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CLUB LAW AND MANAGEMENT

 Licensing Special

Questions and Answers

Q Every month we hire a band to perform inside the Club. These evenings are very popular and we would like to advertise them locally and hopefully encourage new Membership applications as a result. Are we able to promote these events?

A The Club is certainly able to promote the bands which perform at the Club, as well as any other events which the Club hosts. Such promotions could be on the radio, in a newspaper, leaflet distribution or anything similar. It is, however, strongly advisable to state when advertising these events that they are only available to Club Members, their guests and Inter Affiliation Ticket Holders. On the adverts you can state that any non-members can contact the Club’s Secretary for membership information. If the Club obtains a
Temporary Event Notice (TEN) for any of the Club’s events, then these would be open to everyone and could be promoted as such.

Q We have a disabled Member and since the Club does not have a lift he is not able to reach the first floor function room. Do we have a legal obligation to install a lift to enable him to reach the function room?

A The Club is required to make all reasonable adjustments to allow disabled access and create disabled facilities. However, the Club is not expected to such adjustments which are not considered reasonable because of cost, time or other practical considerations. What is considered reasonable will differ from Club to Club; we recommend that you obtain a quote for any proposed adjustments so that the Committee can then make an informed decision on whether it would be reasonable for the Club to undertake the changes requested. At the very least it will show that the Committee has properly examined the possibility of changing the Club to make it more disabled friendly even if the Committee ultimately elect not to proceed because of cost or other considerations.

Q During a recent inspection, the Licensing Officer said that we were in violation of our Club Premises Certificate because our Steward was responsible for ordering stock. The Licensing Officer said that only the elected Committee of a Club can order stock and that a Steward is unable to do so on the Club’s behalf. Is this correct?

A Reports such as this concern us as they demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of the Licensing Act 2003 by the Council’s Licensing Officer. In order to answer this question it is worth looking at the specific provisions of the Licensing Act 2003:

Managing the Supply and Purchasing of Alcohol: 

64 (1)The additional conditions which a Club must satisfy if it is to be a qualifying Club in relation to the supply of alcohol to Members or guests are the following. (2)Additional condition 1 is that (so far as not managed by the Club in general meeting or otherwise by the general body of Members) the purchase of alcohol for the Club, and the supply of alcohol by the Club, are managed by a committee whose Members—

  •  are Members of the Club;
  •  have attained the age of 18 years; and
  •  are elected by the Members of the Club.

Clearly the Licensing Officer’s interpretation of this section of the Act is incorrect. A Club’s Committee does not have to personally purchase the alcohol on behalf of the Club any more than they must personally serve (supply) the alcohol themselves. The Club’s Committee is empowered to instruct the Steward, or any other employee, to purchase alcohol on behalf of the Club in accordance with their instructions.

Q Is it a legal requirement for guests under 16 years of age to be permanently accompanied by an adult even if they are playing in our Clubs children’s play area?

A Persons aged under 16 years of age must always be accompanied by an adult in areas which are primarily used for the supply of alcohol such as the bar area. However, for areas such as play areas and beer gardens it will not normally be expected that persons under 16 years of age must be permanently accompanied/supervised in these areas. However, in our opinion it is important that persons under this age are not permitted to run around causing difficulties and inconvenience for other Members. If Members wish to bring persons within this age category into the Club then they should be responsible for their behaviour.

Q When we hire out a room with a bar for a function, can we charge higher prices than we normally do?

A I confirm that it is possible for Clubs to have different price lists in different bars when, for example, a room has been privately
hired.
This is not unusual and I have found that most Clubs will, on average, charge an additional 10% on drinks served from a bar during a private hire event. This is only possible, of course, in Clubs where the bars in such rooms are entirely separate otherwise it is impractical to achieve. 

Q The Committee are currently giving consideration to introducing a fee for Members’ guests, perhaps £1 per visit. We hope that such a fee will raise valuable revenue for the Club. Is it lawful to charge an entrance fee to Members’ guests?

A There is no reason why the Committee cannot charge Members’ guests an entrance fee to access the Club. The payment of such an entrance fee is subject to VAT unless it is introduced as a voluntary donation (which seldom achieves the required result).

Q The Secretary of our Club has resigned and stated that she will take her name off the Club’s registration document. I am now acting Secretary. What action should I take to alter the names on this document as it is feared that the removal of her name will close the Club?

A I confirm that you simply need to advise the Local Licensing Authority, in writing, that you are the Acting Secretary and the “nominated person” in respect of the Licensing Act 2003. The Club’s Club Premises Certificate will be automatically altered by the Licensing Authority. No further action is required.

Q We have received a great deal of conflicting advice from the Club’s Licensing Authority, legal advisors and the Police on the question of whether door supervisors need to be SIA registered.

A Please see the following extract taken from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport’s website.The DCMS is the government department responsible for all licensing issues.

Do door supervisors have to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority?
No. If a qualifying Club under the authorisation of a Club Premises Certificate decides to have door supervisors for a particular event there is no mandatory condition in the Licensing Act 2003 that states they will have to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority.”

Q In applying for our Club Premises Certificate (CPC) I have discovered that the Permitted Hours granted were for the previous hours used by the Club which ended at 4:30pm. Do we need to submit a completely new application in order to change our CPC?

A I confirm that it would be possible to change the Club’s opening hours as granted under the existing CPC. The Club will have to advertise the application to vary the CPC and pay the appropriate fee. Since this variation does not constitute a substantial change I can see no reason why a new application for a CPC will have to be entered into. If the application to vary a CPC is not opposed by a ‘responsible authority’ or any other ‘interested party,’ the application should be granted subject to any conditions the Licensing Authority may reasonably impose.

Q We have received a letter from the Confederation of Professional Licensees stating that we need a Premises Licence and a Personal Licence Holder in order to operate and that they are offering training courses at ‘reasonable costs’. Does this apply to our Club?

A The information concerning the Confederation of Professional Licensees applies only to establishments with a Premises Licence operated by a Personal Licence Holder. It does not relate in any way to a private Club operating under a Club Premises Certificate (CPC).

Q Does the Club have to display a list of Members in the Club?

A There is no legal requirement for a list of Members to be displayed in the Club’s premises and indeed it is inadvisable to publish such a list. By reference to the Licensing Act 2003, Private Members’ Clubs are required to keep a list of the names and addresses of their Members on the premises. Therefore, the Club should have a register of Members but this information does not have to be displayed.

Q A Member wishes to hold an event at the Club and invite a large number of guests. Can we class all of these guests as his personal guests or would a Temporary Event Notice need to be obtained for the event?

A Temporary Event Notices (TENs) are a method of obtaining authority to sell alcohol to the public during an event of less than 168 hours or 7 days. Without a TEN in place, a Club can only sell alcohol to Members, Members’ Guests and IA Ticket Holders. Often a TEN will be used for an event such an open day, a beer festival or an entertainment evening which are open to the public. TENs are normally not required for an event being held by a Member and being attended by the Member’s guests.

Therefore, if it is a Club Member who is holding an event inside the Club and the persons attending are his personal guests then a TEN does not need to be obtained, regardless of the number of guests he has invited. If the Club’s Licensing Officer suggests otherwise then they are simply incorrect and we advise the Club to contact the ACC for further assistance.

To satisfy the requirements of a Member’s event all the people attending should be known to the Member holding the event and must be signed in by the Member as their guests (this can be achieved by forwarding a list of invited persons to the Club in advance so the persons can simply sign by their names or be ticked off as they enter).

 

General Employment Rates Information and updates for 2014/2015

National Minimum Wage
On the 1st October 2014, the National Minimum Wage increases for all workers aged 21 and over from the current level of £6.31 to the new level of £6.50. The National Minimum Wage for workers aged 18-20 also increases to £5.13 and for workers aged 16 and 17 it increases to £3.79. We advise all Clubs to make sure that contracts are up to date and reflect the new rate where appropriate.

Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay is paid at the lower figure of either £138.18 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay apart from for the first six weeks of maternity or adoption leave which is paid at 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay regardless. Maternity Pay and Adoption Pay are paid for up to 39 weeks whilst Paternity Pay is payable for up to 2 weeks.

Statutory Sick Pay is payable up to £87.55 per week and is valid for 28 weeks. It is advisable in the case of sickness absence to review the employment contract in question to ascertain if the Club has committed to pay a limited amount of sickness time off at full pay.

Employer’s National Insurance Contributions
Clubs are required to pay 13.8% contributions for employees who earn above £153 per week. Nothing is due for employees who earn below this threshold. Currently Clubs are automatically eligible for a £2,000 National Insurance allowance and this should be utilised automatically through the Club’s pay roll system.

 

The Licensing Act 2003

(Mandatory Licensing Conditions) (Amendment) Order 2014

With effect from 1st October there are revisions to the Licensing Act 2003 which affect the supply of alcohol. The changes are not major and should not substantively change current operating procedures for Clubs. Among the regulations are the following:
• Clubs should not run irresponsible alcoholic promotions. This does not include general happy hour events but will include games or activities which encourage individuals to drink a specific quantity of alcohol within a time limit or drink as much alcohol as possible within a time limit. The provision of unlimited alcohol for a fixed fee is likely to be classed as an irresponsible alcoholic promotion. Clubs should also not glamorise the consumption of alcohol with promotional flyers or posters either in the Club or within the vicinity of the Club. Finally, Clubs should not dispense alcohol directly into the mouth of a customer even if this was, for some reason, deemed desirable. As before, we do not expect that the majority of the above stipulations will have any effect on the current operating practice of ACC Clubs.

• The new regulations also reiterate that tap water should be available upon request where it is
reasonable to provide it.

• Policies regarding training and education for employees regarding underage drinking have also been tightened up. Every Club must ensure that an age verification policy is in place and that employees are complying with the policy. Alcohol should not be served to persons who appear to be under 18 years of age unless they are able to provide identification, such as a driving license or other legitimate identity documentation, bearing their date of birth and a picture. To ensure that the Club is operating in accordance with this procedure it is good practice to refresh age verification training with employees every six months and to record that such training has taken place.

• Finally, the legislation deals with the quantities which the Club supplies alcohol in. Clubs are required to ensure that beer and cider are provided in half pint quantities, in addition to the traditional pint serving, and that gin, rum, vodka or whiskey are provided in either 25ml or 35ml servings. Clubs can choose between electing to use 25ml or 35ml servings and it does not mean that the standard serving
cannot be a ‘House Double’ (50ml or 70ml depending on the above choice). If Clubs adopt a default
‘House Double’ policy then this is acceptable but if a customer requests for a ‘single’ then this request should be complied with. Wines which are sold by the glass should be available in measures of 125ml in addition to the commonly used measures of 175ml and 250ml servings.
      There should be something on the Club’s premises such as a price board or a printed menu which indicates that these smaller servings are available and the price of them. This is a difference from previous practice where there just had to be sign stating that these quantities were available upon request. Therefore, the Club is likely to be required to have a bar tariff near the bar or in a printed menu which is available at the bar. The new legislation also suggests that where a customer requests a drink but does not indicate the size that they are made aware that these smaller measures are available. We have yet to see how this works in practice and whether or not there will be a requirement to verbally mention these quantities if there is existing signage or menus which establish clearly that these servings are available. We will monitor this specific point in particular and provide further feedback in a future edition of the Conservative Clubs Magazine. The specific section of the legislation which relates to this states the following: ‘If the responsible person is satisfied the customer has been made, and continues to be, aware of themeasures available, the responsible person does not need to repeat that information in relation to each sale’. In practice it is likely that the bar staff will simply discuss what measurement the customer requires when the order is given, much in the way that a glass of wine will currently be offered as a medium or large glass and, as such, is unlikely to cause a major difficulty once this policy has been implemented.

 

New EU Food Directives – Allergen Information

With effect from the 13th December 2014, any premises serving food will 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. Where it is not obvious from the name of the dish, the specific ingredient from the aforementioned list will have to
be mentioned. 

As yet we are not issuing formal advice to Clubs on how to adapt to these new regulations. Whilst
Clubs should be aware that this change is coming we are planning to monitor how the wider industry implements this regulation and then provide further advice. We accept that the new regulations could be difficult to properly implement for many organisations depending on exactly how the Regulation is enforced. It is, however, likely that the Club will have to be aware of what food is being used to prepare meals and provide this information on the main menu or on separate listings. It is likely that we will see some mock up menus nearer the implementation date which will provide a better understanding of quite how this information should be displayed on menus.

We would be slightly surprised if this Regulation is going to be strictly enforced from the day of implementation and I think there will be a slight learning curve for the whole industry regarding how this information is provided to the customer. This is not to say that Clubs will not have to adhere to the Regulations, just that this is an area which is going to have to be dealt with by a great number of establishments and we may see a common consensus appear regarding how to deal with the labelling obligations. This is going to be an issue for many organisations.

Currently, this is a demonstration of ways the above information can be provided:

How can allergen information be provided by food providers?

Allergen information can be provided to customers in any of the following ways:

  •  On the menu under each item (contains gluten, milk, soya etc)
  •  On a chalkboard next to each item (contains gluten, milk, soya etc)
  •  Orally, although they need to hold allergen information in writing to back up any statements made
  •  If they do not supply allergen information on the menu or chalkboard, they have to  provide customers clear notices letting them know where the information can be found.

We suspect that many food providers will opt for the final approach with a separate menu which lists the offending allergens which can be provided to customers upon request.