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Club Law and Management

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

Questions and Answers

Q. During the current year Im as Club Treasurer, have applied dor four TENS and the Club Secretary has applied for one TEN. On the certified copy of the most recent TEN from the Licensing Authority, there is a note:-
Warning - This is the 5th and final notice that will a Team Manager at the Local Licensing Authority who has advised me that this information is correct and that neither the Secretary nor I, or any other member of the Club Committee can apply personally for any more TENS during 2009, notwithstanding that the Club can have a total of 12 TENS during any one calender year.
The information conflicts with the information detailed in the ACC Club Law and Management Book where it statesm and I quote "e.g. the Secretary makes the first five applications, the Treasurer the nest five and the Chairman the remaining two."
I shall be most grateful if you can clarify the position for me so that I can resolve the position with my Local Licensing Authority.

A. I am completely bemused by the information which you have received from your Local Licensing Authority. I stand by the advice given in my book. This advice is reflected by the guidance given by the Dept. of Culture Media and Sport and takes it
authority from the Licensing Act
2003.

May I suggest that you request
the Licensing Authority put their
position in writing as to why it is
not possible for your club to benefit from the full l2 Temporary Event Notices which the Club is entitled to apply for since you wish to refer this matter to the ACC who in turn will be more than happy to take on this case.

I do not think there is any merit
in getting into lengthy dialogue
with the Licensing Authority. You are entitled to have their ruling either put in writing or withdrawn.
 

Q. Life Membership and the criteria which may allow such an honour are varied.

Are there any guidelines, benchmarks or precedents which you can advise?
I appreciate that there will be various opinions on what should be required for this facility to be given to a member and I am also wary of allowing the "floodgates" to open so that every "Tom, Dick, and Harry" can be put forward for this desirable position.

A. The problem which you have raised is not uncommon. In most clubs the qualification for life membership was set probably before the First World War and in a great number of clubs the rules for this type of membership have not been changed since the late 1800s. It is not that long ago when a man who reached sixty five was considered to be elderly and to have done quite well. Therefore it is not uncommon to see a life membership qualiiication of, perhaps, twenty years continuous membership and to have attained the age of sixty. Whilst I am not saying this is not an achievement many clubs no longer regard this as a qualiiication to warrant Life Membership.


Many clubs are now changing
their rules in order to either raise
the bar for Life Membership or to
convert this class of membership
to be determined by the Committee for some recognised service to the Club. Ultimately, it is up to each individual club to
determine whether to continue
with Life Membership, to alter the
qualiiication for Life Membership
or to leave the qualification as it is.
Importantly, if the Rules are
amended then all existing Life
Members and future candidates
for Life Membership are bound by the new terms. You will appreciate that a person who has enjoyed free subscription for a length of time may not be particularly pleased about any change which involves becoming liable for subscription again. As such, some clubs have altered the qualification for Life Membership but have only applied this to future candidates.

 

Q. Could you please tell me if the Club Rules have to be displayed in the Club? We always used to, but took them down when we amended some of them and, as yet, they have never been put back on display.

A. I think it is sensible to display a copy of the Club's rules on the Notice Board. By reference to your Club Rules the Secretary is obliged to make available a copy of the Rules to any member who requests them. It would be awkward for the Committee if a Club Member is disciplined for not complying with the Rules ifm in their defencence, they claimed that the Rules were not available.

 

Q. We wish to plan an Open Day for the club in an effort to encourage new members and Inter Affiliated members into the club. We intend to open on a Saturday morning from 11am to 1pm for potential members to call into the club for a coffee and view our facilities, look at our website and get to know the benefits of becoming a member. How can we legally invite these people in without signing the Members' Guests book?

A. I confirm that such an event
would be possible if the Club applied for and obtained a
Temporaiy Event Notice. Please
refer to the section of my Club Law & Management book that deals with TENs or contact your Local Licensing Authority.

Whilst some open days can be
successful this will only happen
if the members are prepared to
become involved. However, l
think it is important for clubs to
actively promote their roles as
part of their local communities.

The best way to avoid people having preconceptions about a Conservative Club is to get them over the threshold and I therefore wish you every success.

 

Q. If we have a party night at the club can we decide at 10pm on the day to have an extension? I thought that we were supposed to give members 24 hours notice of any extensions. I have looked in your Club Law & Management book but can find no mention of it. Our CPC certificate is from 0600 - 0100, but our usual opening times are from 11am till 11pm.

A. I confirm the Club can serve
drinks at any time during the
permitted hours. The fact that you
usually remain open until 11pm
does not mean the Club cannot
decide to continue on until lam if it
is considered appropriate to do so. In reality, such a long session will rarely happen since members do not have disposable income to keep going till this time every day and staff would also be difficult to find. However, I do think there may be a couple of nights each week where you may wish to remain open until midnight and certainly having such a flexible Club Premises Certilicate is ideal for private functions and parties.
Always leave a time before the end of the Club's permitted hours in order to permit drinking up time.

 

Q. We have been advised that is possible to apportion VAT on membership subsciptions. I have looked online at the relative HMRC Brief but still cannot quite understand it, can you offer any advice? We have always treated subsciptions and joining fees as standard rate for VAT.

A. I confirm that apportionment
an be made regarding VAT
on subscriptions. This is calculated
by finding facilities covered by
subscriptions which are free of
VAT.

In almost every club this would
probably only include the facility
of snooker and bowls. In each case, snooker is paid for separately using a light meter that is free of VAT and almost all clubs which have bowling greens require members to join a separate bowling section, the subscription of which is already
free of VAT.

In the circumstances, therefore,
it is unlikely that most clubs will
have any success in pursuing is ideal for private functions and parties.

Always leave a time before the end of the Club's permitted hours in order to permit drinking up time.

 

Q. I am a member of my local Conservative Club and I am aware that some members and even Committee Members are smoking on the premises after hours. I have brought this matter up but it falls on deaf ears. I am very aware it is illegal to smoke inside the club, what should I do?

A. I have covered. the importance
of complying with the Smoking Ban and the fines and consequences that can take place
if this regulation is not complied
with in the Magazine and my book, Club Law & Management.
Smoking is no longer permitted
in clubs since the introduction of the Smoking Ban. Workplace
Smoking Bans were also
implemented to prevent employees smoking at work.
Clubs must display at least one
A5 ‘No Smoking’ sign at every
entrance and exit to the club and
lines will be incurred for not
displaying these signs. There will
be an evaluation in future to decide whether it will be necessary to continue to display them.

An individual smoking within
a club will initially receive a
fixed penalty of £50. lf the same
individual repeats the offence, then
fines will increase to £200. lf a
club fails to prevent a member from smoking within the club premises then the club can be fined £2,500.

A club may be able to show that
action was taken in order to prevent
a member from smoking by-

- requesting the individual to put
the cigarette out

- having witnesses to this request

- entering details in club records
to this effect

If the club can show they did
everything possible to prevent
smoking they will probably escape
a fine.

May I suggest you bring this
matter to the attention of all of those
members who may be involved.
This is a serious matter and one
which could seriously affect the
Club’s reputation and standing
with the Licensing Authority.

 

Q. Can you tell me whether an employee who is off sick is entitled to carry their holiday forward? We have always said they cannot but out Steward disagrees.

A. I would encourage the
Committee to use their
discretion in this matter. Under
current regulation the Committee
has no legal obligation to allow
employees to carry over holiday to the new statutory year.

However, there was recently an
EU case (Stringer v H M Revenue
& Customs) which declared that
any employee who has accrued
holiday time but has been unable
to take it due to illness should be
allowed to take it during the first
period back at work.

lt is important to note that at the
moment this ruling only affects
the public sector. The case will
now be referred back to the House of Lords and if they agree, which they almost certainly will, then the changes will come into effect for the private sector. This hearing is unlikely to take place until early 2010. Until then, an employee has no right to keep unused holiday over the holiday year even if they have been prevented because of sickness, from taking it.

 

Q. I am the new Treasurer of our Club, and our Chairman has raised a query about the treatment of function income for VAT purposes. We have a large room where we stage entertainment. There are normally ticket functions available to Members, and there is sometimes food available. If a Member brings a guest they have to sign the guest in, and pay £1.00. The guests are then considered to be temporary members for the evening. Our previous Treasurer has been declaring the income which is liable to VAT. The majority of the entertainers and caterers are not VAT registered, so this can involve us in losses we can ill afford. I would appreciate any guidance or  information you can provide me with on this matter, as the Club Law and Management book does not seem to cover this subject.

A. It is not possible under the Licensing Act 2003 to offer membership to guests and visitors
in the way you described. By
reference to Section 62 of the Act, an interval of two days must elapse between nomination and election to membership, or if no nomination is required, between election and admission to the facilities of membership. Members’ guests are entitled to purchase their own drinks and therefore should not have to be, and do not have to be, described as "temporary members". This is a point I am making as an aside to your question but hope you
appreciate the importance of using
the correct terminology.

I can confirm that ticketed events
are subject to VAT. This is because the ticket is providing a service to the ticket holder. The question you have raised is not specincally covered in my book, you will appreciate that the subject of VAT alone could become a book in itself, however, I shall be sure to include it in the second edition.

If the entrance fee is altered to be a voluntary donation then VAT
would not be applicable. However, your committee has to determine whether or not more than 85% of guests will decide whether to pay a voluntary contribution.