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CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT

 

ACC Sky Deal Questions and Answers Special

Following on from the ACC Sky Sports Deal update on page 3, we are taking this opportunity to answer some of the most commonly posed questions regarding the deal. We hope this will help Clubs who have yet to make a decision regarding this deal. The questions below are all questions we have been asked by Clubs regarding the deal. The deal we are able to offer gives Sky Sports for £275 (excl VAT) and Clubs can opt in by phoning 08442 411 880. In order for this price to be available, we need to meet the minimum number of Clubs for the deal to go ahead.

Q The ACC has offered a good discount on the deal but the Club can still not afford the costs of the Sky package.

A We do believe that the price of £275 represents a very good saving for the vast majority of ACC Clubs. We have long heard the requests to provide a Sky deal which is not based on rateable value and this deal represents this one off opportunity. On the matter of the cost, this is not a deal we would be proposing if we considered that it would end up costing Clubs money. The entire idea is that we believe that Clubs would easily recoup the cost of the ACC Sky Deal through increased use of the Club by Members and their guests and by the increased subscription revenue delivered by new Members who are interested in watching live sport in the Club.

The total potential liability for any Club which takes up this deal is £3,300 in the first year. This is the total cost a Club will have to spend on this deal. For every extra pint that the Club sells the cost goes down. For every extra Membership subscription which the Club receives the cost goes down. If a Club really believes that the deal will cost them £3,300 during the first year then they believe that as a result of the Club showing 116 Premier League games, 127 Championship games, 360 Rugby Union matches, 800 hours of Tennis, every England International Cricket match, 52 days of Darts coverage, every Formula 1 race along with Horse Racing from around the world that the Club will not sell a single extra pint or attract a single new Member.

We believe that most Clubs entering into this deal will not only break even on the deal but the deal will increase the Club’s profits. This is, after all, the reason why we have negotiated the deal. We would not be advertising this deal to ACC Clubs if we felt it would be a financial liability for any Club.

We are interested in the deal but we do not want to be tied into a long term contract as we just want to try Sky for a year. How long are we signing up for?

Clubs are signing up for a twelve month period. There is no obligation to continue the Sky subscription after the initial period of 12 months has passed. Therefore the maximum that any Club is signing up to pay is simply the £3,300 first year cost.

How long will this deal last? We do not want to install Sky into the Club if prices are going to go back to normal after the first year.

Whilst Clubs are only signing up to a minimum 12 month agreement, the deal that the ACC has negotiated with Sky is for three years. If successful, we consider it extremely likely that the deal will also continue well after the initial three year term has elapsed.

We just took out a 12 month subscription with BT Sports for almost the same price as the ACC Sky deal. Will we be able to opt into the deal after our subscription with BT ends in June?

Yes you will be able to opt in provided the deal goes ahead initially. We are still short of the minimum numbers needed for the deal to go ahead so if you think that the Sky deal will be better for the Club in the long term I advise you to sign up now to ensure it goes ahead.

We have tried BT Sports since they had a lower starting price than Sky but it has not gone well and we do not intend to renew or replace it with another sporting service. Our Members are just not interested in sports.

I would suggest that your Members may be interested in live sport, just not what BT are showing. BT has dramatically fewer Premier League matches than Sky Sports and tends to have the early game on Saturdays when they are showing a game. It is, of course, much harder to increase trade when you are only able to show the early game on Saturday as opposed the late game on Saturday, the Sunday games and the Monday games. Also, from 2016 Sky will have the exclusive rights to the new Friday night games which will become a fixture of the Premier League schedule from next season. One key thing to note is that the top 5 highest viewed Premier League games were on Sky Sports last year.

Additionally, in some Premier League weekends there are simply no Premier League games shown on BT. On the weekend of 24th/25th October BT Sports did not show a single Premier League game whereas Sky Sports showed two big games. It is incredibly difficult to build an audience for live sport and generate a return for the Club when the Club is not able to offer any Premier League action on quite a few weekends of the year. This is the problem for Clubs and Pubs who are customers of BT Sports experience. With the far greater number of Premier League and Championship games which Sky consistently offer, there will always be something for the Club’s Members and their guests to enjoy every weekend.

We have BT Sports and the response has been muted although not altogether bad. Our Members are, however, saying that they would much prefer Sky Sports. Is there a reason for this response?

Aside from some of the points mentioned above, Clubs who have BT Sports or who are considering BT Sports have to understand that BT offer their Premier League matches free of charge to all of their home broadband customers. That’s 5.2 million homes in the UK who for free are able to watch the BT Sports games which the Club is having to pay to broadcast. The barrier to entry, namely the cost, to a household deciding to subscribe to Sky TV and then subscribe to Sky Sports is simply not there with BT Sports since their games are provided for free to their broadband customers. This is a huge reason why the BT Sports Premier League games may have much less interest than the Sky Sports Premier League games. The casual fan does not need to go into a Pub or Club to watch the BT Sports games as long as they are a broadband customer. This is simply not the case with the Sky Sports offering.

Q We have BT Sports and it is going very well. Is it really worth also subscribing to the ACC Sky deal?

It is fantastic to see the Club embracing live sport and making profits out of it and it is of course worth further enhancing the Club’s sporting credentials by opting into the ACC Sky Deal and being able to offer the Club’s Members and their guests the complete package of live sports. If the Club is already making money out of the BT Sports games then it is virtually impossible that the Club will not make even more money by opting into the ACC Sky deal and showing all the broadcast Premier League games every week.

Clubs wishing to opt into the ACC Sky Sports deal must do so before 15th November and should phone 08442 411 880 now.

Sky Sports Christmas Schedule:

December
Chelsea v Bournemouth Sat 5 Dec 5.30pm
Newcastle United v Liverpool Sun 6 Dec 4pm
Everton v Crystal Palace Mon 7 Dec 8pm
Bournemouth v Manchester United Sat 12 Dec 5.30pm
Aston Villa v Arsenal Sun 13 Dec 1.30pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United Sun 13 Dec 4pm
Leicester City v Chelsea Mon 14 Dec 8pm
Newcastle United v Aston Villa Sat 19 Dec 5.30pm
Watford v Liverpool Sun 20 Dec 1.30pm
Swansea City v West Ham United Sun 20 Dec 4pm
Arsenal v Manchester City Mon 21 Dec 8pm
Stoke City v Manchester United Sat 26 Dec 2.45pm
Sunderland v Liverpool Wed 30 Dec 7.45pm

January
Watford v Manchester City Sat 2 Jan 5.30pm
Crystal Palace v Chelsea Sun 3 Jan 1.30pm
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur Sun 3 Jan 4pm

Questions and Answers

We have had some employees who state that they do not consider it to be their jobs to put up Christmas decorations or to move furniture after a function has taken place. Can you confirm if Club employees can be expected to undertake these roles or if the Committee must do these jobs?

Typically in employment contracts there is a clause which states that in addition to their standard duties employees will be expected to carry out other reasonable duties. In the current ACC Contract of Employment for bar employees this is located as clause 2.2 and states: You may be required to undertake other duties from time to time as the Club may reasonably require.

I suggest that you discuss with the Club’s employees why they object to being asked to undertake these roles. It may be that they bring to light reasonable problems such as insufficient time or equipment or that they have a medical condition which whilst allowing them to work behind the bar makes, for example, moving furniture difficult. Understanding employees concerns is a primary key to resolving them.

However, assuming that the employees are being asked to undertake these roles in their normal working hours and that there is a clause in their employment contracts which states that they will carry out other reasonable duties then the Committee is on good ground by stating that the employees in question should carry out these tasks.

In the licenced trade it is quite common that an employee may be required to move furniture such as bar stools or chairs and assist in decorating the Club for events such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It is therefore likely that it would be considered that these types of requests are reasonable duties for a Club employee to carry out.

We have an employee who has just suffered a bereavement. Could you give us some details about how much paid time off work they are entitled to receive from the Club?

Unless otherwise stated in an employee’s contract of employment, there is no legal right to paid leave when a bereavement occurs for an employee although some employers will offer a limited amount of paid time off depending on the circumstances.

Employees do have a right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off when dealing with a bereavement involving a dependant.

According to research, most firms would tend to offer an average of five days paid leave when a bereavement involving a dependant occurs.

ACAS have produced a useful guide on this subject which Clubs can access online: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/0/m/Managingbereavement-in-the-workplace-agood-practice-guide.pdf

We have recently had two Trustees advise us that they wish to stand down as they no longer have the time to commit to their duties as Club Trustees. We visited our Solicitors to remove the two Trustees and to appoint two new Trustees who had been elected by the Members. However, apparently our Trust document had not been kept up to date and there were many missing Trustees over the years. Our Solicitors say this can be overcome but it is costly.

To minimise this cost, our Solicitor recommended that we incorporate as a Limited Company and register with Companies House. Is this something that you would also recommend?

In short, no. My first suggestion is to simply adopt the ACC Trusteeship Service. This means that the ACC would become the Club’s Trustees. The ACC has designated funds available for our Trusteeship Service and it means that we will pay for all the legal costs involved, including any legal costs required to sort out the ‘missing’ Trustees. It is also a much simpler procedure than the one I am about to suggest.

My other suggestion is not to become a Company but to incorporate as a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society (what use to be known as Industrial and Provident Societies). It is a very good incorporation method for Clubs and around 50% of ACC Clubs are incorporated as a Cooperative and Community Benefit Society. The other 50% of ACC Clubs are Clubs such as yours that use Trustees.

The benefit of being a Cooperative and Community Benefit Society, instead of a Company, is that you do not need to have a Company Secretary and Company Directors and can continue to operate as you do now with an elected Committee. Each year you will file an Annual Return with the Financial Conduct Authority which is similar to the Annual Return which Companies House would require.

It is not a simple procedure, in addition to some initial and ongoing costs, for a Trustee Club to convert to a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society so any Clubs wishing to find out more should contact the ACC for specific assistance.

Finally, you may ultimately wish to retain your local Trustees and simply pay for the legal work required to sort out the problems with the Club’s Trust Deed. If this is the case then you are welcome to obtain a quote from our Solicitors to see if the work which is required to be done can be undertaken at a cheaper price than your local Solicitors have quoted. Whilst this type of work will place an additional cost than a simple change of Trustee, it should not be prohibitively expensive.

12 months ago the Committee rejected a candidate for Membership of the Club. The person now intends to submit a new Membership request. It is unlikely that we will ever grant this person Membership of the Club. Is there any way we can prevent them from requesting Membership every 12 months?

A rejected candidate for Membership can re-apply after a further 12 month period. In theory they could repeat this indefinitely although, after discussing this issue with the Club’s Committee, you may wish to informally inform the candidate that a new Membership application is unlikely to be accepted, now or in the future.

Additionally, most Club Rules will prevent a failed candidate for Membership from using the Club as a guest.

A Club employee has filed a grievance and the Committee is split regarding how to deal with it. Most of the Committee think that one or two Committee Members/Officers should meet with the employee to discuss the grievance and then report back to the Committee. However, we have a Committee Member who is stating that we cannot proceed in this way and the whole Committee must be present when meeting with the employee. In my view this is a needlessly confrontational approach to take and may well make matters worse.

I agree and I think it is logical to delegate the responsibility of holding these grievance meetings to just a small number of Committee Members and Officers. They can then report back to the entire Committee so that a decision can be made. If a Committee Member disagrees with this way of dealing with the situation then a vote should be taken and the majority vote will succeed. I consider that it can be impractical to hold grievance meetings with the entire Committee present but ultimately it is up to the Committee, through majority vote, to decide how they wish to handle these meetings.

We have a Member who wishes to hire our function room to hold an event to raise money for charity. There will be entertainment provided and alcohol will be for sale. In order to raise charitable funds, the persons he is inviting to the event are being asked to purchase a ticket in order to attend. We have told the Member that he is responsible for the people who attend the event and he must be present during the entire event. Should we also obtain a Temporary Event Notice for this event?

The best test for this kind of question is an honest answer to this question:
Would you describe the persons attending the event as guests of the Club Member?

If they are legitimate guests of the Club Member, and the fact that they are purchasing a ticket does not mean that they are not legitimate guests, then the event can be held as a Member event and a TEN will not be required.

To further protect the Club I would suggest that the Member supplies you with a list of names in advance or ensures that he signs his guests into the Members’ guest signing in book upon their arrival.

Be careful to ensure that random people cannot turn up on the door and purchase tickets for entry. It is likely that it would be more difficult to prove that persons attending the event in this way could be classed as the Member’s guest. To a certain extent, this also applies to any advertising which the Member is undertaking in regard to this event. For instance, if he places a newspaper advert stating that anyone is welcome to attend an event and purchase tickets on the door then this once again makes the classification of these persons as his guests arguably more difficult.

Editor’s Note: A Temporary Event Notice allows Clubs to hold events which are open to the public such as Open Days and Beer Festivals or simply private events which are not held by Members. A Member holding a private event and inviting their guests will not normally require a TEN to be obtained. From 2016 Clubs will be able to obtain 15 TENs per year.

Underage Sales Prevention

 

Clubs should continually review their employee training regarding identifying and preventing underage alcohol sales.

 

After training, employees should be able to list the most common age restricted products (alcohol and tobacco being the main ones) and identify the procedure which should be followed to check the age of a suspected underage customer. Typical schemes which are used are ‘think 21’ or ‘think 25’ which ask employees to request identification for anyone who looks younger than those ages.

It is important that the Club is able to prove that it has a policy in place preventing underage sales in place so every time an employee receives a refresher course this should be documented.

 

Association of Conservative Clubs 2016 Desktop Calendar

Clubs will know that every year the ACC produces a free desktop calendar featuring ACC Clubs. We are currently preparing the 2016 ACC Desktop Calendar and if you would like your Club to feature then please email assistance@toryclubs.co.uk and attach a good quality external picture of the Club.

Product Launch: ACC Ladies Silk Scarfs

In response to widespread demand the ACC is now selling high quality Ladies ACC Silk Scarfs in the same colour and design as our recently updated Men’s ACC Silk Ties.

The Scarfs are a lovely design with a high quality premium feel and finish. They are available to purchase now from the ACC for £15 each.

They can be ordered by email assistance@toryclubs.co.uk or phoning 0207 222 0868.

Spam and Fraudulent Emails

 

Some Clubs have reported a seeing increase in the spam and fraudulent emails which they receive. All Clubs should be vigilant when opening emails and should only open attachments from known and trusted sources. Emails doing the rounds at the moment purport to be containing an invoice which is attached in a Word document. Invoices are rarely sent using Word documents and these emails are using the Word document to hide a virus. Please be careful when dealing with unknown emails and if in doubt, simply delete the email and do not open the attachment.

 

Solar Panels

At the present time the ACC does not have a recommended supplier of Solar Panels, nor do we recommend a company to install solar panels or enter into a long term contract regarding the supply of solar panels.

Clubs are interested the potential savings which solar panels can provide and we are happy to work with Clubs regarding any proposals they have received or any ideas which they are considering.

We would urge all Clubs to be vigilant when it comes to choosing which energy companies to deal with and to check the background of companies using Companies House to establish how long they have been trading for and if they have submitted an up to date annual return.

Should any Club wish us to review a contract prior to signing it then we would be happy to assist.

ACC Membership Software Update

The ACC is pleased to announce the release of version 4 of the ACC’s popular Membership Administrator Software Package.This version includes all the features of version 3 so the list of features below will be familiar to Clubs already using this software. One of the most important new features for version 4 is an ability which has often been requested by Clubs. Clubs now have the ability to import Members details from other existing formats such as Microsoft Excel. This saves time by reducing the need to have to type records if they are already available on a database system such as Microsoft Excel. This feature can be utilised by selecting ‘File / Import member records’ from the menu.

A demo of the software can be downloaded from www.eastcoastsoftware.co.uk/acc4demo.exe and the software can be purchased from http://www.eastcoastsoftware.co.uk/acc.htm

All new purchasers will be charged £55 and existing users can upgrade for £30.

Industrial and Provident Societies Legislation Change

Clubs which are registered under the Industrial and Provident Society Act 1965 should be aware that following the introduction of the Co-Operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, reference should now be made to the above Act.

The required Annual Return for Co-Operative Societies is slightly amended from the previous Annual Return that Industrial and Provident Societies needed to complete and return. Clubs can consider using or amending the following standard answers when completing the new Annual Return form. The section relating to Community Benefit Societies does not need to be completed.

Bona fide co-operative society
1.14 How did members benefit from the business, industry or trade of the society?
Members benefit from the trade of the Society by use of the Club’s facilities and the enjoyment of a safe social environment with others who hold the same principles and values.
1.15 Is membership of the society required to obtain the benefits offered by it?
Yes.
1.16 In what way did members participate in an ongoing basis in the society’s primary business?
The Club’s Members elect the managing Committee and can participate in the Society’s Annual General Meeting and can call Special General Meetings. The Members will undertake mutual trading with the Society and benefit from the facilities which the Society provides as well as participate in events and functions organised by the Society.
1.17 How did members democratically control the society?
The Members elect a Committee according to the election rules contained within Rules 26 and 27. The Members can remove an elected Committee using Rule 48. All Members have an equal vote and are able to qualify to stand for Office.
1.18 How did the society use any surplus/profit?
Any annual surplus was utilised in the interests of the Club and in
furtherance of the Club’s Objects. No surplus was distributed among the members. The small number of Clubs which are registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 remain unchanged. Clubs which are classed as Unincorporated Associations (Clubs which elect Trustees) are also unchanged.

ACC Deposit Scheme

Clubs may deposit surplus funds with the ACC and we are currently offering interest of 2.5% gross per annum on funds deposited. Clubs which have savings are currently receiving very poor rates of return from High Street Banks and other investment areas where Clubs may be able to obtain slightly higher interest rates are usually unsuitable or carry risk.

We are already holding in excess of £3,000,000 on behalf of Clubs and deposits range from £1,000 to £100,000. Funds can be returned in full or part at any time and our rate of interest will apply on a pro rata basis. We will automatically pay interest to any Club at the end of each year should this be required. There is no upper or lower limit of investment.

Our deposit scheme is not intended to be in any way complex or overburdened with administration. Therefore the offer is quite simply that the ACC will pay 2.5% gross interest per annum on all monies deposited with us on a pro rata basis. Funds can be withdrawn in full or part at any time without notice or penalty.

Underage Sales Prevention
Clubs should continually review their employee training regarding identifying and preventing underage alcohol sales.

After training, employees should be able to list the most common age-restricted products (alcohol and tobacco being the main ones) and identify the procedure which should be followed to check the age of a suspected underage customer. Typical schemes which are used are ‘think 21’ or ‘think 25’ which ask employees to request identification for anyone who looks younger than those ages.

It is important that the Club is able to prove that it has a policy in place preventing underage sales in place so every time an employee receives a refresher course this should be documented.


     
 

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