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Q We have Bingo held in the Club once a week that is being run by two Club Members. A Committee Member has now stated that it is a requirement for
any such activity in the Club to be managed by the Committee and as such that Committee Members must run these sessions. Is this correct?

A. Provided these Members are promoting the activity of Bingo on behalf of the Committee then this will be sufficient to bring this game under the purview of the Club’s legitimate managed activity. Clearly it would be unacceptable for Members of the Club to hold bingo sessions inside the Club without the authorisation of the Committee but this does not mean actual Committee Members have to run such activities.

 
Q A Member has submitted some general questions for inclusion on the agenda of the AGM. It has now been queried whether the AGM is the correct place for such questions?

A. Only motions which can be voted on with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer should be included within the agenda of the Club’s AGM. Whilst such motions can fall outside of the typical discussions areas regarding accounts and elections they must be presented in a form which can be voted upon. If the Members wish to place their questions, such as Rule updates or Club opening hours, into a properly constructed motion then these will be acceptable, however general discussion points or questions are not suitable for the agenda of an AGM. Effectively, a resolution or motion should be proposing an object that requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer - in other words, a vote. Many Clubs have an ‘open forum’ following the closure of the meeting in order that discussions on any matter can take place; such discussions would not however constitute Committee business.

 
Q Our Committee are having a disagreement regarding how the Accounts are approved. Should the Committee be required to approve the accounts before asking the Members to receive the Accounts or is approving the accounts purely a matter for the Members and the Committee has no power to reject the accounts?

A. The Committee should accept the accounts as presented to them by the accountants/auditor. The accounts are then put to the Members at the AGM and the Members are asked to receive them. Clearly if the Committee are concerned over any aspect of the accounts then we would encourage you to discuss this with your accountants prior to approving them or asking the Members to receive them.

Q Our Club used to operate a system where men received discounted subscriptions upon attaining the age of 65 and women received the discounted subscription upon attaining the age of 60. With the introduction of the Equalities Act we understand that this is no longer possible. However, can we gradually phase in this increase to make it easier on our Lady Members?

A. The Equalities Act does allow Clubs to gradually phase in any increase in subscriptions for an affected party. Therefore, it would be acceptable for the Committee to bring these changes in over a number of years. As long as the Committee can be shown to be addressing the issue and taking steps to eliminate the disparity then this will be acceptable.

 
Q We have a problem with young guests to the Club causing damage to our Snooker Room. Would it be permissible to restrict young guests to a specific part of the Club?

A. There is no reason why the Committee cannot introduce a Bye-Law restricting Members’ guests to a specific area of the Club. This would mean that you could keep the snooker room purely for paid up Members, IA Ticket Holders their adult guests only. Alternatively you could attempt to discover who is causing the damage. If a Member has signed in a guest who breaks the Club’s Rules or causes damage then the Member who signed the person in will be responsible for their behaviour and, possibly, liable for any damage that they have caused. The Committee has the authority to refuse admission to specific guests if it is deemed desirable in the interests of the Club to do so.

 
Q I am the Secretary of our Club and prior to the AGM I posted nomination sheets inviting candidates to stand for office. When I took the sheets down there were no candidates proposed for the office of either Chairman or Vice Chairman. What is the correct procedure for dealing with this matter?

A. Under these circumstances it would be appropriate for nominations for these positions to be taken on the floor of the Annual General Meeting. Should more than one person be nominated for each position then a vote will have to be held. Should no one be nominated for a position then the Committee would be entitled to ask the Members to give their consent for the Committee to fill vacant positions as and when any suitable candidates become available. Certainly, in the first meeting following the AGM you will need to elect a Chairman, from amongst those Officers and Committee Members who have been elected, to take the chair of that meeting.

 
Q Our Club is struggling financially at the moment, could you let us know if there are any grants available to us? We have been told that grants may be available.

A. There are few, if any, public grants that are available to Private Clubs. Clubs commonly think that they may be entitled to National Lottery Funding, but unless the Club serves a public interest or provides a benefit to the community then no lottery funding would be available. As a Private Club it is extremely unlikely that any argument could be made for funding to be made available by way of a grant. This is primarily due to the fact that the Club is not open to the public, it is not owned by the Public and therefore public money is unlikely to be awarded to the Club. I should point that this would apply to all types of Private Member Clubs, whichever flag they may fly or title they may have

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linneweber 2 - A Further VAT ‘Windfall’ Opportunity’

There is a new opportunity to recover VAT on Ordinary Gaming Machines. In 2006 we brought to the attention of Clubs the chance to reclaim previously paid VAT and the case became known as Linneweber. Clubs which followed the correct procedure obtained thousands of pounds in refunds from HMRC. As there is a four year cap on retrospective claims it is important that Clubs put in their claims as soon as possible.

The current opportunity is not limited to the Clubs which previously claimed a refund of VAT. All Clubs are able to apply for this refund, irrespective of whether the Club applied for a refund under the original Linneweber case.

Whilst there is no certainty of victory in this case, we are Linneweber 2 - A Further VAT ‘Windfall’ Opportunity’ advising Clubs to put in a claim regardless. Whilst it is possible that HMRC will prevail in this case we believe that there is a strong chance of success for Clubs. If successful, any Club which has submitted a claim will be entitled to receive a repayment of the VAT previously paid on these machines from mid 2007 onwards.

The ACC has agreed a reduced fixed fee arrangement for ACC members with Ian Spencer & Associates Ltd for any clubs wishing to have Ian Spencer submit and manage their claims – please see the documents enclosed within the magazine for more details. Due to the complexity of the case on this occasion we are advising Clubs not to submit their own documentation.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill - The Proposed Night Time Levy

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament, contains several changes to the Licensing Act one of which is a proposed Night Time Levy. Effectively this would mean that establishments which open after 12pm will have to pay towards the costs of providing additional policing in the early hours of the morning. Also contained within the proposals is allowing the local authority to designate areas in which an Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Order can be placed which would force premises to cease the sale of alcohol between the hours of midnight and 6am.

We confirm that the ACC is lobbying on behalf of our Clubs to make sure that these proposals do not effect legitimate Private Members’ Clubs and that they are targeted appropriately to the establishments which behave irresponsibly and contribute to the problem of excessive alcohol consumption.

We will continue to update Clubs through the Magazine on proposals which may be introduced into legislation which will have an effect on the operation of ACC Clubs.