British racing unites in commitment around industry conduct

14 Dec 2021 BHA Features Integrity

The major stakeholder bodies of British horseracing have today issued a joint statement regarding the conduct of those who work in the sport, and a commitment to take wide-ranging action to offer support and education to industry participants around behaviours.  The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), National Association of Racing Staff (NARS), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) and Racecourse Association (RCA) said: “British racing is a diverse industry where individuals of varying identities and from a wide range of backgrounds work and compete side-by-side. It is a sport characterised by the shared values of camaraderie and conscientiousness which come hand-in-hand with working in an elite sport and the risks associated with working alongside our equine athletes. “It is essential that horseracing remains a progressive, modern industry when it comes to the conduct of our people. We must prioritise the wellbeing and development of our workforce, stand against discrimination of any kind in British racing, and invest in making racing a safe, fulfilling place to work. “Great progress has already been made by the industry in terms of improving standards around training, education, employment practices, wellbeing, safeguarding and career development, with the entire sport involved in making racing a better place to work. “However, there is always more that can and must be done. We must encourage a culture of openness and seek to support anyone who faces problems or has found themselves in difficulty. We must promote a culture of respect in how those involved in racing interact with one another and promote more diversity and inclusion at all levels of the industry. “The signatories to this statement, therefore, today publicly commit to further improve standards, education and training around industry conduct, through the formation of a dedicated cross-industry working party.”    Next Steps As part of this commitment, initial discussions around which commenced earlier this year, all the signatories have agreed to take part in a working party which will report into the industry People Board and will have the objectives of promoting the positive elements of conduct within the industry, educating our people, deterring poor behaviours and any form of discrimination while empowering our people to call out conduct which falls short of our joint expectations. The group will be chaired by the BHA and include representatives from the BHA, NTF, NARS, PJA, RCA, ROA, TBA and/or – crucially – the people that they represent.  The working party will, as a priority, develop a specific action plan, which will be underpinned by research into the most effective examples of positive behaviour change from other industries. The formation of this working party and resultant action plan will form an important part of the previously announced project to introduce and embed a new industry Code of Conduct and underpinning regulations, which are being finalised with a view to being introduced in Spring 2022.   The Code of Conduct has been developed alongside all the signatories to this statement, who are also signatories of British racing’s Diversity and Inclusion industry commitment.  The working party will have amongst its objectives ensuring that the new Code of Conduct is properly communicated, explained and understood and that it achieves its objectives of raising standards of behaviour and conduct within the sport. The working party will also assist in the introduction of the sport’s new Safeguarding policy and regulations, which are also close to being finalised.