Q We have had some employees who state that they do not consider it to be their jobs to put up Christmas decorations or to move furniture after a function has taken place. Can you confirm if Club employees can be expected to undertake these roles or if the Committee must do these jobs?
A Typically in employment contracts there is a clause which states that in addition to their standard duties employees will be expected to carry out other reasonable duties. In the current ACC Contract of Employment for bar employees this is located as clause 2.2 and states: You may be required to undertake other duties from time to time as the Club may reasonably require.
I suggest that you discuss with the Club’s employees why they object to being asked to undertake these roles. It may be that they bring to light reasonable problems such as insufficient time or equipment or that they have a medical condition which whilst allowing them to work behind the bar makes, for example, moving furniture difficult. Understanding employees concerns is a primary key to resolving them.
However, assuming that the employees are being asked to undertake these roles in their normal working hours and that there is a clause in their employment contracts which states that they will carry out other reasonable duties then the Committee is on good ground by stating that the employees in question should carry out these tasks.
In the licenced trade it is quite common that an employee may be required to move furniture such as bar stools or chairs and assist in decorating the Club for events such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It is therefore likely that it would be considered that these types of requests are reasonable duties for a Club employee to carry out.
Q We have an employee who has just suffered a bereavement. Could you give us some details about how much paid time off work they are entitled to receive from the Club?
A Unless otherwise stated in an employee’s contract of employment, there is no legal right to paid leave when a bereavement occurs for an employee although some employers will offer a limited amount of paid time off depending on the circumstances.
Employees do have a right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off when dealing with a bereavement involving a dependant.
According to research, most firms would tend to offer an average of five days paid leave when a bereavement involving a dependant occurs.
ACAS have produced a useful guide on this subject which Clubs can access online:http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/0/m/Managingbereavement-in-the-workplace-agood-practice-guide.pdf
Q We have recently had two Trustees advise us that they wish to stand down as they no longer have the time to commit to their duties as Club Trustees. We visited our Solicitors to remove the two Trustees and to appoint two new Trustees who had been elected by the Members. However, apparently our Trust document had not been kept up to date and there were many missing Trustees over the years. Our Solicitors say this can be overcome but it is costly.
To minimise this cost, our Solicitor recommended that we incorporate as a Limited Company and register with Companies House. Is this something that you would also recommend?
A In short, no. My first suggestion is to simply adopt the ACC Trusteeship Service. This means that the ACC would become the Club’s Trustees. The ACC has designated funds available for our Trusteeship Service and it means that we will pay for all the legal costs involved, including any legal costs required to sort out the ‘missing’ Trustees. It is also a much simpler procedure than the one I am about to suggest.
My other suggestion is not to become a Company but to incorporate as a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society (what use to be known as Industrial and Provident Societies). It is a very good incorporation method for Clubs and around 50% of ACC Clubs are incorporated as a Cooperative and Community Benefit Society. The other 50% of ACC Clubs are Clubs such as yours that use Trustees.
The benefit of being a Cooperative and Community Benefit Society, instead of a Company, is that you do not need to have a Company Secretary and Company Directors and can continue to operate as you do now with an elected Committee. Each year you will file an Annual Return with the Financial Conduct Authority which is similar to the Annual Return which Companies House would require.
It is not a simple procedure, in addition to some initial and ongoing costs, for a Trustee Club to convert to a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society so any Clubs wishing to find out more should contact the ACC for specific assistance.
Finally, you may ultimately wish to retain your local Trustees and simply pay for the legal work required to sort out the problems with the Club’s Trust Deed. If this is the case then you are welcome to obtain a quote from our Solicitors to see if the work which is required to be done can be undertaken at a cheaper price than your local Solicitors have quoted. Whilst this type of work will place an additional cost than a simple change of Trustee, it should not be prohibitively expensive.
Q 12 months ago the Committee rejected a candidate for Membership of the Club. The person now intends to submit a new Membership request. It is unlikely that we will ever grant this person Membership of the Club. Is there any way we can prevent them from requesting Membership every 12 months?
A A rejected candidate for Membership can re-apply after a further 12 month period. In theory they could repeat this indefinitely although, after discussing this issue with the Club’s Committee, you may wish to informally inform the candidate that a new Membership application is unlikely to be accepted, now or in the future.
Additionally, most Club Rules will prevent a failed candidate for Membership from using the Club as a guest.
Q A Club employee has filed a grievance and the Committee is split regarding how to deal with it. Most of the Committee think that one or two Committee Members/Officers should meet with the employee to discuss the grievance and then report back to the Committee. However, we have a Committee Member who is stating that we cannot proceed in this way and the whole Committee must be present when meeting with the employee. In my view this is a needlessly confrontational approach to take and may well make matters worse.
A I agree and I think it is logical to delegate the responsibility of holding these grievance meetings to just a small number of Committee Members and Officers. They can then report back to the entire Committee so that a decision can be made. If a Committee Member disagrees with this way of dealing with the situation then a vote should be taken and the majority vote will succeed. I consider that it can be impractical to hold grievance meetings with the entire Committee present but ultimately it is up to the Committee, through majority vote, to decide how they wish to handle these meetings.
Q We have a Member who wishes to hire our function room to hold an event to raise money for charity. There will be entertainment provided and alcohol will be for sale. In order to raise charitable funds, the persons he is inviting to the event are being asked to purchase a ticket in order to attend. We have told the Member that he is responsible for the people who attend the event and he must be present during the entire event. Should we also obtain a Temporary Event Notice for this event?
A The best test for this kind of question is an honest answer to this question:
Would you describe the persons attending the event as guests of the Club Member?
If they are legitimate guests of the Club Member, and the fact that they are purchasing a ticket does not mean that they are not legitimate guests, then the event can be held as a Member event and a TEN will not be required.
To further protect the Club I would suggest that the Member supplies you with a list of names in advance or ensures that he signs his guests into the Members’ guest signing in book upon their arrival.
Be careful to ensure that random people cannot turn up on the door and purchase tickets for entry. It is likely that it would be more difficult to prove that persons attending the event in this way could be classed as the Member’s guest. To a certain extent, this also applies to any advertising which the Member is undertaking in regard to this event. For instance, if he places a newspaper advert stating that anyone is welcome to attend an event and purchase tickets on the door then this once again makes the classification of these persons as his guests arguably more difficult.
Editor’s Note: A Temporary Event Notice allows Clubs to hold events which are open to the public such as Open Days and Beer Festivals or simply private events which are not held by Members. A Member holding a private event and inviting their guests will not normally require a TEN to be obtained. From 2016 Clubs will be able to obtain 15 TENs per year.
Underage Sales Prevention
Clubs should continually review their employee training regarding identifying and preventing underage alcohol sales.
After training, employees should be able to list the most common age restricted products (alcohol and tobacco being the main ones) and identify the procedure which should be followed to check the age of a suspected underage customer. Typical schemes which are used are ‘think 21’ or ‘think 25’ which ask employees to request identification for anyone who looks younger than those ages.
It is important that the Club is able to prove that it has a policy in place preventing underage sales in place so every time an employee receives a refresher course this should be documented.
Association of Conservative Clubs 2016 Desktop Calendar
Clubs will know that every year the ACC produces a free desktop calendar featuring ACC Clubs. We are currently preparing the 2016 ACC Desktop Calendar and if you would like your Club to feature then please email firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a good quality external picture of the Club.
Product Launch: ACC Ladies Silk Scarfs
In response to widespread demand the ACC is now selling high quality Ladies ACC Silk Scarfs in the same colour and design as our recently updated Men’s ACC Silk Ties.
The Scarfs are a lovely design with a high quality premium feel and finish. They are available to purchase now from the ACC for £15 each.
They can be ordered by email email@example.com or phoning 0207 222 0868.
Spam and Fraudulent Emails
Some Clubs have reported a seeing increase in the spam and fraudulent emails which they receive. All Clubs should be vigilant when opening emails and should only open attachments from known and trusted sources. Emails doing the rounds at the moment purport to be containing an invoice which is attached in a Word document. Invoices are rarely sent using Word documents and these emails are using the Word document to hide a virus. Please be careful when dealing with unknown emails and if in doubt, simply delete the email and do not open the attachment.
At the present time the ACC does not have a recommended supplier of Solar Panels, nor do we recommend a company to install solar panels or enter into a long term contract regarding the supply of solar panels.
Clubs are interested the potential savings which solar panels can provide and we are happy to work with Clubs regarding any proposals they have received or any ideas which they are considering.
We would urge all Clubs to be vigilant when it comes to choosing which energy companies to deal with and to check the background of companies using Companies House to establish how long they have been trading for and if they have submitted an up to date annual return.
Should any Club wish us to review a contract prior to signing it then we would be happy to assist.
ACC Membership Software Update
The ACC is pleased to announce the release of version 4 of the ACC’s popular Membership Administrator Software Package.This version includes all the features of version 3 so the list of features below will be familiar to Clubs already using this software. One of the most important new features for version 4 is an ability which has often been requested by Clubs. Clubs now have the ability to import Members details from other existing formats such as Microsoft Excel. This saves time by reducing the need to have to type records if they are already available on a database system such as Microsoft Excel. This feature can be utilised by selecting ‘File / Import member records’ from the menu.
A demo of the software can be downloaded from www.eastcoastsoftware.co.uk/acc4demo.exe and the software can be purchased from http://www.eastcoastsoftware.co.uk/acc.htm
All new purchasers will be charged £55 and existing users can upgrade for £30.