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Q Our Licensing Officer
has informed us that
the Club’s current Rules are
out of date and do not reflect
the provisions of either the
Licensing Act 2003 or the
Gambling Act 2005. We are in
the process of using the ACC’s
current Model Rules as a basis
to completely update our
Rules. Would it be possible to
modify the ACC’s Model Rules
to allow us to sell alcohol for
consumption ‘off’ the premises
to members’ guests?

A. Unfortunately this would not
be possible as the specific
restriction was not placed in the
Model Rules through choice. The
ACC’s Model Rules do reflect
both the Licensing Act 2003 and
the Gambling Act 2005. In some
cases, therefore, the Model Rules
cannot be amended as to do so
would inadvertently breach one
or both of these acts. Specifically,
the requirement that Clubs can
only sell alcohol for consumption
off the premises to Club Members
is contained within s73 (5) of the
Licensing Act 2003 which states
the following:
S73 (5) The third condition is
that any supply of alcohol for
consumption off the premises
must be made to a member of
the club in person.
It is, however, perfectly in
order to make sales of alcohol to
members’ guests for consumption
‘on’ the Club’s premises.

 
Q Is it possible for you
to outline the personal
liability of the Committee
Members. One of our
Committee Members was
informed that she could be held
personally liable for any of the
Club’s debts which has deeply
distressed her.

A. Importantly, the Club is an
Industrial and Provident
Society. This means that the
Club’s Members, including
the Committee Members, have
limited liability. Therefore, if the
Club has incurred debts which
exceed the assets of the Club, then
the Members would be protected
from being pursued for the
outstanding debt up to the limit of
their individual shareholding. The
average value of such a share is 5
pence.
The only occasion a Committee
Member could be personally liable
would be if there was evidence of
gross negligence or fraud on their
part. Provided the Committee
manage the Club in good faith
and in strict accordance with the
rules, such accusations would be
extremely unlikely.
For Unincorporated Clubs,
which are Clubs not registered
as Industrial and Provident
Societies, the position is different.
Unincorporated Clubs vest
property in elected Trustees who
hold the Club’s property on behalf
of the Club in accordance with
the Club’s Rules. In such a Club,
the Trustees could, technically, be
liable for debts. However, almost
all Unincorporated Clubs own
their own property and as such, in
normal circumstances, the assets
of the Club would be more than
the debts. This should safeguard
the Trustees but if the amount is
still insufficient then a special
subscription can be raised from
the membership to make up any
shortfall.
The ACC does operate a
Trusteeship service for Clubs
which means that the ACC can
take over as Trustees of the Club.
We currently operate as Trustees
for over 200 of our Unincorporated
Clubs which removes the potential
personal liability from individual
Trustees for these Clubs.
(Clubs with any questions
regarding the ACC’s Trusteeship
service please contact us for more
details.)

 
Q We have recently been
informed that the Club
must offer free tap water to
all members, members’ guests
and visitors. Is this an absolute
requirement or does the Club
have flexibility to refuse free
tap water for persons who have
not purchased anything from
the Club’s bar or restaurant?

A. We advise that all Clubs
should offer free tap water to
Members and their guests upon
request.
The specific legislation states
that licensed premises, which
includes Clubs holding a Club
Premises Certificate, must provide
free tap water to customers. This
does provide the ability to refuse
or to charge for tap water for
persons whom the Club does
not consider to be customers.
Therefore, whilst the Club may
be within its rights to refuse to
serve tap water to a person who
has not already purchased from
the Club, should a person who
has already purchased from the
Club request a glass of tap water
then the Club should provide this
free of charge.
 

 
Q I have been informed that
a single objection to a
membership application from
an existing Member should
disqualify the candidate from
election to membership. I
have always been under the
impression that the Committee
had sole discretion over
membership applications.

A. You are correct. Whilst
Members may object
to a person’s application for
membership, it is the Committee
that makes the final decision in
accordance with the requirements
of the Club’s own individual rules.
It is usual for two votes against
admission to exclude a candidate.
Therefore, it is possible to
have a situation whereby no
Members object to a nomination
but the candidate is rejected by
a Committee, or where several
Members object to a nomination
and the Committee elect the
candidate to membership.
Ultimately, the authority to elect or
reject candidates for membership is vested solely in the Committee.
However, a Committee would
be wise to consider the views
of Members when making their
decision to elect a candidate for
membership, since this is the
reason why candidates’ names are
posted on the Club Notice Board
prior to election taking place.

Q Our President customarily
opens the Committee
Meetings and then passes the
proceedings to the Chairman.
Is it also acceptable that our
President has the power to
propose or second motions at
Committee Meetings?

A. It is more common for the
Chairman to open Committee
Meetings and then continue to
chair proceedings. I would suggest
that the practice you have described
is one that may be specific to your
Club.
The President, like any other
Officer or Committee Member,
is able to propose, second and
vote at Committee Meetings. The
President of the Club has the same
voting powers as any other Officer
or Committee Member. The only
exception to this may be if the
Club has an Honorary President
who may not have voting powers
at Committee Meetings and would
purely be seen as a figurehead of
the Club.
However, under the terms of
most Clubs’ rules, the President
does take the chair at a Club’s
Annual General Meeting. It is quite
common for Presidents to formally
open a General Meeting of the
Club and following a short address
to hand over proceedings to the
Club Chairman. Each individual
Club will usually establish the
sequence and procedure that suits
their own particular needs and
reflects the personalities of the
current Officers.

 
Q The Committee wishes
to create a social Sub-
Committee. Do we have to
appoint people who are already
on the main Committee to sit on
the Sub-Committee or can we
appoint ordinary Members to
the Sub-Committee?

A. A Sub-Committee’s membership
does not have to be
composed entirely of persons
elected from the main Committee.
However, any Sub-Committee
concerned with the purchase
or supply of intoxicating liquor
on the Club’s behalf, must consist
of members duly elected by
the Club’s membership.
There are numerous
opportunities in a Club for the
use of Sub-Committees where
appointment and co-option may
be used to employ the services
of a wide range of members.
Sub-Committees provide the
opportunity to bring in all the
best talent available to make the
conduct of affairs successful and
improve the events and amenities
of the Club. For instance, a
member who is an accountant
may plead that he does not have
the time to participate in all the
functions of the Committee,
though he can be an invaluable
member of a finance Sub-
Committee. Members with
experience in leisure industries
will be attractive as recruits
to an entertainment or social
Sub-Committee. Co-option to
Sub-Committees also provides
the chance for younger Club
members to learn management
procedure.

 
Q Is a Sub-Committee able to
spend Club funds without
prior authorisation from the
Committee on each applicable
occasion?

A.  Whilst Sub-Committees can
elect their own officers and
adopt their own procedures they
are ultimately always responsible
to the Committee. They are not
usually entitled to make decisions
affecting the Club without the
approval of the Committee. This
is especially true where the Sub-
Committee makes proposals
involving the use of Club funds.
For example, the entertainment or
social Sub-Committee could be
charged with running the annual
dinner or a monthly dance. As
such it should either obtain an
estimate cost for approval by the
Committee, or that the Committee
must specify a maximum sum
within which the Sub-Committee
plans its expenditure. If the Sub-
Committee finds it cannot contain
spending within the limit laid
down, it must report back to the
Committee giving its reasons and
asking for the limit to be raised.
The mechanics may not be
the same in each Club but the
principle to be observed is that
Sub-Committees must have the

 
 

 


PPL Article Clarification

In last month’s edition of the magazine, we published an article on the proposed increase in fees by PPL and how, if implemented, these revised fees could have disastrous results for Clubs. In fact, the effect could go as far as to prevent Clubs from holding entertainment evenings which feature copyrighted music. We used an actual quote from a Club to represent the scale that the proposed tariff changes would represent. Unfortunately, the quote was incorrectly printed. Please find the actual quote below:
‘As a rough guess we could be currently paying around £25 for a Friday night disco but in 3 to 4 years time the cost would be over £200 according to their tiered increase system. As we provide discos every week this will take our PPL fees from around £750 per year well into the thousands. Looking at the document as proposed it seems to us that PPL will price us out of entertainment’.

We are encouraging all Clubs to respond to the consultation paper sent out by PPL and state that they are strongly opposed to the proposals.