Whistleblowing Policy

Purpose

The British Horseracing Authority (the “BHA”), in line with its values, is committed to the highest standards of integrity, credibility and accountability. This policy outlines the procedure by which any individual involved at any level of the sport of horseracing (including employees of the BHA) can report, or blow the whistle on, concerns relating to the running of the BHA or the actions or activities of employees or officials of the BHA (including directors and members of BHA or industry committees as listed on the BHA’s website from time to time).

Scope

Whistleblowing is a term commonly used to describe the act of reporting any actions or events within an organisation’s control involving danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing.

Examples of malpractice or wrongdoing include:

  • a criminal offence e.g. fraud;
  • misappropriation of funds;
  • failure to declare any potential or actual conflict of interest when required to do so by the Rules of Racing or BHA Operating Procedures for Officials e.g. officiating when a spouse or family member is riding in a race;
  • concerns relating to corrupt conduct by BHA officials or employees, sharing inside-information or race-fixing e.g. using information obtained through their role at BHA for personal gain/reward;
  • BHA employees failing to adhere to company standards/policies e.g. gifts & bribery, restrictions on betting (such as placing a lay bet on any horse);
  • BHA officials covering up wrong-doing, such as fabricating test results or supporting cheating (rule violation, anti-doping rule violation);
  • improper endangerment to human or equine participant welfare; or
  • bullying, harassment or discrimination of others.

The above list is non-exhaustive.

A whistleblower who is categorised as a BHA ‘worker’ may also be protected under English law. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 protects workers who report wrongdoing in defined circumstances within the workplace, for example criminal offences, breaches of legal obligations, dangers to health and safety, bribery or corruption and the deliberate covering up of matters that may show any of these issues.  It is also required that the disclosure must be in the interests of the public. For further information on this, please see www.gov.uk/whistleblowing.

Interaction with other policies

  • Safeguarding

If your concern relates to welfare, or harm or abuse of young people or adults at risk, reporting concerns to the BHA’s Lead Safeguarding Manager via safeguarding@britishhorseracing.com may be more appropriate.  Further details regarding the BHA’s safeguarding policy can be found at https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/safeguarding/.   If in any doubt, report your concerns either via the safeguarding procedure or this whistleblowing policy.

  • Employee grievances

Separately, if you are an employee of the BHA and you have a complaint or personal grievance relating to your position or personal circumstances, you should refer to the BHA’s Grievance Procedure, available via the HR Policy Area on Workplace.

  • Integrity of the sport

This whistleblowing policy covers concerns relating to the running of the BHA or the actions or activities of employees or officials of the BHA.  Unless the concerns also involve the BHA or its employees or officials, this policy does not cover other people or organisations involved in racing, notwithstanding that such entities or persons may be licensed or registered with the BHA, e.g. Jockeys, Trainers and Owners.  However, the BHA operates RaceWISE a reporting line, aimed at encouraging both members of the public and the racing industry to come forward with information about any wrong doing in the sport of horseracing, details can be found at https://www.britishhorseracing.com/RaceWISE/ and reports can be made online or via 0800 085 2580.

  • Modern Slavery

 Please note that the statutory obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 only apply in relation to the BHA with regard to the BHA’s own internal business and not the wider industry.  If you have concerns regarding modern slavery and/ or human trafficking in relation to the BHA these should be reported via this whistleblowing policy.  Similar concerns in relation to the wider industry should be reported via the RaceWISE reporting line outlined above.

Why report wrongdoing

The BHA encourages all individuals to raise concerns relating to wrongdoing.  This is important to:

  • ensure the problem does not get worse or widen;
  • ensure the matter is properly investigated;
  • protect others; and
  • maintain ethical standards and the integrity of the BHA and British horseracing.

Who can make a report

Any individual involved at any level of the sport of horseracing (including employees of the BHA) can make a whistleblowing report under this policy.

How to make a report

Should you wish to make a report under this Whistleblowing Policy, you may make a report to the BHA’s legal team through any of the following channels:

Via post to:  FAO Head of Legal, British Horseracing Authority, 75 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LS, marking the envelope ‘Private and Confidential’

Via email to:    whistleblowing@britishhorseracing.com.

Via telephone:   +44 (0) 20 7152 0167

Via online form: an online reporting form accessible at: https://britishhorseracing.wufoo.com/forms/whistleblowing-report-form/ .

All of the above channels are monitored by the BHA’s legal team.

In the event your complaint concerns any member(s) of the BHA’s legal team or you are otherwise uncomfortable reporting via the above channels, you may alternatively make a whistleblowing report to any of the following persons:

If you are an employee of the BHA:  to your Head of Department

For anybody making a report:          to the Chief Executive of the BHA, contactable via the BHA switchboard on 020 7152 0000, or by post via FAO Chief Executive, British Horseracing Authority, 75 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LS, marking the envelope ‘Private and Confidential’

Escalation procedure

If after reporting concerns in accordance with the above you feel that your concern has not been addressed or that the matter is so serious that you cannot discuss it with any of the above, you may escalate your report:

For anybody making a report:   to the Chief Executive of the BHA, contactable via the BHA switchboard on 020 7152 0000, or by post via FAO Chief Executive, British Horseracing Authority, 75 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LS, marking the envelope ‘Private and Confidential’

For anybody making a report:   to the Chairman of the Board of the BHA, contactable via the BHA switchboard on 020 7152 0000, or by post via FAO Chairman, British Horseracing Authority, 75 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LS, marking the envelope ‘Private and Confidential’

For anybody making a report:    to the Senior Independent Director of the Board of the BHA, contactable via the BHA switchboard on 020 7152 0000, or by post via FAO Senior Independent Director, British Horseracing Authority, 75 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6LS, marking the envelope ‘Private and Confidential’

Process after a report is made

The BHA is committed to investigating appropriately all reports made under this policy.

If you have provided your identity and contact information with any report, a member of the BHA’s legal team (or if you have chosen to report through a different channel, the relevant individual receiving the report) will contact you to confirm receipt of the report and outline the next steps that will be taken.

Usually, the person who receives such a report shall consider its details and then make a decision as to what investigatory team is required to investigate fully the wrongdoing reported (which may comprise an internal or external investigation). If a report contains allegations against a particular individual or team within the BHA, that person or group of individuals will not be a part of that investigation team or privy to any particular details of such an investigation (although it may be necessary to contact them and disclose certain details in order to investigate the alleged wrongdoing).

If the report is deemed to be covered more appropriately by the BHA’s Grievance Procedure or other policy, the person making the report will be informed and directed to the applicable policy.

Once the investigation is complete, any recommendations or remedies required shall be actioned where possible.  If any recommendation or action requires the approval of the BHA Board, this shall be requested and steps shall be taken following the Board’s decision.

Where possible, the BHA shall endeavor to keep you updated with ongoing decisions and investigations. If no contact information is provided and a report is made anonymously, it will not be possible for the BHA to contact or update you.  Additionally, in certain circumstances it may be possible to share only limited information regarding the outcome of the report with the whistleblower.

The BHA shall act upon any report as soon as reasonably possible. However, the timescale of any such investigation will be dependent on a broad range of factors which can be case specific, for example, how complex the investigation details are.  Notwithstanding this, the BHA will conduct any investigation within a reasonable time period.

Confidentiality

It is in the interests of the sport of horseracing and its stakeholders that individuals with genuine concerns are able to voice them within a confidential process that leads to effective results. This Whistleblowing Policy outlines the mechanism by which serious concerns can be lodged with the BHA and addressed appropriately.

The BHA will ensure that any person who makes a report in good faith will not be subjected to any detriment as a result.

Should a whistleblower request anonymity, such confidence shall be maintained by the BHA wherever possible. A whistleblower should indicate the need for anonymity as early as possible to avoid any unintended disclosure. However, it may not always be possible to guarantee confidentiality, such as where disclosure is required relating to child protection matters or investigations into crimes such as serious fraud.  Disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity may be required to external bodies, such as external investigators engaged by the BHA or law enforcement agencies. In these instances, only the minimum number of people required shall be included in any disclosure of identity of the person making the report and, unless prevented by applicable law, the BHA will discuss disclosure with the whistleblower first and be sensitive to any concerns they may have.

It should be noted that in cases where a complaint is made anonymously to the BHA, the investigation may be hindered and this may limit the efficacy of the process. Therefore the BHA encourages those who wish to make a complaint and ensure it has the maximum effect, to include their contact details with any complaint.

Should a whistleblower be subjected to any prejudice following a report of any wrongdoing, the whistleblower may report such an event in accordance with this policy. The BHA shall begin to investigate such a report promptly. For more information on what to do if you have been treated unfairly after whistleblowing, please go to www.gov.uk/whistleblowing.

 Records of whistleblowing reports and investigations will be kept in accordance with applicable law and the BHA’s Privacy Notices (available at https://www.britishhorseracing.com/about/data-protection/ or, in respect of BHA employees, the BHA worker privacy notice is available via Workplace).

Malicious reports

The BHA encourages those who have concerns to report wrongdoing and an individual should not feel that they need proof or evidence of wrongdoing before making a report.  A person making a report in good faith will not suffer detriment.

However, the BHA acknowledges that it is possible that individuals could make malicious or vexatious whistleblowing reports.  Where the BHA discovers upon investigation that a report is rooted in malicious personal intention or a report is knowingly dishonest, the BHA reserves the right to take further action, which may include:

  • investigating employees of the BHA (making malicious reports may constitute misconduct), which may result in disciplinary proceedings; and/or
  • investigating other parties to establish if there has been a breach of the Rules of Racing.

For the avoidance of doubt, no action will be taken against those who make reports in good faith, irrespective of whether the suspicions or allegations reported by the individual prove unfounded.

Unsatisfactory results

 Should any report not result in a satisfactory conclusion and allay any whistleblower’s fears of wrongdoing, a whistleblower may raise the matter to a different person than originally received the report through any of the methods outlined in the ‘HOW TO MAKE A REPORT’ section of this policy.

Review of this policy

The BHA shall conduct periodic and qualitative reviews of this Whistleblowing Policy from time to time. It shall evaluate the efficacy of the arrangements, and measure the levels of transparency and openness.