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CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT

Industrial and Provident Societies Legislation Change

Clubs which are registered under the Industrial and Provident Society Act 1965 should be aware that following the introduction of
the Co-Operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, reference should now be made to the above Act.

The Financial Conduct Authority recommends that all former Industrial & Provident Societies amend their headed notepaper to
state:

“[name of society] is a registered society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014”.

The required Annual Return for Co-Operative Societies is slightly amended from the previous Annual Return that Industrial and Provident Societies needed to complete and return. The new Annual Return form can be assessed here: http://www.fca.org.uk/firms/firm-types/mutual-societies/annual-returns

Clubs can consider using or amending the following standard
answers when completing the new Annual Return form. The section relating to Community Benefit Societies does not need to be completed.

Bona fide co-operative society 1.14 How did members benefit from the business, industry or trade of the society?
Members benefit from the trade of the Society by use of the Club’s facilities and the enjoyment of a safe social environment with others who hold the same principles and values

1.15 Is membership of the society required to obtain the benefits offered by it?
Yes.

1.16 In what way did members participate in an ongoing basis in the society’s primary business?
The Club’s Members elect the managing Committee and can participate in the Society’s Annual General Meeting and can call Special General Meetings. The Members will undertake mutual trading with the Society and benefit from the facilities which the Society provides as well as participate in events and functions organised by the Society.

1.17 How did members democratically control the society?
The Members elect a Committee according to the election rules contained within Rules 26 and 27. The Members can remove an elected Committee using Rule 48. All Members have an equal vote and are able to qualify to stand for Office.

1.18 How did the society use any surplus/profit?
Any annual surplus was utilised in the interests of the Club and in furtherance of the Club’s Objects. No surplus was distributed among the members.

The small number of Clubs which are registered under the Friendly Societies Act 1974 remain unchanged. Clubs which are classed as Unincorporated Associations (Club which elect Trustees) are also unchanged.

Information Packs and Legal Documentation available from the ACC Free of Charge

ACC Room Hire Agreement

Following requests from Clubs, the ACC has produced a standard room hire agreement which is suitable for use by Clubs. The agreement is available from the ACC at no cost. The room hire agreement is ready to be completed at the time a booking and includes space for a deposit to be taken to secure the room is applicable. We hope that this document will be of assistance to Clubs. The ACC Room Hire Agreement can be provided electronically or as a hard copy. To receive an electronic copy please email Charles@toryclubs.co.uk. To receive a hard copy please contact 0207 222 0868.

ACC Catering Franchise Pack

The ACC provides at no cost a Catering Franchise Pack. This Contract pack can be used by Clubs which have a franchisee who uses the Club’s facilities to prepare and serve food within the Club. The Franchisee Contract permits the Committee to decide if the franchisee shall pay a set fee per month to the Club for use of the Club’s facilities, shall pay to the Club a percentage of the profits from the sale of food or that a combination of both methods of remuneration shall be utilised. The Catering Franchise Contract Pack can be provided electronically or as a hard copy. To receive an electronic copy please email Charles@toryclubs.co.uk. To receive a hard copy please contact 0207 222 0868.

Health and Safety and Risk Assessment Documentation

The ACC has extensive documentation to assist a Club in creating a Health and Safety policy and conducting regular risk assessments. This documentation is available free of charge. Examples include template health and safety documentation, risk assessment forms and practical advice on completing a Club risk assessment and first aid information. The documentation can be sent electronically by emailing Charles@toryclubs.co.uk.

Employment Advice

The ACC can assist Clubs with employment problems and we have a wide range of pre-written material which can be sent to Clubs which encounter problems in addition to the personalised advice and assistance offered to all ACC Clubs which have questions or problems with employees. Please contact Charles@toryclubs.co.uk or phone 0207 222 0843 if you have an employment problem or question.

Club Insure are Broker of the Year

ACC Recommended Insurance Broker Club Insure has been awarded Broker of the Year at the Modern Claims Awards 2015. Club Insure received the accolade in recognition of their client centric approach which was deemed exemplary by a panel of industry judges.

Simon Mabb, Managing Director, who collected the award on the night said: “This is an excellent start to our 2015 campaign. Being highly commended in the Broker Team of the Year category also, is a great achievement – we have that in our sights for next year already!

The ACC congratulates Club Insure on their success.

Shared Parental Leave - The Facts

Shared Parental Leave is available to parents of children born or placed for adoption since April 5th 2015. Whilst uptake is predicted to be limited/slow initially, it is worth knowing the facts ahead of any discussions to avoid unnecessary confusion or confrontation.

How does it work?
A mother can either opt to keep her maternity entitlement or, under the new scheme, share up to 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks’ pay with the child’s father. The leave can be taken separately or concurrently and, if chosen, the father is entitled to take all 50 weeks leave and the
mother return to work.

Do you have to accept a shared parental leave request?
Employers are obliged to accept up to three requests for a continuous block of leave e.g. an employee could be absent for 3 x four week periods, returning to work inbetween each block. An employer does not have to accept requests for discontinued periods of leave e.g. a period of three months where the employee requests to work alternate weeks. The employee is required to give eight weeks’ notice. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/sharedparentalleave-and-pay/overview

Questions & Answers 

Q A neighbouring ACC Club has recently entered into a sale and leaseback arrangement with the ACC and are pleased with the outcome. Is this a service which is offered to all ACC Clubs?

A I can confirm that the ACC operates a sale and leaseback service which has proved popular with over 50 Clubs. We accept that there are some Clubs that would benefit greatly from the scheme in other cases it would not be the correct solution for a Club’s particular situation. In most cases Clubs require assistance by way of a low interest loan from the ACC and such straight forward help will be more appropriate than a sale and leaseback. All ACC Clubs are, however, welcome to approach us regarding the sale and leaseback service.

Any Club wishing to know more information about the sale and leaseback service can emailPhilipsmith@toryclubs.co.uk or phone 0207 222 0843.

 

The mother of our Club Steward, who is also a Member of the Club, has put her name down to become a Committee Member. Is it wise for a relative of an employee to be a member of the Committee?

A Whilst this Member is able to stand for election to the Committee I think it would be fair to say that any Member who has a close relative employed by a Club would wish to think carefully about whether it is appropriate. Importantly, she would be unable to take part in any aspect of the meeting which concerned any of the Club’s employees or any related employment matters. As these matters do utilise a large proportion of Committee time on some occasions, this could result in a large period of each Committee Meeting being spent outside the Committee room. I think that everyone would accept that if she was a Committee Member there are several areas of discussion where she would correctly be identified as having a conflict of interest.

Ultimately if it up to this Member to decide if she wishes to stand for the Committee in these circumstances although ultimately the decision whether to elect her or not rests with the Club’s Members.

Q We have a part time employee who has become pregnant. We are unsure if, as a part time employee, they qualify for maternity pay.

To qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, an employee must:

  • earn on average at least £111 a week
  • provide the Club with the correct notice
  • provide proof of pregnancy
  • have worked for the Club

continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth - called the ‘qualifying week’

There is a maternity pay calculator here which may assist: https://www.gov.uk/calculateyour-maternity-pay

Maternity Allowance is usually paid to an employee if they do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.

An employee may get Maternity Allowance for 39 weeks if they are employed, but do not qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay.
They must also have been:

  • employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before the week the baby is due.
  • earning at least £30 a week over any 13-week period

If an employee does not qualify for maternity allowance for 39 weeks they may qualify for maternity allowance for 14 weeks.

We notice that you provide Contracts of Employment for both Stewards and Bar Managers. What is the difference between these positions and which contact should we order?

Some Clubs, for various reasons, prefer to employ a Bar Manager rather than a Steward. The contracts we offer for each of these positions are identical except that the Bar Manager contract has no provision for the Bar Manager residing in Club Accommodation. The Steward contract has an accommodation provision included. Other than that, the two contracts are identical regarding their contents. 

I would therefore suggest that you should purchase a Steward contract if the employee is to be provided with Club accommodation. If no accommodation is to be provided then both contracts are appropriate and it will be for the Committee to
decide how they wish to describe the position. I think it is fair to say that whilst the contracts are largely identical, just the name ‘Bar Manager’ might attract a different type of candidate to the job than the candidates who seek to be a Club Steward. Informally, a Club Steward may be expected to take a more active interest is all areas of the Club whilst a Bar Manager may simply be expected to concentrate of matters concerning the Club’s bar. It is, however, up to each individual Club’s Committee to determine the exact job role for both Club Stewards and Bar Managers.

Q Our Club is Unincorporated and the Committee wish to propose the possibility of transferring the Trustee responsibilities to the ACC as we are finding it increasingly difficult to find Members who are willing to take on this important role. Could you please confirm how such a change would work in practice and why it would be beneficial to the Club?

A The ACC Trusteeship Service has increasingly become popular amongst Unincorporated Clubs as there are two main benefits for the Club. The first is that the ACC will pay for all legal expenses involved with the transfer of Trusteeship and once elected would act as the Club’s Trustees on a permanent continuous basis, thereby also saving the Club future legal costs since Trustees will not be changed by re-election as they are now. The second is that the Association’s financial and legal resources are such that the Club’s position will be greatly strengthened when negotiating loans or defending itself against legal action taken by a third party. This Association would not be involved in the day-to-day business of the Club and would be subject to the lawful instructions of the Committee in respect of its role as the Club’s Trustee in exactly the same way as the existing Trustees.

There are, I think, three important points to make regarding our Trusteeship Service and these are also the most frequently asked questions by Members:
1.) Is it a takeover? No, we hold the Trusteeship on behalf of the Club in accordance with the Club’s rules, and the Club’s Trust Deed. The Committee continue to manage the Club’s day to day affairs without any outside influence.
2.) Are there any costs? No, we have a special fund which pays for this type of transfer and there are no ongoing costs to the Club.
3.) Can we ever elect Club Trustees again? Yes, if at some future time the Members, for whatever reason, decide to elect Trustees from within the Club then they can. To my knowledge, however, this has never been requested. Any Club wishing to know more information about the ACC Trusteeship service can email Philipsmith@toryclubs.co.uk or phone 0207 222 0843.

Our Secretary has recently resigned and we are having difficulty electing a replacement. Can we legally operate without a Club Secretary?

A It is, of course, important to have a designated person to handle the responsibilities and duties of a Club Secretary and a Club’s Rules will usually state that it is a requirement to have a person elected as Club Secretary or employed as Club Secretary.

If a Member is unable to be found to take over the role of Secretary, then the Committee could consider employing a Secretary or a general administrator to assist the Committee. Whilst I am sure the duties of the Secretary can be covered by the Committee for a limited time, I would suggest at some point the Committee will wish to find a designated person for the job and either elect a Member to fill the role or advertise the role as an employed position. According to the Club’s Rules, the position does not have to be filled using the Casual Vacancies procedure immediately so the Committee does have time to consider which direction they wish to go in.

Alternatively, if the Committee believe that by spreading out the duties of the Secretary between the Committee Members that the duties can be covered properly then it will be possible to amend the Club’s Rules to reflect this mode of operation and we can assist with this Rule change. 

Club Law – Important Stories from January to June 2015

Gem Hygiene

Gem Hygiene are allegedly delivering cleaning supplies to Clubs without having being properly approved or ordered by a Club’s Committee or appointed individual.

Their modus operandi is, allegedly, the following. They will call the Club in order to obtain the names of the Club Secretary /Steward / Chairman. Alternatively, they will speak to a Member
of the Club’s bar staff and offer to send samples which can then be returned if the Club does not wish to keep them. What they will not make clear is that acceptance of these ‘samples’ will enter the Club into a contract with Gems Hygiene to purchase the goods. They may also state to the bar employee that they are previous suppliers to the Club or that they are attempting to just arrange a regular delivery of standard cleaning supplies which the Club uses.

Cleaning goods to the value of between £250.00 -£350.00 are then delivered to the Club, on the reverse of the delivery note it a cancellation policy, stating that if you do not want the goods you must inform Gem within a specific number of days or a cancelation fee will apply.

They then chase the Club for the money. Do not be bullied into paying any money for goods which have not been ordered and ignore their threats of legal action being taken against the Club. Please contact the ACC and we will refer this matter to Trading Standards.

July 2015 Update: Since we published this article, further Clubs have contacted us regarding Gem Hygiene. One alleged that this firm obtained the name of an employee and used that name as the order reference. The Club have now advised Gem Hygiene to delete their details from their database and have stated that any further goods sent will be returned along with an invoice for the return costs.

Outdoor Events – Is the Club properly prepared?

 An event organiser has a duty to ensure that any premises, open
spaces, means of access and egress, and any plant, equipment and substances are safe and without risk to the health of any employees, volunteers or visitors.

Clubs should ensure that a risk assessment is carried out and act upon its findings to eliminate and mitigate risk to your employees and volunteers and the members of the public who attend. The ACC can assist Clubs which wish to carry out a Risk Assessment but are not sure how. Please contact us for assistance.

A risk assessment should also be undertaken to determine the extent of First Aid provision required, this will be based on the numbers attending and the nature of the activities. Provision may range from a simple First Aid box to a number of trained First Aiders. An emergency plan must also be in place in the event of someone having to be taken to hospital or needing to receive emergency treatment.

Insurance Considerations
If outside contractors are employed to provide attractions, the event organiser should check that each attraction provider holds adequate public liability insurance with an indemnity.

If you allow people who are not employed by you to run stalls, displays, rides, sideshows etc., you should ensure that they have their own public liability insurance to cover both property damage and accident or injury to members of the public.

VAT Registration Scam

A number of Clubs have received a letter entitled ‘Publication of companies and VAT Registration Numbers in the UK Corporate Portal 2015’ which suggests that ‘as part of the changes to the EU economic package, obligating all companies to provide their VAT Registration Number on various documents since 2010, we as a publisher of leading internet portals are required to update our database’. The Company in question is a German company called TVV Tele Verzeichnis Verlag GmbH and its website address is:http://www.uk-corporate-portal.com/ which is mentioned in the letter.

The letter which Clubs have received looks very official and includes the Clubs name and address and a form to complete and return to the Company. However, if the form is completed and returned then the Club agrees, via the small print, to pay £797 annually which the company states is an advertisement charge. We strongly advise that this form is not completed, is not returned and if received is simply filed in the waste paper basket.

Debt Management Companies

Q. We have been sent a letter by a company claiming that they can help our Club with our financial affairs. Am I right to be wary? 


A. Our member clubs are reporting an increase in debt management companies (DCOs) deliberately targeting them claiming they can help the clubs with financial matters. Some companies claim that they work in partnership with clubs, but the reality is very different.

Most DCOs exist to make a profit and are not there for “free” help and advice. We know of clubs that have been ruined by unscrupulous DCOs. The DCOs start by taking a mortgage over the Club’s assets (usually the Clubhouse) in return for putting money into the Club and then charge high monthly fees to cover both the debt to the DCOs and the management fee for their services.

Because they have a mortgage over the Club’s property, if the Club cannot keep up with the high monthly payments to the DCOs, the DCOs can sell the Club against the wishes of the members. We have seen this happen to a number of member clubs and they regret involving DCOs.

If your Club is in financial difficulty, please contact the ACC in the first instance so we can talk through the options available to you and to see what support we can provide.

EU Food Directive – 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. This does not apply to pre-packed food such as bar snacks.