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Club Law and Management

by Philip Smith, Secretary of the A.C.C.

Dates For Your 2010 Diary

Club Secretaries will have in their minds - and hopefully in their diaries - the dates by which certain returns and applications will have to be made. I hope the following check list will assist Clubs in carrying out this useful exercise.

Performing Right Society & Phonographic Performances Ltd

The PRS and PPL Licences need to be renewed each year. These Licences cover different types of copyright payable for playing any type of music within the Club.

There are two types of license required to be paid to the PPL depending on whether the Club plays background music or uses recorded music at a dance or disco, or similar function, in which case the fee is on a sliding scale basis.

In January, fees are payable to the PRS. These payments are fixed under an agreement with the PRS and the appropriate fee for a Club is calculated according to the type of music used. There is often confusion between the licenses of the PPL and PRS but, as a general rule, if a Club has music it must have both of these respective licenses.

Gaming Machines

The Gambling Act 2005 which came into force on 1st September 2007, replaced Part III Gaming Machine Registration Cerificates with Club Gaming Machine Permits. These new Permits have the same expiry date as a Club's previous Registration Certificate. Club Secretaries must therefore check and make a careful note of the expiry date. For most Clubs the renewal year will be 2010, but this will not necessarily be the case for all Clubs.

Clubs making application to their Local Authorities before the stated expiry date will automatically qualify for renewal.

This subject has been covered in the December 2009 edition of the Magazine and is also addressed in the edition of the Magazine with a full article and sample forms.

Audits

Clubs registered under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act or the Friendly Societies Acts must submit an Annual Return to the Financial Services Authority no later than the date required under the terms of the Club's particular Rules. Failure to comply may result in prosecution. Such Clubs must also ensure the annual fee is paid, the amount of which depends upon the Club's assets.

Clubs which are incorporated as companies must ensure that their company returns arem made to Companies House by the agreed submission date in order to avoid fines and must also ensure that their Accounts are filed.

Unincorporated Members' Clubs are not requried to submit annual returns or to file Accounts with any outside body.

In addition to the above, please make note of the date for VAT returns, insurance renewal and the Club's TV licence.

Club Premises Certificate

All Clubs are now in possession of a Club Permises Certificate granted under the Licensing Act 2003. Whilst there is no specific renewal date of a Club Premises Certificate in the same way as the previous Registration Certificates, it is necessary for an annual fee to be paid to the local Licensing Authority in order for the Club Premises Certificate to remain in force. Therefore, look out for any renewal invoice received from your local Licensing Authority and ensure that it is paid promptly.

Fees for a CPC

Rateable Value
Band Initial Fee Annual Fee
No rateable value to £4,300 A £100 £70
£4,300 to £33,000 B £190 £180
£33,001 to £87,000 C £315 £295
£87,001 to £125,000 D £450 £320
£125,001 and above E £635 £350

Change of VAT rate back to 17.5%

The VAT rate change in December 2008 came as an unexpected shock to most clubs as there was little warning in advance of the decrease in the VAT rate to 15%. The rate will revert back to 17.5% from the 1st January 2010.

The main decision now facing clubs is whether to increase bar prices by 2.5% an average of 5p a pint once the VAT rate increases. It is worth remembering that in addition to the VAT cut that Clubs were also hit with an excise duty on alcohol, and as with all similar stealth taxes introduced in recent years there is no indication that the increase in excise duties will be reversed.

Club committees thus face a difficult decision and will be reluctant to increase prices; however, few can afford to absorb a 2.5% VAT increase and will be forced to increase prices from the 1st January 2010 to preserve margins. Put simply, whilst all Clubs continue to suffer from the effects of the longest recession in history it is just not practicable to protect members from an ill advised tax hike in the present climate.

Littlehampton has a trip for Little bills...

upon noticing that their main BT service was made up primarily of rental charges the Club has taken the decision to cancel the stand alone BT Landline and purchase a Pay as You Go Mobile Telephone. Previously they were being charged upwards of £70 for a single bill which may only have had a couple of pounds of telephone usage on it.

With a Pay As You Go Phone the Club now only pays for the phone calls it makes, whilst incoming calls are still free of charge to the Club. Additionally, if they wish to vastly increase the calls they make then they have the option of moving onto a contractual service which includes a certain amount of free calls each month. Even this option would be cheaper than continuing to pay for a BT line which is seldom used.

In these hard times every little helps, and Littlehampton can certainly say that this trip is timely. This year's accounts for telephone costs will come to £26; this is in comparison to the 2008 accounts which showed £423.

Rule Updates

We have been advised by the Financial Services Authority and various Local Licensing Authorities that all Clubs using either the 1976 or 1993 Model Rules as issued by the Association prior to updated Rules becoming available in 2006 should, as soon as possible, update their Rules. It is not advisable to undertake a partial update of any of the Rules based on the 1976 or 1993 Model as those Rule books are now legally out of date. The 1976 and 1993 Rules are now incompatible with the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005 and the terminology and clauses used are no longer applicable for such a crucial legal document that the Rules represent to every Club. Licensing Officers will also want to see that Clubs are been run properly, with up to date Rules which are in compliance with the current legislation. Failure to have acceptable Rules which reflect the latest Licensing and Gambling Acts can be used as justification to remove a Club's Club Premises Certificate.

Clubs wishing to update their Rules should contact the ACC Office where we can draft for you an updated version of your Rules which takes into account the recent legisltation changes. Apart from reflection the updates in the law, they can be tailored to your existing Club Rules so that they are as similar as possible. Those Clubs registered under the Financial Services Authority as an Industrial and Provident Society will have some additional documentation to sign and date, whereas Unincorporated Clubs with Trustees can simply pass the updated Rules at a Special General Meeting.

There are no costs to Clubs who wish to update their Rules as the FSA do not charge any registration fees for Clubs using the ACC's Model Rules. The ACC supply all information, Model books and advice to our Clubs free of charge.

Questions and Answers will be back in the February edition of the Magazine.