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Club Law and Management

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

Questions and Answers

Q. Could you confirm if an elected Secretary is entitled to vote at Committee Meeting as several Committee Members consider that the Secretary should not be voting? Also, if we were to employ a Secretary, would they be able to use the facilities of the Club without having to also be a Member of the Club?

A. The Rules of most Clubs provide that the Secretary, as an elected Officer from the membership, is a voting Member of the Committee. This would apply irrespective of whether such a person is in receipt of an honorarium. Most Rule Books also provide that a Secretary could also be an appointed employee in which case such a person would not of course be a voting Member of the Committee. In fact I have to say that I have very rarely seen Rules which exclude an elected Secretary from being a voting Member of the Committee. I agree that if a person is employed as a Secretary, and I have to say that a very large number of Clubs do now employ either full time or part time Secretaries, since the days of easily finding volunteers are very much in the past, then such a person would not automatically fall into the category of a person who could be admitted to the Club and could be supplied with intoxicating liquor. In the ACC’s Model Rules, in the event of a person being employed as a Secretary, the Committee is provided with the authority that such an employee may be admitted to the premises and that intoxicating liquor may be supplied for consumption on the premises. I do not know of a single Licensing Authority who has not accepted this arrangement on the basis that an intrinsic part of a Secretary’s role would include the ability to use the bar. Since such an arrangement would be strictly limited to one person in each Club and would only apply when this position was filled by an employee, it has been widely accepted that such an arrangement would not jeopardise a Club’s good faith. If, of course, a particular Licensing Authority wish to be very specific about this matter then it would be fairly straightforward for such an employee to become a Member of a neighbouring affiliated Club and to join that Club’s reciprocal arrangement scheme. This would allow such a person to use the bar under the terms of the Licensing Act 2003.


Q. The Committee are currently preparing for the Club’s Annual General Meeting. Could you give us some advice on how to prepare the Agenda?

A.We suggest that you may wish to review the previous year’s agenda and use it as the template in order to reflect the contents for this year’s AGM. If you do need to create an Agenda from scratch then the key points to include are the approval of previous Minutes, matters arising from the Minutes, Secretary’s report, Treasurer’s report, acceptance of the Accounts, Chairman’s report, election of Officers and the date and time of next Meeting.


Q. I have recently been reading various pieces of information concerning the procedure of Meetings. I have come across references to a ‘negative proposition’ and it states that a negative proposition cannot be the basis of an amendment. Could you explain what a negative proposition is?

 A. A negative preposition is a motion or amendment which is submitted which is to prove a negative statement. In the vast majority of cases, this principle would apply to amendments rather than motions. An amendment cannot be negative against the motion which means that the amendment must be broadly supportive of the motion in question. If we take the motion – I propose we redecorate the Club’s snooker room next month – then an acceptable amendment would be – Instead of redecorating the Club next month that we redecorate the Club’s snooker room the month after – and an unacceptable amendment would be – We should not redecorate the Club’s snooker room – as it is a negative statement to the original motion.

Q. I am a newly elected
Treasurer and I am approaching the Annual General Meeting when I will have to give the Treasurer’s Report. Is there any guidance that you can offer in order to help me prepare?

A. In a Treasurer’s Report it is important to include all the relevant information from the Club’s financial year and summarise the important aspects of the accounts. Typically, this information will include the overall financial status of the Club, and include any notable income or expenditure which has occurred during the past year. You may also wish to speak about any forthcoming expenses or income that the Club is expected to receive. The Report does not have to be extensive; you are typically just putting the Annual Accounts into words and providing any necessary background to the figures that the Members are looking. The Treasurer’s Report is the Committee’s opportunity to explain to the Member’s why specific decisions may have been made and how these decisions have reflected upon the accounts that the Members are viewing.


Q. We are not sure how to handle tips that employees are given by Members. We understand that tips are taxable but how is the tax paid and who pays it?

A. There are a few different options available. The Club could approach HMRC and request that the employees are put on a tax coding which will estimate the amount of tips they are likely to receive and adjust their tax rate to compensate. Any tips then given directly to the employees will not then need to be registered or put through the till. Alternatively, the Club could implement a system where all tips are collected centrally (i.e. a tips pot). The total amount of tips is recorded and then the tips are shared equally amongst the employees. Interestingly, this problem does not occur very frequently as the majority of our Clubs do not allow Members to give tips to employees.