Plans for the AA to operate VisitEngland's quality assessment and star rating scheme have been thrown in doubt after the two parties failed to reach agreement by 1 April.
VisitEngland's National Quality Assessment Scheme was previously operated under licence by Quality in Tourism, a subsidiary of the security company G4S. The contract ran out on 31 March and the AA was due to take over the scheme on 1 April after being granted a three-year contract following a tender process.
However, VisitEngland and the AA have failed to reach agreement on the details of the contract. Negotiations are on-going to resolve the issue.
In the meantime, VisitEngland staff who were due to transfer to the AA under TUPE legislation on 1 April have been told that their employment has now been transferred to the British Tourist Authority (BTA), the parent company of VisitEngland.
In a letter signed by Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, membership services director, VisitEngland staff were told: "Those employees who were previously at risk will remain at risk. BTA will be in touch separately to communicate further with you on their plans".
Welcome sessions planned by the AA for the new employees today and yesterday have been postponed, with VisitEngland staff being told to stay at home.
The AA and VisitEngland both confirmed that it "was not possible to conclude the contract with the AA for the licensing of the VE accreditation scheme before 1 April".
Helen Brocklehurst, head of publishing and digital at the AA, said: "That means that the management of the schemes has reverted to VisitEngland. The AA is still working closely with VisitEngland on the detail of the contract and we need some time to conclude."
A VisitEngland spokesperson added: "We are into the detail of the contract and need some time to conclude and for lawyers to review. We are in touch with all the affected staff and hope to resolve this in the next couple of weeks.
Andrew Oxley, former general manager of the four-AA-star, 100-bedroom Down Hall Country House hotel, in Hatfield Heath, Hertfordshire, arrived at the AA yesterday as the association's new head of hotel services.
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