Welcome to the Alliance of British Clubs

Courtprice Limited – Specialist Insurance Brokers to the Alliance of British Clubs

The ABC’s endorsement of the Courtprice Club Protector Insurance Scheme for over 25 years is more than justified by their excellent service levels and the handling of insurance claims for their Club clients, and now for their vision of providing major benefits for the Club members themselves.

The coming launch of MyLife365 provides a diverse range of discounted gifts, holidays, hotels, travel arrangements, business, and home insurance products along with much more. It will enhance the relationship between Clubs and their members.

Courtprice will be ahead of the competition in rewarding Clubs for their loyalty at a time when many Club Secretaries report that they are being consistently harassed by insurance salespeople.

No longer is it a cheap premium that sells insurance to our Clubs. The whole range of services and benefits available must be considered by the Clubs in the future when purchasing their insurance needs.

Courtprice Managing Director, Ron Berry, announced the Spring 2020 arrival of MyLife365 with much satisfaction adding that over 20 months work had gone into the creation of this rewards package.

The content had been researched from the members of several Clubs and the list of contributing firms to the website was increasing weekly. Mr Berry stated that this is just the start and that they will be working with and consulting their present club clients in designing future benefits. Marks and Spencer, Carphone Warehouse and Brittany Ferries are just a few of the high profile firms that have signed up to the platform to date.

It is all very exciting and any Club that wants these benefits needs to look at insuring on the Club Protector Scheme.

Should any Alliance of British Clubs member Club wish to take advantage of these benefits then they should contact Julian Goodman, Development Director, Courtprice Limited either by email at: julian@courtprice.co.uk or by telephoning 0121 447 7555 or any of the supporting team members that look after the Alliance of British Clubs connection.

ABC Legal Advisor

Peter Adkins, the Legal Adviser to the Alliance of British Clubs is a Solicitor who specialises in advising Clubs on Club Law generally. He is also a Legal 500 recognised expert in Licensing Law.

I am writing this article with a heavy heart as, after many years of assisting the Alliance members and running the legal helpline this will be my last contribution to the Journal. I have acted for the Alliance members for many years, and the ABC has followed me on at least 2 occasions when I have moved legal firms. Recently though, with my own retirement pending, the practice of Emms Gilmore Liberson has been taken over by Knights plc and seems to be an appropriate time for me to stop running the legal helpline.

Knights is a legal service business with 9 offices and over 750 staff spread throughout the country and as such gives more geographic coverage for members and I would still encourage members to contact us if there are problems we can help with. I am happy to be the main point of contact. I am always happy to chat through problems with Clubs and to assist on licensing issues but my ability to provide this help for free is now sadly limited.

The Alliance is an excellent grouping providing support and assistance to member clubs throughout the country and I wish it every success in the future. The Committee of the ABC works tirelessly for the membership and is a deep reservoir of knowledge which Clubs should not ignore.
On a more positive note I am assuming that life in the world of Social Clubs must be getting easier from a legal standpoint as my postbag has been noticeably emptier over recent months!

I have looked at the Queens Speech, which was presented as I write this article, and there are some articles which may assist. Whilst many Clubs now enjoy free Business Rates I see there is a further pledge to cur business rates for pubs and restaurants.

The forthcoming Brexit also raises issues of rights to work. Clubs should consider the details closely when the final documents are released and be careful to ensure that any employees have the right to work following Brexit.

On this point it is now a condition on Licences that all employees have the right to work and failure to comply with this will almost certainly lead to a review and revocation of your Licence. A club without an alcohol licence is not an attractive proposition for members.

Otherwise it seems little changes. I am still regularly asked about constitutional issues, particularly disciplinary issues for members. Here I would stress that before any action is taken Officers and Committee members consider the wording of the Club rules very carefully and ensure that they are adhering to these. Simply following the correct procedures from the start can save much grief and problems. In my experience, if a Club has problems you will find dozens of members professing to have a better understanding of the Rules than the committee, and they are usually wrong!

The mantra of always following correct procedures, also applies to employment issues. New committee members and secretaries should beware. Very often possible problems can be headed off simply by taking a step back and thinking before acting. If in doubt then contacting an employment lawyer can save the Club many thousands of pounds and hours and hours of grief and unnecessary committee meetings.

Rule changes are often proposed by new committee members. Be careful of instituting changes to Rules to deal with short term problems. Generally most Clubs rules have stood the test of time pretty well. If you do want to institute rule changes then always consider the Rule Book as a whole and not as a series of isolated Rules. Very often I have seen rule changes which have resulted in contradictory rules being brought into existence.

Many Clubs do find it difficult to form full committees. Rules will normally prescribe the number of members of the Committee and it is often difficult to fill these at an AGM. There is no magic wand to wave here, it is better always if you think there will be difficulties to talk to possible members and see why they are reluctant to take up the role. It may be that they consider it too onerous or time consuming. Try to reassure them and perhaps suggest they come along to a meeting before the election to see what happens. Keeping the formality out of meetings and making them a more social event and allowing them to speak openly without fear of recrimination very often helps here.

No-one likes to be in a position where they have to make a claim on their insurance. It generally means something has gone very wrong! This is though an area where often we find problems arising due to insufficient cover and some very disappointed and worried committees. I would make a plea for Clubs to look carefully at their insurance cover and not simply save a few pounds by going for the cheapest option. The ABC has excellent insurance advisers and they will help guide you on this. Remember that, in some circumstances, officers and trustees who do not take a sufficient degree of care could face personal liability for losses. You may find it strange for me to say this, but ticking the box on the proposal form to take out legal expenses cover is often a good investment.

I would close by encouraging Clubs to make use of those businesses who have supported the Alliance over the years. These businesses understand the needs of clubs and their business models far better than many other suppliers who simply see Clubs as another business out of which they can make money. The supporters of ABC have given many many hours of free help to the ABC, held seminars and guided members in difficulties, often for no reward. They deserve your support as they have supported you.

Thank you for your support over the years, it has been a pleasure working with the ABC, its committee and members. I wish it every success going forward.

For more information on any of the above – or any Club matters or problems please contact:

Peter Adkins
Director Regulatory Services

Knights plc

Lancaster House
67 Newhall Street
B3 1NQ

E-mail: Peter.Adkins@knightsplc.com
Direct Dial: 0121 262 6437
Mobile: 0771 945 2090
Main: 0121 314 0000

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – April 2020

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law.

The government's National Living Wage (NLW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers aged 25 and over are entitled to by law. The rate therefore, will depend on a worker's age and if they are an apprentice. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) can take employers to court for not paying the NMW/NLW.

The current rates from April 1st 2019 are:
· £8.21 per hour - 25 yrs old and over
· £7.70 per hour - 21-24 yrs old
· £6.15 per hour - 18-20 yrs old
· £4.35 per hour - 16-17 yrs old
· £3.90 per hour - Apprentice

The new rates from 1 April 2020 will be:
· £8.72 per hour - 25 yrs old and over
· £8.20 per hour - 21-24 yrs old
· £6.45 per hour - 18-20 yrs old
· £4.55 per hour - 16-17 yrs old
· £ 4.15 per hour - Apprentice

It is against the law for employers to pay workers less than the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, or to falsify payment records. If an employer doesn't pay the correct rate, a worker should talk to their employer and try to resolve the issue informally first. If this doesn't work a worker may make a formal grievance to their employer.

A worker can make a complaint to HMRC who will investigate the complaint. If HMRC find that an employer hasn't paid at least the National Minimum Wage, they can send a notice of arrears plus a penalty for not paying the correct rate of pay to the worker.

The government's National Living Wage is different from the Living Wage, which is an hourly rate of pay and updated annually. The Living Wage is set independently by the Living Wage Foundation and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. Employers may choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis.

Further details may be found on the website of ACAS, at http://www.acas.org.uk

VE Day Pub Hours Extension & Change of Date for May Bank Holiday

The Home Secretary has today announced plans to extend pub licensing hours across England and Wales to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Under the proposals, pubs, clubs and bars which are licensed to trade until 11pm could be allowed to open until 1am on both Friday 8 May and Saturday 9 May 2020.

The news follows the government’s decision to move the early May bank holiday in 2020 from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to make the 75th anniversary of VE Day a public holiday.

The occasion will see celebrations and community events across the country to remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied Armed Forces personnel and all those citizens who contributed to the war effort and safeguarded the home front.

Government plans for VE Day 75, which will be announced in due course, will look to evoke the spirit and significance of this year’s D-Day 75 tributes which saw large-scale events with veterans at the heart of commemoration
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

VE Day is a landmark day in our history. Extending licensing hours will pave the way for commemorative events across the UK, so we can pay tribute to the courage and determination of the millions who fought for our freedom or supported the war effort at home.

The extension of pub opening hours will be subject to a short consultation with partners including the police, licensing authorities, industry, community groups and veterans organisations.

Past national occasions where the government has extended licensing hours have included the Royal Wedding in 2018, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the 2014 World Cup, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the Royal Wedding in 2011.