The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced changes to its Disciplinary Panels and regulatory functions following publication of Christopher Quinlan QC’s review of its Disciplinary Panel, Appeal Board and Licensing Committee, which can be found here: Christopher Quinlan QC Report.
While Mr Quinlan’s overall conclusion is that the BHA’s current disciplinary system is legally robust and fair, he has made a number of recommendations in line with his Terms of Reference and which he considers are necessary to bring the BHA’s approach in line with best practice in sports governance and to increase confidence among participants and stakeholders.
The BHA has accepted all of Mr Quinlan’s recommendations – some of which endorse those made in the Integrity Review – and will seek to implement them as quickly as possible. They include the appointment of a new independent head to lead the BHA’s Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board – a distinguished senior legal practitioner with judicial experience, or a serving or retired judge. The new Chairman will be responsible for increasing the size of a merged Disciplinary Panel and Licensing Committee to no fewer than 22 members under open competition, including any suitably-qualified people with horseracing knowledge. Active stewards will not be able to sit on the newly-constituted Disciplinary Panel.
The BHA also announced today that it is reorganising its regulatory and integrity teams from 1 October to make operational improvements, resulting in three new director-level appointments. Taken together, these changes will ensure that the BHA’s judicial functions can operate completely independently of its executive functions, thereby reducing the risk of potential conflicts.
The BHA’s Integrity Review, published earlier this year, identified a need for the review following consultation with the sport’s stakeholders. The BHA’s reorganisation of its regulatory and integrity functions takes full account of, and is compatible with, Mr Quinlan’s recommendations.
The Quinlan Report
Many of the recommendations were formed by Mr Quinlan listening to the suggestions and concerns of stakeholders regarding perceptions of fairness. The BHA welcomes his report and, in implementing its recommendations, is taking the necessary steps to bring its approach in line with current best practice in sport governance and to address issues relating to perceptions of fairness among participants and stakeholders. The main recommendations include:
- Creating a new role of Judicial Panel Chairman. This will involve the appointment of a new, independent head of the BHA’s quasi-judicial functions, an enhanced leadership role, with responsibility for the Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board, and the appointment, training and mentoring of members.
- Merging the Licensing Committee with the Disciplinary Panel to form a single disciplinary group under the leadership of the Judicial Panel Chairman.
- Increasing the size of the merged Disciplinary Panel and Licensing Committee to not less than 22, including a modest increase in legally-qualified members, under open competition, to include any suitably qualified people with sufficient knowledge of horseracing.
- Ensuring that each Disciplinary Panel hearing is chaired by a legally-qualified member, in the interests of fairness to all parties.
- Preventing raceday stewards from serving on the Disciplinary Panel while they remain active on the racecourse. Active raceday stewards will continue to serve on the Appeal Board and the Licensing Committee as that does not involve them adjudicating on the decisions of fellow stewards.
- Extending the remit of the Appeal Board so that it can, in exceptional cases, offer a de novo hearing (i.e. ‘start afresh’ with a rehearing) when considering an appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Panel or the Licensing Committee.
The BHA will also implement recommendations relating to the terms of appointment of Disciplinary Panel and Appeal Board members, disclosure, deposits and the operation of disciplinary panel meetings. Mr Quinlan’s report also endorses three recommendations included in the BHA’s Integrity Review relating to alternative disposal of minor breaches, timeframes for production of written reasons and access to pro bono legal advice for participants.
Changes to the organisation of the BHA’s regulatory and integrity functions.
With effect from 1 October 2016, the BHA is making the following changes to ensure complete separation between its regulatory, prosecution and compliance functions and its legal governance and quasi-judicial functions.
- Bringing together responsibility for all regulatory and integrity matters (whether on a raceday or not) under the leadership of a Chief Regulatory Officer. Jamie Stier will assume this role and hold accountability for equine health and welfare, medical, disciplinary, compliance, integrity, regulation and stewarding. Jamie’s former position of Director of Raceday Operations and Regulation will cease to exist.
- Appointing a dedicated Director of Legal and Governance reporting to the Chief Executive, accountable for all legal and governance matters except those relating to its prosecution and compliance functions. The role will hold accountability for general legal counsel, company secretariat, corporate governance and data protection. Catherine Beloff, currently Head of Legal: Governance will assume this role, while her former position will cease to exist.
- Creating a new role under the Chief Regulatory Officer – Director of Integrity and Regulatory Operations – to take day-to-day responsibility for integrating the BHA’s raceday and integrity operations. Brant Dunshea, currently Head of Raceday Operations will assume this role which will hold accountability for integrity (including investigating officers and stable inspecting officers), licensing and anti-doping (formerly part of the accountabilities of the Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk, a position that ceases to exist). Brant will retain responsibility for equine welfare and integrity officers and overriding responsibility for the judges, starters, clerk of scales, inspector of courses, and the BHA’s role in liaison with the Point to Point, Arab Racing and Pony Racing Authority through a new Head of Raceday Operations.
In view of their enhanced responsibilities, Brant Dunshea and Catherine Beloff will join the BHA executive team. More details. Hannah McLean, Head of Legal: Regulation, will continue to lead on prosecution and compliance matters, in future reporting to the Chief Regulatory Officer.
By mutual agreement Jenny Hall is to step down from her role as Chief Veterinary Officer of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on 31 December 2016. More details. Reflecting the importance of equine welfare, the BHA will appoint a Director of Equine Health and Welfare, an enhanced role to replace the Chief Veterinary Officer position, which will report to the Chief Regulatory Officer and become a member of the BHA executive team.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive said:
“The changes we’re making mean that everyone connected with our sport will be able to have the utmost confidence in the impartiality and fairness of the BHA’s Disciplinary Panels. As well as providing his own expert, independent view, Christopher Quinlan’s report has given us the opportunity to address the concerns of our sport’s participants and stakeholders and to improve their confidence in what we do and how we do it.”
Christopher Quinlan QC said:
“I’m delighted that the BHA Board agreed to implement my recommendations in full. My hope is that these recommendations will provide a modern disciplinary system which consistently delivers, is seen and is accepted to deliver, justice to all.”
Notes to Editors
1. The full Christopher Quinlan QC report can be found Christopher Quinlan QC Report.
2. The original Terms of Reference for the Quinlan report can be found here.
3. Further details of the changes to the organisation of the BHA’s regulatory and integrity functions can be found here.
4. Details of the BHA’s Executive structures as a result of the changes to the organisation can be found here
5. The BHA’s Integrity Review, published in March 2016, can be found here.