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Rules & Regulations

Pink Booklet - 'Accommodation Know-How'

Don't lie awake at night!
Complying with legislation needn't be a nightmare with 'Accommodation Know-How', VisitBritain's online service for accommodation providers.

They've taken the trusted Pink Booklet, updated it, and put it online to make it even easier for you to use.
What's special about the online service?

The online subscription gives you complete peace of mind so that you know you comply:

Access 24-7 to up-to-date information, whenever you need help
Regular updates whenever legislation changes
E-mail alerts informing you of updates to legislation and other areas of the site
Informative news and features

FREE subscription to Accommodation Know-How will be provided FREE to all accommodation businesses (with online access) that are participants in the VisitBritain Quality in Tourism (QIT) assessment scheme.
This is in recognition of VB's continued commitment to raising the level of knowledge and quality in tourism accommodation in England and in response to requests from QiT participants to include the Accommodation Know-How online service as a scheme benefit.
This is an important benefit to accommodation providers, as it gives you complete reassurance that you are complying with the law.

Keeps you up-to-date with any important changes (via the e-alerts)
Reduces the risk of penalties for non-compliance or insurance claims
Can improve the efficiency of your business
Reduces stress and saves valuable time and money in looking for information
Can increase bookings
Can offer an improved visitor experience to guests

Data Protection Act 1998
The basics
The Data Protection Act requires anyone who handles personal information to comply with a number of important principles. It also gives individuals rights over their personal information.

Your rights
Individuals have a wide range of rights under the Data Protection Act, including access, compensation and the prevention of processing.

Your legal obligations
If you handle personal information, you have a number of important legal obligations.

The ICO produces detailed guidance which provides organisations and individuals with all the information they need to know about the Data Protection Act.

The ICO has legal powers to ensure that organisations comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. It is important to note that these powers are focused on ensuring that organisations meet the obligations of the Act.

Notification under the Data Protection Act 1998
Unless you're exempt, the Data Protection Act requires all data controllers who process personal information to notify with the ICO.

For further information go to Information Commissioners Office.

Equality Act 2010
Ban on age discrimination in the provision of services, public functions and associations
A guide for holiday providers, hotels and those letting holiday properties (July 2012)

Government Equalities Office - Equality Act 2010

Digital Economy Bill
Online Infringement of Copyright:
Libraries, Universities and Wi-Fi Providers February 2010

Wi-fi networks
There is an increasing variety of wi-fi networks offering internet access. These range from small premise-restricted networks in coffee shops or pubs, hotels and conference centres to open access networks covering urban areas or holiday parks. The connections offered reflect this variety from the limited bandwidth and capacity of a coffee shop up to high speed connections in business hotels. They are either available at no charge – provided by the local authority or as part of a wider commercial package, eg included in the cost of refreshments or hotel accommodation. Some are commercial products seeking to compete with the fixed and mobile networks.

Depending on the type of service and the nature of their relationship with their consumers, a wi-fi provider may be an ISP or a subscriber. In some circumstances they might be regarded as a communications provider (if so they would need to comply with the General Conditions set out under the Communications Act 2003).

The type of free or “coffee shop” access is a basic bandwidth service which offers users access to e-mail and web browsing. It is seems unlikely that the type of free broadband service currently available would be sufficient to support any file-sharing or could be used for significant copyright infringement. Under our proposals such a service is more likely to receive notification letters as a subscriber than as an ISP. As before there are measures that can be taken to reduce the possibility of infringement with any cases on appeal being considered on their merits.

In contrast, the broadband rates one might expect of a commercially offered wi-fi service in competition with the fixed and mobile providers would almost certainly be sufficient to support file-sharing. If in scope, the wi-fi provider would have to comply with the initial obligations, as would any other ISP.

Hotels, holiday parks and conference centres will in many cases offer a level of service where infringement could become a significant problem. Business users will want a high speed bandwidth connection and wireless internet access is becoming a default requirement for holiday parks and the like. Each establishment would need to examine their position and decide whether they were a subscriber, ISP or indeed communications provider in terms of the Bill, although it appears unlikely that few other than possibly the large hotel chains or conference centres might be ISPs. Again, advice should be made available which is relevant and proportionate to the establishment.

Digital Economy Bill

Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) have been introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
If you are buying or selling a home you now need a certificate by law. From October 2008 EPCs will be required whenever a building is built, sold or rented out. The certificate provides 'A' to 'G' ratings for the building, with 'A' being the most energy efficient and 'G' being the least, with the average up to now being 'D'.
Accredited energy assessors produce EPCs alongside an associated report which suggests improvements to make a building more energy efficient.

Energy Performance Certificates for Dorset.
Discrimination Act
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been established to promote equality and to tackle and eliminate discrimination in relation to gender, gender reassignment, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, age or race, and to promote human rights.

The EHRC has taken on the work of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), aiming to build on the achievements and advances of the previous individual commissions.

The commission covers England, Scotland and Wales and has statutory committees in Scotland and Wales, which carry out its work.

For help and advice, call the EHRC helpline.
Tel:0845 604 6610

New Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 comes into effect on October 1st 2010 replacing all the existing anti-discrimination laws with a single Act. Tourism businesses should familiarise themselves with their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. For example, the requirements to make 'reasonable adjustments' have been strengthened in the new Act, therefore service providers must think ahead and take steps to address barriers that impede disabled people before October 1st.

The advertisement control system covers a very wide range of advertisements and signs including:
Posters and notices
Placards and boards
Fascia signs and projecting signs
Pole signs and canopy signs
Models and devices
Advance signs and directional signs
Estate agents' boards
Captive balloon advertising (not balloons in flight)
Flag advertisements
Price markers and price displays

If the Council refuse consent for your advertisement, or require you to remove an existing advertisement, you do have a right to appeal.

The advertisement control system is legislated by the Secretary of State, which is part of the planning control system. The present rule is the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007 which has been in force since 6 April 2007.

Planning for Dorset

Business Rates
National Non-Domestic Rates or Business Rates
National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), also known as Business Rates, is the Government's tax on business premises.

Local Authorities collect Business Rates on behalf of the Government. All the money collected nationally is put into one big pot (the Central Pool) and is redistributed by the Government to Local Authorities in the form of grants and one off payments.

For further information on business rates in Dorset.

Smoking Legislation
On July 1st 2007, England introduced a new law to make virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England smokefree. A smokefree England ensures a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from secondhand smoke.

What do I do checklist
Employers, managers and those in charge of smokefree premises and vehicles will need to:

display 'no-smoking' signs in smokefree premises and vehicles
take reasonable steps to ensure that staff, customers/members and visitors are aware that premises and vehicles are legally required to be smokefree
remove any existing indoor smoking rooms
ensure that no one smokes in smokefree premises or vehicles
You may also want to take these supportive measures:

develop a smokefree policy in consultation with staff
offer staff training to help them understand the new law and what their responsibilities are
provide your staff and customers with support to quit smoking
The Government has produced an official guide which explains everything you need to know about the new law and what you need to do to comply with it. Additional guidance leaflets are also available for both businesses and individuals, along with supporting materials.

Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004
The Adventure Activities Licensing Scheme is a Government sponsored scheme, which was introduced in 1996 under the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations.

The scheme ensures that those who provide certain adventure activities to young people under the age of 18 years, will have their safety management systems inspected. Where appropriate, a licence is then issued.
On 1st April 2007, and as a result of widespread government regulatory reorganisation, the responsibility for implementing the regulations was transferred to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The organisation that carries out inspections and issues licences on the HSE's behalf is the Adventure Activities Licensing Service.
For more information on this aspect of the Adventure Activities Licensing Scheme

Tel: 029 2075 5715

Pricing and Charging
Does this apply to me?
Almost certainly yes - as the relevant law (the Consumer Protection Act 1987) covers all statements of price whether in an advertisement, a brochure, a leaflet or on the web, or those given by letter or orally in person or over the telephone, it will normally apply to all accommodation providers.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 covers all statements of price and affects any accommodation business.

If you wish to charge a lower price to those paying by cash rather than by credit card, the Price Indications (Method of Payment) Regulations 1991 apply.

Prices must include VAT.

For more information please contact the Local Trading Standards Office.

Accepting Guests
Your rights with regard to accepting guests depend on whether you are classed as a 'hotel' or a 'private hotel'.

A hotel can refuse guests who appear unable or unwilling to pay or who are not in a fit state to be received.

A private hotel is free to pick and choose its guests even when rooms are available, provided that in exercising this right there is no discrimination as per the terms of the law.

Register of Guests
All serviced and self-catering accommodation premises must keep a record of all guests over the age of 16. The record should include full name and nationality.

If you hold any personal information on guests or any other individuals, including employees (other than on odd scraps of paper), the Data Protection Act applies.

You must keep each guest's details for at least 12 months.

Booking Contracts
Once you have accepted a booking from a guest, you normally have to honour the booking.

All accommodation providers should abide by good practice with regard to booking procedures.

Cancellation Arrangements
All accommodation providers are strongly recommended to have a cancellation procedure, in order to avoid any problems with cancellation, curtailment and no-shows.

If a guest cancels a booking or checks out early, they are in breach of the booking contract they have with you.

If you have to cancel a booking that you have already accepted, you are in breach of contract.

Making False Statements - Trades Descriptions Act 1968
Does this apply to me?

Yes - if you are either:

advertising your accommodation facilities in a brochure or any other form of advertising material (including the web), or
making statements about your facilities to the public.
For more information please contact the local Trading Standards Office.

National Minimum Wage
This applies to nearly all workers and sets hourly rates below which pay must not be allowed to fall. It is an important cornerstone of Government strategy aimed at providing employees with decent minimum standards and fairness in the workplace.

It helps business by ensuring companies will be able to compete on the basis of quality of the goods and services they provide and not on low prices based predominantly on low rates of pay.

For more information contact HM Revenue and Customs

Gas and Electrical Safety
Electrical Safety
Each year about 30 people die from electricity at work.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 give you a duty of care to ensure that the electrical equipment and installations that your staff or customers use are safe.

Safe means with no, or very minimal risk, of death or injury from using electrical equipment.

Your obligations as a business - under the regulations, and
also under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, you are obliged to ensure that your electrical equipment is safe for staff and customers (particularly relevant for accommodation providers of all types, especially self catering providers).

Unlike for gas appliances, the law does not require you to regularly test and inspect electrical equipment, either yourself or by a qualified engineer (electrician). But it does require you to ensure that equipment is safe.

Contact the Health and Safety Executive for more information.

Gas Safety
The Gas Safety Register is now the only gas registration scheme approved by regulator HSE, having replaced the CORGI scheme on 1st April 2009.

Relating to gas safety your first point of contact should be HSE's Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363.

They will be able to direct your question to the most appropriate source of expertise from within the HSE.

Contact the Health and Safety Executive for more information