The first stage of the Operational Review currently being carried out by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has identified two areas where improved raceday operational efficiencies could be achieved. The Review has recommended that three existing teams, two based in the Stable Yard area and one in the Weighing Room, be disbanded, and that a new role of Raceday Integrity Officers be established in their place. As a result, 42 BHA employees have been put on notice that they are at risk of redundancy.
The Operational Review of BHA services provided by both Raceday Officials and employees based in High Holborn was instigated earlier in the year, following the arrival of Chief Executive Paul Bittar.
The Review has initially focused on Raceday Services and identified an overlap between the tasks undertaken by Stable Yard Integrity Officers and Veterinary Technicians in the Stable Yard. The Review also concluded that the tasks currently conducted by the Weighing Room Integrity Officer could be incorporated into existing roles based in and around the Weighing Room.
Paul Bittar, Chief Executive for the BHA, said:
“Having thoroughly considered and discussed these services and issues, we have informed the respective teams that we propose to bring their roles together to form a team of Raceday Integrity Officers.
“This means that we have had to put three groups of staff at risk of redundancy with immediate effect. Under the proposal, we have more people than there will be roles available as Raceday Integrity Officers. Over the coming weeks we will consult with the union (Unite) and the staff about the new roles and consider any alternative suggestions that they have. A recruitment process will then take place to select the right people for the new roles for what will amount to the equivalent of 26 full-time positions.”
The primary responsibility of the Raceday Integrity Officers will be to maintain the security of the Stable Yard at the Racecourse stables, safeguarding integrity and racehorse welfare. This includes responsibility for ensuring that identification checks are completed at appropriate times on all horses and for taking samples from horses for dope testing.
Paul Bittar added:
“Our driver behind these specific changes is to create a more flexible and efficient Raceday service within the Stable Yard area; one that is commensurate with the current regulatory needs and risks, as well as the economics of the sport. Our objective was not simply to save costs, although providing cost efficient regulatory services to British Racing is one of our over-arching goals.
“Our role on behalf of the sport requires that we continue to review and amend the tasks we undertake and services we provide. Other recommendations, both within the Raceday teams and London, require further work and discussion, so this is the first phase of a number of changes that I expect to see over the coming months, and indeed I expect our services will continue to evolve even once the Review is complete.”