Anonymous text service launched to keep racing fair and clean

18 Dec 2017 BHA Features Integrity
  • New text service for reporting integrity concerns anonymously to run alongside RaceStraight phone line
  • Investigation Charter also launched to offer greater transparency and certainty to individuals involved in an investigation or facing charges
  • Briefing on project to protect participants from falling foul of the rules will be given at  industry roadshows in early 2018

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced a range of services designed to give clearer guidance to participants involved in an investigation and allow them to report any concerns they have anonymously.

The first is a new text service for those who wish to anonymously report concerns around keeping racing fair and clean, which will run alongside the BHA’s RaceStraight phone line and online portal.

An “Investigation Charter” and guidance note is also now in use for those involved in an investigation, in order to provide clearer guidance as to what to expect during the course of disciplinary proceedings. This was a recommendation of the 2016 Integrity Review and subsequent review by Christopher Quinlan QC in the same year.

Finally, the BHA’s senior regulators will give a series of briefings at industry roadshows in 2018. This will form part of a larger project in which the BHA will seek to help participants to better understand the rules in order to reduce inadvertent or accidental breaches.

Brant Dunshea, Director of Integrity and Regulatory Operations at the BHA, said:

“It’s important that as the regulator we continue to develop how we work to ensure we are as professional, fair and transparent as possible and that those on the other side of disciplinary action have clear guidance on what to expect.

“The measures announced today will see us set an industry leading standard in sport and shows we are determined to adopt the highest standards when it comes to how we investigate and enforce the rules of racing.”

New text service to run alongside RaceStraight

The service, which will initially run for one year and be managed by Priority SMS, will be available as an additional alternative to the RaceStraight phone line and online service.
Launched in 2007, RaceStraight is the BHA’s anonymous intelligence reporting line, which also has an online portal where participants, stakeholders and the public can report any integrity concerns anonymously.

The new SMS service has been launched to be a more convenient method of reporting integrity concerns for those who would prefer not to have conversations via phone.

As with RaceStraight, any information will go to the BHA’s integrity team, and will be used to develop new lines of enquiry and support ongoing integrity investigations. The data of those using both services will remain anonymous, and a financial reward may be provided if information given via the phone line results in a disciplinary process.

Investigation charter and guidance note

This document provides guidance for participants as to what to expect throughout the progression of an investigation.

This includes any initial contact through potential interviews to the stage where it may be passed on to the BHA’s compliance or licensing teams.

As a result, participants will be provided with instructions and information as to what is expected of them and the BHA staff who they will come into contact with, as well as setting out guidelines regarding the possible length of investigations and the regularity of updates they will receive.

The investigation charter will be provided to anyone involved in an investigation and can be viewed here. 

Project update to form part of industry roadshows

One of the recommendations from the Integrity Review which the BHA conducted in early 2016 was to take more steps to educate participants and help protect them from falling foul of the rules and committing accidental or inadvertent breeches.  In turn, this will demonstrate to punters and racegoers that the sport does everything possible to stay clean and fair.

The BHA will give the sport further detail of this project, and other relevant matters, at the annual industry roadshows in early 2018, and seek participants feedback as to the most effective form of delivering the project to make sure the message gets through sufficiently.

Notes to editors:

  1. You can find out more about RaceStraight, the BHA’s online and free phone intelligence reporting service, here or by calling 0800 0852580.
  2. Priority SMS use the latest generation of SMS technology for sales & customer service, data capture and targeted marketing and social responsibility and people protection. Find out more information about them here.
  3. The recommendations from the 2016 Integrity Review can be viewed here.
  4. The recommendations from the review by Christopher Quinlan QC can be viewed here.
  5. The investigation charter and guidance note can be viewed here.

An article on the announcement of the integrity education project can be found here.