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Beware of opportunist thieves

A number of clubs have recently experienced problems where the alarm contacts, usually on their external doors, are tampered with. When the Club then sets the alarm at the close of business it does not set properly. The thieves then return later and break into the premises in the knowledge that the external bells will not sound and the central monitoring stations will not be notified. Your insurance policy will normally contain an Alarm Warranty and without an adequately set alarm any theft claim is unlikely to be paid.

On more modern systems the alarm key panel may provide a message to indicate that the alarm hasn’t set properly. On older alarms however it might simply be a different alarm tone, or the fact that the alarm tone doesn’t stop after the given time scale that should highlight to you that there is a problem. It is vitally important that a Club’s staff and relevant Committee Members fully understand how the Club’s alarm operates and what the different codes and tones might mean. If you are in any doubt then the premises must not be left unattended until the problem has been fixed. If you cannot hear the alarm tone from outside the premises when you lock up then you may want to consider having the alarm panel moved to a better location.

Your alarm code should be reviewed regularly to ensure that only the currently relevant people know it. If you have employed a new steward for example or parted company with an employee on bad terms then you should ensure that the code is changed.

Club Insure have assisted with this advice and can be contacted on 0844 488 9204

The Living Wage and Minimum Wage 1st October Increases

In the July 2015 Budget the Chancellor introduced a compulsory living wage to assist the lowest paid employees; it will be paid to workers aged 25 and above and initially it will be set at £7.20 an hour with a target of £9 an hour by 2020. Part-time and fulltime workers will be eligible for the living wage rate.

Clubs should plan for the introduction of the living wage in the coming years; the current main minimum wage rate is £6.50 per hour so the eventual living wage represents an increase of 38.5%. If bar staff and cleaners obtain rises, supervisors and the steward may also expect corresponding increases. In addition Clubs should also factor in pension auto enrollment where a Club has to contribute 1% when their staging date occurs, then increasing to 3% of banded earnings by September 2018. Thus in total Clubs are potentially looking at increases in staff wages of up to 43% by 2020.

The living wage starts in 7 months, April 2016 at £7.20 an hour. If changes are not made in employment practices Clubs are looking at an increase of some 30p per pint in bar prices by 2020. If a pint sells for £3 then £1 of this income may be required to pay for bar staff wages.

Committees should plan ahead to cope with this increase, examples, of initiatives being considered are:

• Already many Clubs are replacing residential Stewards with Bar Managers without accommodation.
• Former Steward’s accommodation is being rented out to provide an additional income to the Club.
• As a result of the living wage, Students and people under 25 will be a lot more cost effective to employ as only the minimum wage legislation will apply
• Bar hours will have to be reviewed to ensure appropriate staffing at the appropriate times.
• Discussion should be held with brewery suppliers to make them aware of the impact these changes will have on the Club and further discounts with the brewery explored.

The current National Minimum Wage (NMW) will run alongside the living wage, there are different levels of NMW, depending on age and whether you are an apprentice. The current main rates are:

• aged 21 and over - £6.50 (£6.70)
• 18-20 £5.13 (5.30)

The figures in brackets are the new rates applicable from 1 October 2015. Workers must be of school leaving age (last Friday in June of the school year they turn 16) or over to get the minimum wage.

R H Jeffs and Rowe contributed to this article. Clubs in Wales can utilise their Chartered Accountancy experience by contacting them on 01443 402116.

Sky October and November Barclays Premier League Fixtures

Chelsea v Southampton, Sat 3 Oct, 5.30pm
Everton v Liverpool, Sun 4 Oct, 1.30pm
Arsenal v Manchester United, Sun 4 Oct, 4pm
Watford v Arsenal, Sat 17 Oct, 5.30pm
Newcastle United v Norwich City, Sun 18 Oct, 4pm
Swansea City v Stoke City, Mon 19 Oct, 8pm
Arsenal v Everton, Sat 24 Oct, 5.30pm
Sunderland v Newcastle United, Sun 25 Oct, 12noon
Manchester United v Manchester City, Sun 25 Oct, 2.05pm
Liverpool v Southampton, Sun 25 Oct, 4.15pm

Everton v Sunderland, Sun 1 Nov, 1.30pm
Southampton v Bournemouth, Sun 1 Nov, 4pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa, Mon 2 Nov, 8pm
Stoke City v Chelsea, Sat 7 Nov, 5.30pm
Aston Villa v Manchester City, Sun 8 Nov, 1.30pm
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Sun 8 Nov, 4pm
Manchester City v Liverpool, Sat 21 Nov, 5.30pm
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, Sun 22 Nov, 4pm
Crystal Palace v Sunderland, Mon 23 Nov, 8pm
Leicester City v Manchester United, Sat 28 Nov, 5.30pm
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion, Sun 29 Nov, 2.05pm
Norwich City v Arsenal, Sun 29 Nov, 4.15pm

Questions and Answers

We have read recently that there is new legislation affecting the sale of cigarettes and cigars. I understand that we can continue to sell these products but that they can no longer be visible behind the bar. Is this correct?

A We can confirm that in order to comply with new legislation, cigarettes and cigars will no longer be able to be on public show behind the bar. You can still list the products which are available and their prices, but they will have to be kept out of sight.

The present Treasurer wishes to step down with immediate effect but would like to continue as a Committee Member. We would like to offer the post of Treasurer to the Member who came second at the last election ballot who is currently serving as a Committee Member. Can these Members effectively ‘swap’ positions?

A I can confirm that a resignation of the Treasurer has caused a “casual vacancy”. This vacancy can be filled by the Committee who have the authority to appoint any member of the Club to take on the role and office of Treasurer.

If, therefore, the Committee wish to appoint the member of the Committee (who coincidentally came second in the election for the position of Treasurer), then they are able to do this by a Committee vote and without further reference to the Club’s Members.

The place left on the Committee caused by this casual vacancy appointment (since the present Committee Member cannot occupy both a Committee position and the position of Treasurer) will create a further casual vacancy which can then be filled by the resigning Treasurer should this be agreeable to the Committee.

I trust this email is of assistance and explains why the proposed “swap” would be acceptable under the Rules by using the authority which is vested in the Committee.

Q We had an issue with a group of Members who refuse to leave the Club until they have finished their drinks. This resulted on the employee on duty needing to stay longer than their employed finishing time in order to close the bar and lock the Club up. Could the bar employee have asked the Members to leave?

A I suggest that the Committee ensures that the Club’s closing times are clearly publicised and that it is also clear when last orders will be taken. This means that all Members will be aware of what time they will have to leave the Club when they order their final drinks. Typically 20-30 minutes are permitted by a licensed establishment to allow last drinks to be consumed.

Should any Member or guest refuse to leave the Club after the
Club has closed I simply suggest that the police are called to remove them. This is obviously unfortunate but a Club employee should not attempt to physically remove a Member or guest unless absolutely necessary.

If a Member behaved in a way which meant that the Police were required to attend to the Club to remove them, the Committee would be able to convene a disciplinary hearing to discuss the incident. As a result of the disciplinary procedure, the Member could find themselves suspended or expelled from the Club.

Q A neighbouring ACC Club has recently entered into a sale and leaseback arrangement with the ACC and are pleased with the outcome. Is this a service which is offered to all ACC Clubs?

A I can confirm that the ACC operates a sale and leaseback service which has proved popular with over 50 Clubs. We accept that whilst there are some Clubs that would benefit greatly from the scheme, in other cases it would not be the correct solution for a Club’s particular situation. In most cases Clubs require assistance by way of a low interest loan from the ACC and such straight forward help will be more appropriate than a sale and leaseback. All ACC Clubs are, however, welcome to approach us regarding the sale and leaseback service.

Any Club wishing to know more information about the sale and leaseback service can email or phone 0207 222 0843.

We have recently considered if there would be a benefit for the Club by applying for a Premises Licence which would replace the Club’s Club Premises Certificate (CPC). Do you have a view on whether such licences are appropriate for Clubs?

A As a general rule, I would not recommend this course of action. Clubs which wish to operate a commercial venture in respect of providing facilities for the public would need to hold these two separate forms of licensable activity. A Club would become divided between activities run for members and commercial activities run for non-members. Not only will this create difficulty with accounting, since income derived from outside the membership is subject to Corporation Tax, but the possession of a Personal Licence involves a great deal more regulation and red tape than the operation of a CPC.

Whilst some Clubs do operate under a Premises Licence, there are several reasons why a Club may not wish to obtain such a licence. Notably, by having a Premises Licence, the Club will require a designated premises supervisor (DPS) who also holds a personal alcohol licence. The person chosen to be the DPS must be contactable at all times and if the police or local government have any questions or concerns about the business, they will expect to be able to reach the designated supervisor. A Club operating under a CPC does not need to have a DPS and does not need any member of staff to hold a personal alcohol licence. Obtaining a personal alcohol licence will incur a fee and the licence will need to be periodically renewed.

The Club will also not be able to install specific types of gaming machines such as the popular B3A and will have to pay corporation tax on revenue received from non-members. Additionally, Members of the public will have an opportunity to object to any request by the Club to be used with a Premises Licence. It is therefore reasonable to say that there are increased costs by having a Premises Licence.

A Club Premises Certificate allows you to serve alcohol to Members and their guests which comprise the largest number of patrons that any Club has, regardless of the licence held by the Club. If the Committee is considering a Premises Licence I think a fair question to ask is how many additional people will come into the Club should such a licence be obtained. What Clubs typically find is that if people did not wish to enter the Club as a guest of a Member then it is unlikely they will enter the Club on their own as a member of the public. This does slightly depend on the characteristics of the Club and the facilities provided by the Club.

Committees often see a Premises Licence as a silver bullet which will instantly make the Club a popular destination for people to visit. In reality it is fair to say that most Club’s Membership fees are not highly priced and that if there was a genuinely wish by a section of people who to use the Club’s facilities that they would have already become Members. Clubs which typically obtain Premises Licences are ones which hold a large number of private events each year, far more than the 12 allowed via TENS, and for whom being able to hire out parts of the Club privately is a good source of revenue. I suggest that the Committee examines whether the Club falls into this category regarding events.

ACC Reminders:

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 and the software can be purchased from

All new purchasers will be charged £55 and existing users can upgrade for £30.

Information Packs and Legal Documentation available from the ACC Free of Charge

ACC Room Hire Agreement 
Following requests from Clubs, the ACC has produced a standard room hire agreement which is suitable for use by Clubs. The agreement is available from the ACC at no cost. The room hire agreement is ready to be completed at the time a booking and includes space for a deposit to be taken to secure the room is applicable. We hope that this document will be of assistance to Clubs. The ACC Room Hire Agreement can be provided electronically or as a hard copy. To receive an electronic copy please email To receive a hard copy please contact 0207 222 0868.

ACC Catering Franchise Pack 
The ACC provides at no cost a Catering Franchise Pack. This Contract pack can be used by Clubs which have a franchisee who uses the Club’s facilities to prepare and serve food within the Club. The Franchisee Contract permits the Committee to decide if the franchisee shall pay a set fee per month to the Club for use of the Club’s facilities, shall pay to the Club a percentage of the profits from the sale of food or that a combination of both methods of remuneration shall be utilised. The Catering Franchise Contract Pack can be provided electronically or as a hard copy. To receive an electronic copy please email To receive a hard copy please contact 0207 222 0868.

Health and Safety and Risk Assessment Documentation 
The ACC has extensive documentation to assist a Club in creating a Health and Safety policy and conducting regular risk assessments. This documentation is available free of charge. Examples include template health and safety documentation, risk assessment forms and practical advice on completing a Club risk assessment and first aid information. The documentation can be sent electronically by emailing

Employment Advice
The ACC can assist Clubs with employment problems and we have a wide range of pre-written material which can be sent to Clubs which encounter problems in addition to the personalised advice and assistance offered to all ACC Clubs which have questions or problems with employees. Please contact or phone 0207 222 0843 if you have an employment problem or question.

Membership Recruitment

One of the key components to a Club’s successful and long term future lies in the ability to recruit new members. In most Clubs, whatever facilities are available, only one third of the total membership uses the Club regularly and its hard core is less than this. The aim, therefore, is to increase the total membership in order to increase the proportion which makes up one third.

Membership recruitment is a matter which should be discussed regularly by committees. Without a continuous program of membership recruitment, a Club will eventually weaken. Club committees often place the onus of responsibility for recruiting new members on themselves, rather than correctly placing it on the membership. It is the members who must propose and second new members, not just the committee.

It does seem that people are often encouraged to become involved in membership recruitment if there is some form of reward involved. One of the most successful recruitment schemes is known as the ‘bounty system,’ whereby a member who introduces a new member receives some form of payment, usually by way of a bar voucher. For example, if a Club’s membership subscription is £10, the payment of a £10 bar voucher to the introductory member (which will actually only cost the club the value of the stock, rather than the whole £10) has in many cases created a great deal of interest. Additionally, if the Club gives the new Member another bar voucher for £10 then they will be encouraged to ensure they visit the Club at least once to use their bar voucher. For most Clubs the actual cost of providing £20 of bar vouchers will be close to the £10 subscription fee which has been paid so the exercise is cost neutral and will hopefully result in a new regular Club member.

A further method, which has often proved successful, is the announcement that the Club intends to close the membership book. You would be surprised how many people will suddenly wish to become members of a Club if they think the Club will be difficult to join. I suspect that human nature dictates that most of us wish to belong to something which has an element of exclusivity.

Experience has also shown that many Clubs will recruit new members and will lose them at the following year’s renewal time. I believe one of the reasons for this is that new members are not always made as welcome as they should be. All Clubs, by their very nature, tend to have established groups and sections and these can seem daunting to a new person using the Club for the first time. Three or four new members’ evenings should be organised during the course of the year to which all members who have joined during the previous period are invited. These social occasions are a great
way to help ‘break the ice’ and forge friendships with existing members.