The I.A. Ticket Scheme
At last year's Annual General Meeting of the Association of Conservative Clubs, members were urged to support the I.A. Ticket Scheme.
Holding an I.A. Ticket brings great advantages to members who are always assured of a warm welcome at a Conservative club when they are travelling away from their "home" club.
The Treasurer of the A.C.C., and other speakers at the A.G.M., also underlined the vital importance of the sale of I.A. Tickets to the finances of the Association.
The annual sale of the tickets provides a basis of income to keep the A.C.C. going - and to keep it available with advice to, help and protect clubs as they go about their daily business.
It is worth reminding Club Secretaries that I.A. Tickets are available at any time of the year and in any quantity - the 2007 tickets are now
available at £2 each (inc. VAT and postage).
Of course, in many Conservative clubs, the sale of I.A. Tickets is all part of club life but it must be remembered that there are rules that govern the use of these "passports" to more than 1,000 Conservative clubs countrywide.
The rules, in full, are printed at the beginning of the A.C.C.'s Club Directory - but they are also available from head office.
Basically the I.A. Ticket Scheme, as promoted by the A.C.C., takes its authority from the 2003 licensing legislation and permits the "sale" of intoxicating liquors by a club to a visiting member of an inter-affiliated club.
This provision of the legislation is quite separate from the usual "supply" which takes place when members make purchases in their own clubs.
Member clubs of the Inter-Affiliation Scheme undertake to extend to visiting IA. ticket holders the same rights and privileges as their own members
enjoy, except the right to vote or take part in the management affairs of the club.
I.A. Ticket Holders are subject to the same rules and regulations which apply to the host club's members.
So, any attempt to place restrictions on IA. Ticket Holders is contrary to the whole concept of reciprocity that is the foundation of the IA. Scheme.
I.A. Ticket Holders are entitled to purchase drinks, play the gaming machines and introduce guests in accordance with the host club's rules.
They can also take part in a host club's bingo or lottery activities but not if the club's committee has decided that such activities are for members only.
I.A. Ticket Holders should not, normally, be required to pay an admission charge when visiting a club. But, since it is essential that I. A. Ticket Holders should be subject to the same rights as the host club's members, the only occasion when they may be charged is when the host club's members are, themselves, being charged admission.
I.A. Tickets are not transferable from club to club and can only be used by members of the club to which the I.A. Tickets have been issued by the A.C.C.
An I.A. Ticket issued to a member who is subsequently suspended from membership is invalid and cannot be used during the period of suspension. In the case of expulsion the I.A. Ticket should be handed to the Secretary of the issuing club.
Regulation No. 8 of the rules and regulations governing the I.A. 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 A.C.C. 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 the radius of ten
miles of the 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 the regulation is to prevent members of one club, with possibly a low annual subscription, using the facilities of a neighbouring club with a higher rate of annual subscription on a regular, if not daily, basis. The committee of any Inter-Affiliated club, therefore, reserves the right to impose a radius restriction on I. A. Ticket Holders.
However, due to the fact that regulation No. 8 also provides committees of Inter-Affiliated clubs with the authority to refuse the admission of any I.A. Ticket Holder if this is considered to be in the interests of the club, we suggest that overall radius restrictions are not imposed and
that club committees should instead, rely on the authority provided by regulation No. 8 to, simply restrict those I. A. Ticket Holders who seek to use the I.A. Ticket Scheme as a method of regularly enjoying the facilities of an A.C.C. club which, for whatever reason, they have chosen not to join. In short, therefore, committees are advised not to permit a few "bad apples" to jeopardise the enjoyment of neighbouring I.A. Ticket Holders who do not wish to abuse the scheme but who would like to visit other local A.C.C. clubs occasionally.
There are always occasions when Licensing Authorities and the Police take an interest in Private Members' Clubs particularly in respect of unlawful sales; that is the sale of drink to people who have not been admitted in accordance with a club's authorised rules.
In the past there has been a case of a club (not an A.C.C. member) where there was an objection to the Club Premises Certificate on the ground that it had knowingly sold intoxicating liquor to non-members.
In this case the non-members were members of another affiliated club but they did not hold Inter-Affiliated Tickets.
Club Secretaries are reminded, therefore, not to permit members of other Inter-Affiliated clubs to enter their clubs and purchase drinks unless they hold an up-to-date A.C.C.-issued I.A. Ticket and have signed themselves into the appropriate A.C.C. signing-in book.
Although some clubs may consider the involvement of an I.A. Ticket to be an unnecessary administrative burden the fact remains that without an I.A.
Ticket, a visiting member of another Inter-Affiliated club is not lawfully entitled to purchase drinks.
It is worth setting out again the benefits of the I.A. Ticket Scheme:
1. The scheme helps clubs by increasing income and social activity.
2. The scheme benefits the holders of I.A. Tickets as it allows them to use the facilities of over 1,000 Conservative clubs - plus other benefits arranged from time to time.
3. The scheme also provides the main source of income for the A.C.C. which is established to assist and advise the national Conservative club movement.
Additional information and advice about the I.A. Scheme is readily available from the Secretary of the A.C.C.