Maximise the Club's Sporting Credentials
With the news of the new ACC Sky deal in this month’s magazine, this is a good opportunity to remind Clubs how best to maximise the revenue which a Club can receive from showing live sports.
Maximise Food Revenue
Clubs are increasingly considering whether it is possible and desirable to offer food in the Club and what form such a food offering should take. When planning a food offering Clubs have to consider how best to provide food and at what times food will be available. Whether the food will be provided in house or franchised out is another consideration.
ACC Service Awards Update
Both the ACC Badge of Honour and Distinguished Service Award (with five year bar) continue to be popular awards for Clubs to present to Officers and Committee Members for service.
IA Ticket Returns
It was agreed by the Council of the ACC that the number of IA Tickets that may be returned each year be increased from 10 to 100. This is to take immediate effect and is valid for 2015 IA Ticket returns.
We have received questions from Clubs regarding whether they are able to use the pavement space outside the Club. In most cases, the pavement space which the Club is seeking to use is not owned by the Club. If the Local Council has ‘adopted’ the pavement then a Club will need to apply for a specific licence to be able to place tables and chairs on the pavement. If customers are simply going to be standing on the pavement then no ‘pavement licence’ will be required.
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.
Questions & Answers
Q We have recently changed breweries but we still have and are still using glassware supplied by the previous brewery. Are we breaking the law by still continuing to use this glassware now that we are supplied by a different brewery?
A There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Club using the old glasses. They are the property of the Club and can be used as the Committee and Steward sees fit. You may want to mention to your new brewery that you do not currently have any glassware for them and that they may wish to provide you with some.
Q We have read some of the previous question and Answers regarding the ACC Sale and Leaseback offer and we are curious whether this scheme may be suitable for our Club. Do you find that Clubs who have entered into a Sale and Leaseback tend to then use some of the money to refurbish the Club? I could see definitely see that some of the refurbished Clubs featured in the Magazine may attract interest from new members. Has this been the case from feedback you have received?
A Absolutely. It has been amazing to see the growth of Membership numbers for the Clubs which have undertaken an extensive refurbishment programme. It is not uncommon for some Clubs which have refurbished the interiors and exteriors, and undertaken a Membership recruitment campaign, to see their Membership levels double since the ’re-launch’ of the Club.
Q We have some groups that regularly use the Club for their meetings e.g. The Royal British Legion, they would also hold their games/lunch afternoons and regularly have dinners. Some of the persons attending are members of the club, although most are not. The Committee has discussed permitting members of these groups to become affiliated members. What exactly should affiliated membership give them?
A I think the commonly used term for these Members would be Associate Members.
Q Could you advise me of any potential problems the Club would have if the Committee chose to rent out the Club’s, currently vacate, flat to a Club employee. We cannot afford to provide this accommodation for free but we can see that there would be an advantage of having an employee on site at all times and may reduce our insurance costs.
A I would advise you not to enter into a tenancy relationship with an employee. There are foreseeable problems if you have to end the employment relationship but then have to try and deal with a former employee who can remain living above the Club due to a tenancy agreement.
I also have concerns that the Club may fall afoul of the accommodation offset allowance legislation if the employee pays the Club rent. More details are here: https://www.gov.uk/nationalminimum-wage-accommodation
Q We have recently had some Members who are refusing to leave the Club promptly after the Club has closed. They insist that as they are Members they can stay and finish their drinks for as long as they like. What should we do when occasions such as this happen?
A I suggest that the Committee ensues that the Club’s closing times are clearly publicised so that the Members know when last orders are and how long they will have to consume them. It is customary to provide Members with 20-30 minutes in which to consume their drinks after last orders have been taken.
Should any Member or guest refuse to leave the Club after the Club has closed I simply suggest that the police are called to remove them. It is not ideal but it is not fair to the Club’s employees to ask them to either work late or attempt to deal with Members who refuse to leave the Club after it has closed.
In any event, I would imagine that the Committee would likely convene a disciplinary hearing against any Member who refused to leave the Club after it had closed.
Q Our local licensing officer has made an appointment with the Club to discuss our activities in respect of functions. The Club rents the function room out for members’ birthdays, wedding anniversaries etc and this year we have held around 10 private functions for members. I think there is confusion in respect of interpreting our rules, can you please advise me on this matter.
A I am very concerned to learn that the local licensing officer has asked to have a meeting with you and has suggested the club is not operating in good faith in respect of functions. I confirm that your interpretation of your club’s members’ Guests Rule is completely correct. There is no restriction on the number of guests who may be introduced by a member. There is no evidence to suggest that you are not dealing with the subject of members’ private functions either outside the terms of your Club rules or outside the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003.
The subject of non-member activities within Registered Private members’ Clubs is one which has become increasingly important, since almost all Clubs now rely to a greater or lesser extent, on income generated from the sales of drink at private functions promoted by either individual members or outside organisations.
The most interesting change introduced by the 2003 Act is that Members’ guests introduced on a normal day-to-day basis will be permitted to purchase drinks. Whilst in ‘the real world’ such a practice has been accepted in many Clubs, strictly speaking the previous rules of almost all Clubs prevented such sales.
Consequently, drink may be supplied lawfully to a non-member attending any event promoted by a member, provided the non-member is a bona fide guest of the Member and has been properly admitted to the Club in accordance with the Club’s rules.
Any member wishing to hold a private function or party in their Club will be able to do so and the number of functions is not restricted in number. Naturally, if a person who is not a Member approaches a Club with a request to hire a room in order to hold a private function, then the Club could legitimately ask if the person would like to become a Member. Provided such persons met the membership requirements of the Club’s rules, their election to membership would automatically make the event a members’ private function at which his or her guests could be lawfully supplied with drink.
The rules of almost every Club put no restriction on the number of guests a member may introduce at any one time but do, rightly, restrict the number of occasions the same guest may be introduced in any one month.
The Act contains no reference to the way in which Clubs should manage the introduction of guests and no reference to the number of members’ functions or parties which could be held. Such functions would, of course, have to be booked and the committee would retain ultimate discretion on whether to agree to a booking, or not.
Therefore, do not accept any criticism or suggested rule amendments concerning this matter from either Licensing Authorities or Police Licensing Officers, and refer any such matters to your affiliated organisation. I have seen some examples of ridiculous suggested rule amendments being passed off as ‘legal requirements’ by Licensing Authority Officials; all these suggestions have been withdrawn on being challenged.
Q It is likely that we will need to order a new contract of employment when our Steward leaves us at the end of the year. We are currently deciding if we will employ a new Steward or change the position to that of a Bar Manager. I see that new contracts of employment are being advertised, are these very different to the ‘old’ employment contract packs? Also are these new contracts likely to be further amended in the near future or can I simply order a pack now?
A The current employment contract packs are significantly different to the previous contracts we offered. We suggest that you order one of the revised contract packs for the new Steward when they are appointed.
We also now supply contracts for Bar Managers if the Committee decides to go in that direction regarding the new employee. Bar Managers are similar to Stewards although they tend not to be provided with Club accommodation under any circumstances. Club Stewards still routinely receive accommodation although this is becoming less common.
There will be no revisions on any of our employment contract packs between now and December so you can order it whenever you wish. We also do not envisage any further major revisions happening on the new employment contract packs throughout 2016.
Q The Committee have recently given consideration to having an open day. Please could you send me details of how we can legally publicly advertise such an event?
A If the Club would like to hold an open day for prospective members to visit and enjoy the facilities of the club then a Temporary Events Notice should be applied for with the Local Authority. You may then admit visitors to the Club for up to 72 hours. You cannot admit visitors to the Club on other occasions
Temporary Event Notices (TENs) are a method of obtaining, under the Act, the authority to sell alcohol and provide regulated entertainment at an event of short duration (e.g. a dance, or a private party) where the organiser wishes to avoid going through the more complicated procedure of applying for a Premises Licence.
The method of obtaining a TEN must be submitted by the premises user (must be over 18 years of age) and must be copied to the relevant Chief Officer of Police at least ten working days before the event. The TEN (in a prescribed form) must contain the following information–
The Act requires that alcohol sales must be made under the authority of the premises user. Further requirements are that there must be an interval of at least twenty-four hours between events and no premises may be used for more than fifteen days per year in total (i.e. the total amount of time used by the twelve TENs must not exceed 360 hours – an unlikely scenario.) Any Club wishing to exceed the limit of twelve events a year at the same premises would have to apply for a premises licence. From 2016 Clubs will be able apply for 15 TENs per year, up from the current limit of 12.
Licensing Authority Officials are required to acknowledge receipt
If the Police object, Licensing Authorities are required to hold a hearing at which the Police and premises user may put their case. The exceptional use of ‘Police Powers’ does not arise in the case of small-scale events.
The TEN procedure can also be applied to increase a Club’s normal Permitted Hours granted under the CPC, for the event in question. Applications for such event must be made by an individual rather than the Club. The number of applications made in any one year, by any one individual, is five. Therefore, Club officers can divide the applications in order to take full advantage of these events, e.g. the Secretary makes the first five applications, the Treasurer the next five and the Chairman the remaining two.
Q We have received a great deal of conflicting advice from the club’s Licensing Authority, legal advisors and the Police on the question of whether door supervisors need to be SIA registered.
A Please see the following extract taken from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s website. The DCMS is the government department responsible for all licensing issues.
You may be interested to know that my publication, Guidance for Registered Private members’ clubs on the Licensing Act 2003, published in January 2005, was used extensively by local authorities and the DCMS. Much of the language, therefore, will appear familiar.
“Do door supervisors have to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority?
No. If a qualifying club under the authorisation of a club premises certificate decides to have door supervisors for a particular event there is no mandatory condition in the Licensing Act 2003 that states they will have to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority.
Q Our Club has a pull tab lottery machine which is very popular and delivers a healthy profit to the Club. We are also looking into installing a B3A gaming machine inside the Club as they are also free from taxation and we think such a machine could prove to be popular amongst our Members. There is some concern though that a B3A machine may cannibalise the sales of the pull tab lottery machine and simply split the revenue received and increase our costs. Do you know if this is ever the case?
A Whilst I do not have any statistical evidence which I can send you regarding the change of usage of pull tab machines following the introduction of a B3A, I can safely say that I have rarely been into a Club with a B3A machine which does not also have a familiar pull tab ticket vending machine in some other part of the Club. I do think that the pull tab tickets have a following from part of the membership which is not particularly interested in playing any form of gaming machine even though I accept that the B3A machine is a very simple one to use compared with the more complex B4 machine features. The ACC’s Recommended Machine Supplier, Dransfields, will be able to provide you with some ideas for B3A machines which may appeal to the Club’s Members. Dransfields can be reached on 0845 094 3063.