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Pension Auto Enrolment ACC Launches New Partner - NOW Pensions

To encourage more people to set aside money for retirement, in October 2012, the government introduced automatic enrolment into workplace pensions for eligible workers. All employers are required to automatically enrol all eligible staff into a workplace
pension scheme and pay a minimum contribution into the pension fund. The Pensions Regulator will write to all small businesses and advise them of their staging dates, but Clubs can check themselves by visiting and using the Club’s employer PAYE reference. Employers can sign up with NOW: Pensions as far in advance of their staging date as they like. Their scheme will lie dormant (at no cost) prior to the Club’s staging date.

Planning ahead really should not be underestimated. Leaving auto enrolment to the last minute will inevitably result in increased administrative pressure.

Auto enrolment is designed to get a larger proportion of the population saving for retirement and the policy makes it a legal requirement for all employers to automatically enrol any eligible employee.

The regulations require Clubs to sort your employees into the following groups:

  • Eligible jobholders – aged 22 to state pension age (currently 65) and earning over £10,000.
  • Non-eligible jobholders – 16 to 21 and from state pension age to 74 earning above £10,000. Or 16 to 74 earning above £5,772 up to £10,000.
  • Entitled workers – Aged 16 to 74 earning below £5,772.

Eligible jobholders must be automatically enrolled; non-eligible jobholders do not have to be automatically enrolled but have the option of opting in and entitled workers do not have to be automatically enrolled but they must be able to elect to opt in although no employer contributions will need to be made.

The minimum employer contributions are 1% of each employees’ qualifying earnings, increasing to 3% over time. Employees will also contribute with a minimum of 1% of their qualifying earnings, increasing to 5% over time. See table below:

Implementing auto enrolment can feel daunting, but working with a provider that has in-depth knowledge of auto enrolment can help guide you through the complexities. This is why the ACC has chosen NOW: Pensions as the best placed provider to assist ACC Clubs with the auto enrolment implementation.

NOW: Pensions offers a simple and cost-effective workplace pension, designed specifically with the auto enrolment market in mind. Its parent company is Danish pension fund ATP and NOW: Pensions’ Chair of the Board of Trustees is former Shadow Pensions Minister Nigel Waterson. All employers, no matter how big or small are able to enrol with NOW: Pensions.

NOW: Pensions will send out all of the statutory communications (e.g. postponement and enrolment letters) and all of the pension communications. The only communications NOW: Pensions will not handle are the prestaging communications. These will have to be handled internally by the Club. Once the scheme is set up, NOW: Pensions will send out all necessary correspondence.

With NOW: Pensions, the cost charging structure is simple and easy to understand. Employees who earn over £18,000 will pay a monthly £1.50 administration fee which is deducted directly from their contributions. For employees earning less, there is a phased increase to tie in with phased contribution levels. The monthly fee covers the costs involved in setting up a scheme and the cost of day to day administration. There is annual management charge of 0.3% which is taken from the employee's pension fund and covers the cost of managing the investments.

Clubs will also receive a full toolkit that has materials that can be passed on to the CLub's employees to help inform them about the new pension service, its benefits and its mandatory requuirements. As NOW: Pensions will also handle all statuory communication with employees this will hopefully help to relieve much of the administrative responsibility from the Club. if the Club chooses NOW: Pensions as its pension provider NOW: Pensions will write to the Club's employees directly to inform of the details of their new pension scheme. 

The ACC appreciates that the new pension requirements may be difficult for some Clubs to initially implement. We hope that the NOW: Pensions offering will simplify the signing up process for Clubs and also reduce the ongoing administration requirements of the Club's pension scheme. We will be monitoring feedback from the ACC  Clubs regarding NOW: Pensions and we will provide answers to commonly received questions in the Magazine in the future.

For more information visit or call 0333 33 22222. NOW: Pensions have a technical help area available at which has answers to frequently asked questions.

ACAS Early Conciliation

Last year ACAS launched a service called Early Conciliation. This scheme has been mandatory step for employees wishing to bring employment tribunal claims against their employers since 6 May 2014. The process was introduced to give parties an oppertunity to settle workplace disputes without tribunal litigation. We have seen cases settled in this manner for very reasonable amounts. 

Once a notification (intition to bring a claim of unfair dissmisal) is made, ACAS contacts both parties to offer a period (usually a month but this can be extended) in which to conciliate. ACAS has a legal duty to offer concilation, but the parties do not have to accept the offer. if the parties do not conciliate, ACAS issues a certificate and the parties can proceed to make a claim. A total of 37,404 notifications were made to ACAS between 6 April and 30 September. The number of notification from May-September was steadily consistent at around 6,500 per month.

ACAS report that only 10% of employees and employers reject the initial offer of early concilation. The majority of cases notified to ACAS between April and June (some 58% - see below) did not progress to a tribunal claim and 18% of these cases resulted in a settlement.

The 58% of claims that did not progress to a tribunal claim include claims that employees decided not to pursue further after conciliation or where agreement was reached outside of the ACAS Early Conciliation Scheme.

Although the statistics suggest that the early conciliation regime may be working, there are nevertheless, many factors which could contribute to matters not progressing to tribunal claims. It has been suggested that if the early conciliation process is itself weeding out yet more of the ‘weaker’ claims, then there will in due course be a corresponding increase in the rate of success of claims that actually proceed to the tribunal. Many commentators consider that the tribunal fee system is the dominant factor which explains the 58% figure with the suggestion that potentially weak or vexatious claims are still being deterred because of the fee regime.

New EU Food Directives – Allergen Information 

Any premises serving food now have to detail if the individual dishes sold contain any of the following items:
            Eggs, molluscs, crustaceans, celery, milk, fish, treenuts, sulphites, soya, sesame, peanuts, mustard, lupin and gluten.

Clubs now have to be aware of what food is being used to prepare meals and be in a position provide this information on the main menu, on separate listings or on request. Our informal research suggests that many licensed establishments which serve food are placing a sign stating that the allergen information is available to customers upon request.

Allergen information must be provided for non-pre-packed foods (such as plated dishes) in written or oral formats with clear signposting to where consumers can obtain this information if not provided in a written format. Waiting staff will need to explain which ingredients in which dishes may be allergenic.

This is a demonstration of ways the above information can be provided:

How can allergen information be provided by food providers?
Allergen information can be provided to customers in any of the following ways:

  • On the menu under each item (contains gluten, milk, soya etc)
  • On a chalkboard next to each item (contains gluten, milk, soya etc)
  • Orally, although they need to hold allergen information in writing to back up any statements made
  • If they do not supply allergen information on the menu or chalkboard, they have to provide customers clear notices letting them know where the information can be found.

If food is “pre-packed” there is no change in the law and any allergenic ingredients need to continue to be emphasised in the labelling by the product’s manufacture.

Sky Update

In 2014, Sky received £180,000 of fines from premises which were illegally broadcasting Premier League football games through unauthorised (using a home viewing card for example) or foreign sources.

The largest penalty to date was a Glasgow pub which was ordered to pay £70,000 in damages.
Sky is able to enforce such fines through the copyright law, i.e. showing the Premier League
logo and anthem. Until recently, Sky found themselves embroiled in law suits when patrons argued their case to screen matches through alternative platforms. But following the decision
to use copyright issues as the main method of prosecution, the broadcaster now has the upper hand, as a large number of prosecutions by the Federation against Copyright Theft (FACT) have been successfully undertaken. 

During the year, 7,000 licensed premises were visited by Sky as part of the Premier League’s
investigations programme. 894 premises provided a legal undertaking to cease and desist showing unauthorised Premier League football games. A total of 180 premises had formal legal action taken against them as a result of showing unauthorised foreign broadcasts.

The ACC continue to advise Clubs to only show Premier League football games which are provided directly by either Sky or BT Sports.

Sky CORCA Clubs deal for ACC Clubs: 

The ACC Sky Package includes Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, F1, Sky Sports News, Eurosport and Eurosport 2 along with free WiFi and two additional viewing cards, to allow you to show multiple sports at the same time. Sky will have shown more than 800 football games this season, including 116 Premier League games and 129 Champions League games. Throughout
the season, there is also rugby union to enjoy, with Autumn Internationals, golf, including the Ryder Cup, as well as cricket, darts, Super League, Formula 1 and more. All prices exclude VAT.

Sky Sports Ultimate Club Package with Wifi: 

Preparing For Icy Conditions

Although a prominent sign making the potential danger clear is the most likely warning that Clubs will use, in most cases signage alone is unlikely to be sufficient. As well as clearly informing visitors of the potential danger, a Club should also take steps to clear any ice or
snow which accrues. 

We advise Clubs to follow the advice of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

To reduce the risk of trips and slips on ice, frost or snow, the HSE advises that a business needs to assess the risk and put a system in place to manage it. It is suggested that businesses should:

  • Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice;
  • Monitor the temperature, and take preventative measures
  • Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off the slippery surface; and
  • If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored.

Questions and Answers

Following a recent VAT inspection, HMRC questioned our practice of not applying VAT on room hire to members or on income from the snooker and pool tables. Can you confirm if we are correct in not applying VAT to these sources of income?

A  The Club is correct in not applying VAT on these two specific sources of income. The
hire of the Club’s rooms to members is exempt from VAT and Section 10 of Notice 701/5 Clubs and Associations refers to this particular matter. The income from snooker and pool tables is also exempt from VAT and Section 3.5.7 of Notice 701/45 Sport refers to this matter. I suggest you reply to HMRC giving details of the above Notice references and state that the club is not in breach of any VAT payment requirements. Please let us know if you have any problems with HMRC and we will contact HMRC on your behalf.

Q On New Year’s Eve we held a ticket only event and charged VAT on the price of the
tickets. During the event we provided live music and singers as entertainment. We have been informed that we may not have needed to pay VAT on the sale of these New Year’s Eve tickets as it could have been defined as a ‘Cultural Event’. Is this correct?

 A  Room Hire charges and event tickets will attract VAT unless the reason for the room hire is a cultural event. There is no specific definition of a ‘cultural entertainment’ within VAT legislation, but it is taken to mean any live performance of a theatrical, musical or choreographed nature. In our experience this covers anything from bands, singers, comedians, dancers or similar. It is important to note that one person’s idea of culture may not meet another person’s view on this issue but it doesn’t need to, as long as the performance is live and involves music, dancing or might be seen in a theatre (or similar) then it is likely to be cultural in nature. Typically the biggest VAT savings come from not applying VAT on ticket sales for Cultural Events although you should also be able to use the same argument regarding charging for room hire for Cultural Events.

 Although Clubs need to apply for this exemption on a case by case basis, there is no reason why your Club would be unable to benefit from the exemption as we have had other Clubs who have succeeded in this matter and now no longer apply VAT on the revenue from ticket sales on cultural events. There is a small chance of reclaiming VAT on past payments although most
Clubs are focusing on making sure that VAT is not paid going forwards on cultural events.

I would therefore suggest that it is worth seeking to exempt any cultural events that the Club holds from VAT on ticket sales or room hire.