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March 2007

Questions and Answers

In this month's edition I have again looked at our postbag and set out below a small sample of some recent enquiries received from Clubs. The
Question and Answer format is one which seems popular with Clubs and is often referred to at Club meetings.

If you would like any particular subject covered in the Magazine then please let me know. There will be articles later this year concerning the impending Smoking Ban, which has been covered in several editions, and also an update regarding the new Gambling Act which takes effect from September this year.

 

Our Club is Unincorporated (Trustees) and the Committee wish to propose the possibility of transferring the Trustee responsibilities to the
A.C.C. 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?

I note the Committee of the Club would like to pursue the proposal for the ACC to act as the Club's Trustees.

I confirm that this Transfer of Trusteeship has increasingly become popular amongst Unincorporated Clubs, such as yours. 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, will act as the Club's Trustees on a permanent continuous basis, thereby 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.

However, let me be absolutely clear, this Association will not be involved in the day-to-day business of the Club and will 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.

I trust this brief description will be of assistance at the Club's forthcoming Special General Meeting being held prior to your Annual General Meeting. I look forward to hearing the outcome of the members' decision.

 

We have received a letter from our Auditors saying we do not need to have an audit every year. Is this correct?

The Club is registered as an Industrial and Provident Society and, as such, is obliged to carry out the type of audit contained within the Rules. Currently the Club Rules require that a full audit is carried out each year.

Your Auditor is quite correct in stating that many Clubs that are registered under the same Act are now taking advantage of certain flexibilities in respect of their audit requirements. In fact, the new ACC Model Rules for Industrial and Provident Society registered Clubs contain a provision which permits Clubs to have less than a full audit and to take advantage of the flexibility which is allowed.

The type of audit required will depend upon the financial parameters of the Club. I suggest you discuss this with your Auditor. It may be that an
Auditor's Report would be more suitable for your Club and this would reduce the Club's Audit costs. In order for this Rule to be implemented it will need to be approved by the Members. Whilst the Model provides for flexibility it also provides that the Members may request a Full Audit in any given year.

If the Club would like to benefit from a more flexible audit and, in my view, I see no reason why it should not, then I would recommend that the Club carries out a complete revision of the Club Rules based on our new Model.

 

Is it a legal requirement to pay double time on Bank Holidays to staff? Also, our bar staff work five hour shifts - what is their entitlement to a break?

I confirm there is no statutory legal requirement to offer enhanced pay or time off in lieu for working on Any increased payment or time
off in lieu will depend on any contracted arrangements which may be in place.

By reference to The Working Time Regulations a minimum of 20 minutes rest break is required within each 6 hour working period. However, individual
Clubs can make their own arrangements providing more generous terms.

 

For the last year we have been running short of a full Committee. This has been due to a general lack of interest to get involved with the day-to-day running of the Club.

When we dealt with the Licensing Act 2003 last year, the local Licensing Authority picked up that we were three Committee Members short and recommended a Rule change.

My question is, how many Committee Members should a Club have? The Club feels that too few could be as bad as too many.

I confirm that the trend amongst Clubs is to reduce the number of Officer and Committee Members required to be elected in order to manage the
Club's affairs.

I note from the extract of Rules which you have included with your e-mail that the number of Officers you elect could not be reduced, but I do think that 12 Committee Members required is now the absolute maximum number being elected by Clubs. There is no specific statutory minimum or maximum constitution of a Committee and I do agree with your point that the number should not be too low so that the management of the Club is in the hands of too few people. However, I think it would be perfectly in order for your Committee to reduce the current number to 9 with 3 Members retiring each year, thereby creating a 3-year tenure of office, or 8 with 4 Members retiring each year, thereby creating a 2-year tenure of office.

If one of the above options were adopted I think this would assist the Club in achieving a full Committee.