Up-Date on 2006
Up-date of the Year's Events' has become a regular feature in the December edition of the Magazine. This article provides an opportunity to look back over the previous year and to remind ourselves of the various subjects and new legislation which affect the management of our Clubs.
What is absolutely clear to everyone involved in Club Management is that the mountain of `red tape' appears to be getting higher and ever more difficult to climb.
1 hope the Magazine articles under the `Club Law and Management' section continue to provide Clubs and Officers with practical advice on day-to-day Club issues, and also articles which cut through the minefield of proposed new legislation.
The largest single piece of legislation to affect Clubs next year will be the Smoking Ban. The effect of this will be greater than any legislation that has involved licensing. In addition, other areas, which although not as significant will still require attention, include the new Gambling Act and Employment Regulations.
I remain optimistic that ACC Member Clubs will continue to be seen as the most professionally managed group within the Private Members' Club sector. As such, our ability to cope with change will provide us with an advantage.
1. GAMBLING ACT 2005
Whilst the exact date on which this Act will become fully operational is not yet known, it is likely to be in September 2007.
In future editions of the Magazine we shall be concentrating on this Act, and will be providing Clubs with as much advice and assistance as possible.
Clubs will be able to continue to promote bingo in the usual way, but the Act will produce a new provision whereby any Club with plays for stakes in excess of £2,000 in any one week will be obliged to pay a new Licence Fee. The amount of the Licence Fee has not yet been determined.
Under the new Act Clubs will have to apply to their local Licensing Authority for a permit authorising the provision of games of chance, and for a maximum of up to three gaming machines which will be known under the Act as `Category B' machines which will have a maximum stake of £1 (stakes can be lower but not less than 20p) and a maximum prize of £250 irrespective of the stake.
Permits granted by the local Licensing Authorities will be subject to the following conditions:-
* No person under 18 years of age will be able to use a gaming machine.
* The permit holder, ie., the Club, must comply with any relevant code of practice concerning the location and operation of gaming machines.
* A Licensing Authority will have no other discretionary conditions which can be attached to a permit. Clubs possessing a Club Premises Certificate will have a fast track procedure during which there will be no opportunity for either the Gaming Commission (which will take over the work of the former Gaming Industry Regulator, the Gaming Board of Great Britain) or the Police to object and the fast track procedure will last indefinitely. Clubs will, of course, still have to pay Gaming Machine Licence Duty to H.M. Revenue and Customs.
As I have mentioned above, further details and articles concerning this important subject will be published in the Magazine when the date of the
implementation of the Act approaches.
2. SMOKING BAN
As everyone is aware, by now the Government's legislation concerning a total Smoking Ban is due to come into force in Summer 2007. A total Smoking Ban has been in force for more than two years now in the Republic of Ireland and it provides some very useful lessons, and indicators, for all of our Clubs.
Those outlets that took early action to provide a smoking facility for their Members actually saw their trade either maintained or, in some cases, increased.
Encouraging their smoking customers to use the `new' facility over a longer period of time allowed them to get used to the idea of going outside for a `smoke'.
Thus, by the time the ban was introduced all of their existing Members were used to the practice of smoking outside.
It is clearly important for a Club to provide the best facilities possible.
Positive marketing for the smoking facilities demonstrated to existing, and new customers, that they were being directly catered for and not treated like `second-class citizens'.
Pubs and Clubs were all able to create a point of difference to their competitors by the quality of their Smoking Canopy. New customers actively sought out those outlets with the best facilities.
Fit for Purpose
There is no point installing a facility that is not built for the main purpose for which it should be designed - smoking.
I am pleased to announce that the ACC has secured the services of Smoking Canopies Ltd. as a supplier to ACC Member Clubs.
Their product embraces the lessons learned from the Irish experience and they are dedicated suppliers to the licensed `on' trade. Their brochure has been enclosed with two editions of our Magazine, together with an ACC Price List and I strongly urge you to contact them to discuss your own individual needs. In this way it is my hope that all of our Clubs may address this key issue at the earliest opportunity and, in many cases I trust, will turn a potentially significant issue to their advantage.
The firm can be found on: www.smokingcanopy.co.uk
3. MODEL RULES
I was very pleased to announce in April that, at last, new A.C.C. Model Rules are now available for A.C.C. Member Clubs.
The new Model Rules comply with the Licensing Act 2003 and make provision for Members' guests to be able to purchase their own drinks and for Members to promote private functions at which their guests may purchase their own drinks, for visiting teams and Temporary Event Notices. The
disciplinary procedures have been improved and audit requirements have been updated. The language employed in the Rules has been brought up to date, so far as possible. In short, the Model Rules provide the necessary format and sufficient flexibility for a Committee to manage a modern day Private Members' Club.
We have produced two sets of Model Rules. One set is for Unincorporated Clubs - in other words, Clubs which vest their property in the names of elected Trustees. Clubs with this type of existing Rule Book normally, but not always, have Rule Books with blue covers. As a consequence, the A.C.C. Model Rules for Unincorporated Clubs have always been known as Model Rules (Blue).
The second set of Model Rules are appropriate for Clubs which are registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act 1965. Such Clubs have the word "Limited" at the end of their titles but they are not to be confused with Limited Companies. A Club registered under the I&PS Act achieves corporate status and, as such, must bear the word "Limited" within the Club's title. Clubs with this type of existing Rule Book normally, but not always, have Rule Books with yellow covers. Previously, A.C.C. Model Rules have taken a letter of the alphabet to denote the Model, the last Model being Model "L". However, the new Model is simply known as Model Rules (I&PS).
Clubs wishing to carry out a Complete Amendment of their existing Rules are advised to send a copy of their existing Rules to the A.C.C. requesting a Model Rules Pack.
4. GAMING MACHINES - VA.T.
In the August and October editions we published articles on the possibility of making claims for refunds of V.A.T. paid on the net income from Gaming Machines for the eleven V.A.T. periods up to December 2005.
I advise Club Secretaries who have not yet submitted a claim to read this article and to submit a claim.
Further updates on the progress of claims will feature in future editions.
The Government has introduced new Rules in respect of Age Discrimination, which came into force on 1st October 2006.
* Introduce a new duty on employers to consider seriously an employee's request to continue working beyond retirement.
* Require employers who set their retirement age below the default age of 65 for Unfair Dismissal and Redundancy rights, giving older workers the same rights to claim Unfair Dismissal or receive a Redundancy payment as young workers, unless there is a genuine retirement.
* Prohibit unjustified age discrimination in employment and vocational training.
* Will effectively exempt most age-related rules and practices in relation to Occupational Pensions.
However, what things can you do to prepare for the introduction of this new legislation?
If you have not already done so, you should start a review of your employment practices and procedures now. In particular, you should check the following:-
* Your recruitment procedures, eg., job advertisements are not age discriminatory.
* Your application procedures, eg., how you conduct interviews and make decisions on job offers do not contain any prejudices in relation to age.
* Your employment rules and procedures, eg., employment contracts, staff handbook or other employment benefits.
* That you `know' your staff. The legislation will not contain any obligation to collect information on the age profile of your workforce but it is recommend that you do so.
Rate of the Minimum Wage
As from 1st October, 2006, the rate for adult workers increased £5.35 per hour and for young workers (18 -21 years) to £4.45 per hour.
Statutory Sick Pay
Employees who have been adsent from work for at least four consecutive days are entitled receive Statutory Sick Pay. This known as the Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW). The four consecutive days can include days on which an employee is not required to work. Other qualifications are that the employee is under the age of 65 years and over the age of 16 years. It is also necessary that an employee's average weekly earnings are above the Lower Earnings Limit, which was increased from £82 per week £84 per week from 6th April, 2006.
Many employees will have contracts providing payment whilst absent from work due to sickness, but if there are no provisions within the contract concerning additional sick pay then only statutory sick it applies if the above qualifications are met.
Payments of statutory sick pay, ie., £70.05 per week, may be reclaimed by the employer via the employer's National Insurance contributions.
6. CLUB PREMISES CERTIFICATE
Whilst many Clubs are already in receipt of their Club Premises Certificates (CPCs), issued by local Licensing Authorities under the Licensing Act 2003, a number of Clubs are still awaiting this important document.
It appears that Licensing Authorities are now beginning to catch up with the backlog of work and, increasingly, Clubs are now receiving, at last, their CPCs.
It is essential that Club Committees should examine the Certificate issued to the Club to ensure that there are no additional conditions or restrictions which were not part of the original application that was either approved by the Licensing Authority in its original state, or amended and approved at the time of application last year. Several Clubs have contacted the A.C.C. to say that whilst they are happy to have received the CPC they are concerned that additional conditions or restrictions have been included.
If your Club should find any errors within the Premises Certificate contact should be made with the local Licensing Authority.
The aforementioned six points will, I hope, provide a useful aide-memoire for Club Officers but I would also suggest the `Questions and Answers' article which are consistently a popular feature within the Magazine, are re-read.
This year these articles were published in the February, September and November editions. Finally, the March edition repeated an article concerning Disciplinary Procedures.