turned off) will reduce risks to a minimum.

Cellar management

Too many cylinders will reduce space in the cellar so keep only the number necessary for your business needs. You gas provider will advise on how many beer barrels can be supplied from each cylinder.

If cylinders are full they should be kept in an upright position, securely fastened to the wall. Empties can be laid down and chocked to prevent movement.

Dispense gases are compressed under enormously high pressure. Dropping or throwing a cylinder risks damaging the valve and causing the cylinder to leak – which can create an unsafe environment in a cellar, with the risk of carbon dioxide poisoning or asphyxiation.

Equally, because of the high pressure in the cylinders, you should never try to connect gas cylinders directly to a keg. Always use a suitable regulator. It ensures that the correct gas pressure is supplied to the keg. Without one, you risk serious injury to yourself and your staff.

Ensure you use the correct mix to dispense. Using the correct mix reduces fobbing and wastage. In addition to pure carbon dioxide, there are three carbon dioxide/nitrogen mixtures generally used in the UK:

30/70 (CO2/N2) for low carbonated ales and stouts

60/40 (CO2/N2) for lagers and ciders

50/50 (CO2/N2) used for some smooth beers and ciders

Using blending equipment will optimise stock numbers as you will only need two types of gas – CO2 and 30/70 mixed gas.

BOC Sureserve offer a comprehensive package of products and services developed specifically for the Club market. We have a full range of dispense gases and can offer licensees a number of cellar management options to help ensure a safe working environment, from risk assessments through training and consultation to complete cellar management services.

 

BOC Sureserve can be contacted on 07768 193 174.