British racing’s first ever Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan aims to improve representation across all aspects of the sport

04 Jul 2018 BHA Features Financial/Political Grassroots
  • Action Plan for the sport – which seeks to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of British racing – published by the Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG)
  • Plan establishes short and long-term ambitions with a key focus on the next generation and attracting new audiences
  • The sport’s promotion to minority communities, opportunities and facilities for female jockeys, , industry diversity events and engagement with urban audiences are among core recommendations
  • New Head of Diversity and Inclusion role at the BHA will provide industry leadership and drive forward delivery of the Action Plan

The first ever Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for British racing has been published today by the sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group (DiRSG).

The Action Plan covers eight core areas which it believes can – and should – be addressed to promote greater inclusion in British racing. The report contains a series of recommendations across these eight areas which it is hoped will lead to short and long-term benefits to help British racing better reflect the diversity of wider society in terms of the sport’s governance, participants, racegoers and fans.

Central to the recommendations is a focus on reaching new, culturally and ethnically diverse audiences through the sport’s marketing and promotion, and ensuring the next generation of racing fans have the opportunity to interact with horses, in particular in urban environments.

In order to assist the industry-wide engagement and coordination required for the delivery of the Plan, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced that it will be recruiting for a new “Head of Diversity and Inclusion” role. This role will be responsible for working with the DiRSG and the sport’s stakeholders to ensure that the momentum behind this report is maintained and the recommendations are implemented. The aim is to have someone in post during the latter half of 2018.

The full DiRSG report can be found here:

Among the headline recommendations from the report are:

• Researching the appeal of horseracing within minority communities to understand how the sport can be more effective about attracting diverse audiences. To include working with Great British Racing (GBR) and the (Racecourse Association) RCA to review racecourse marketing and community activity aimed at minority communities, refreshing the sport’s promotional imagery and continuing the work already started by the RCA to ensure that racecourse facilities are accessible to everyone.

• Investigating how to reach the next generation of racing fans, in particular those in urban environments. This could include investigating ways to ensure young people in urban locations have a chance to learn about the sport and develop understanding of the horse, which builds on the excellent work already being done by organisations such as the Pony Racing Authority, Racing to School, Ebony Horse Club, Take the Reins and Changing Lives.

• Supporting and promoting opportunities for female jockeys. This includes continuing support for academic analysis around female jockey performance – alongside monitoring the impact of initiatives taken in other jurisdictions – with a view to assessing whether further action needs to be taken to ensure female riders are given fair and equal opportunities compared to male counterparts. In addition, working with the Racecourse Association (RCA) and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) to audit current racecourse facilities for female jockeys, and working alongside the PJA to enhance the mentoring and training available to female riders, in particular around media training.

• Launching a diversity event for stakeholders within the sport in early 2019. To be hosted by the DiRSG and BHA, the event will be used to discuss diversity training, the role of organisations in the sport to set an example throughout their leadership and teams, and how to collect, analyse and understand data relevant to diversity and inclusion.

• Collect and publish data on leading organisations in the sport. This will include the composition of boards and executive teams and information on key metrics such as the gender pay gap. The BHA will also lead on improving data collection so there is a better understanding of the racing landscape across key metrics including the composition of major organisations and racing’s workforce as a whole. This will help move the sport towards an ambition of a minimum 70:30 gender split for Boards by 2021, to achieve parity with other sports.

The eight core areas as identified by the report, and across which recommendations have been made by the DiRSG are:

1. Leadership
2. Understanding the British racing landscape
3. Role models, leaders and careers
4. Recognising and celebrating British racing’s workforce
5. Supporting and promoting opportunities for female jockeys
6. Promoting racehorse ownership
7. Attending, consuming and enjoying racing
8. Showcasing the horse and understanding the sport

The priorities and proposals set out in the plan support work that is already underway as well as highlighting areas where new initiatives may be needed.

Nick Rust, BHA Chief Executive and DiRSG Chair, said:

“The publication of this Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is a moment we hope all in the
sport will welcome. We have a collective responsibility to ensure the sport is as diverse and
inclusive as possible and this plan seeks to ensure we have a focused approach to making that happen in the months and years ahead.

“At a time when we need to be attracting the best talent and growing our sport there is a clear commercial, as well as moral case, for making sure British Racing is a sport where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential and where fans of all communities feel welcome.”

Josh Apiafi, DiRSG member, said:

“Every member of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group brings experience, expertise and energy to the discussion on diversity and inclusion. We want to support the excellent work already going on in the sport while helping to provide new ideas which can be developed and delivered on a collaborative basis, requiring commitment from everyone in the sport.”

The Action Plan comes just over a year since the publication of the 2017 Women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry report by Oxford Brookes University on behalf of Women in Racing and The Racing Foundation. A key recommendation of this report was to establish an independent steering body to support the industry in its efforts to build a greater understanding of diversity issues in the sport.

Professor Simonetta Manfredi, Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice at Oxford
Brookes University, said:

“I am delighted to see British racing acting on the recommendations of our research with the formation of the DiRSG and publication of today’s Action Plan. Our research illustrated a number of issues within the sport, particularly around gender diversity, which this plan will start to address if everyone in British racing recognises and prioritises diversity and inclusion.”

Rob Hezel, Chief Executive of the Racing Foundation, said:

“The Racing Foundation was delighted to fund the research carried out by Oxford Brookes University to help drive forward the diversity agenda. We look forward to supporting the ideas and initiatives in this Action Plan which are integral to the future health of British racing.”

Notes to Editors
1. The full Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan can be found here.

2. The DiRSG was established in August 2017, with final membership confirmed in September 2017. The Group’s objective is to work collaboratively to champion and support the industry in its efforts to enhance its diversity and inclusivity. It has met regularly since its inception and has today produced its initial areas of focus and proposals for short and long-term progression for British racing.

Membership of the DIRSG is as follows:

Josh Apiafi Rewards4Racing Founder and Director
Catherine Beloff BHA Director of Legal and Governance
Linda Bowles The Jockey Club Group People Director
Guy Disney Jockey and The Royal Foundation Project Manager
Susannah Gill Alizeti Capital, Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs
Debbie Grey National Association of Stable Staff Office Manager
Francesca Leyland Regulus Partners Gambling and Sports Advisor
Victoria Morgan The Jockey Club Regional Communications Manager
Lee Mottershead Racing Post Journalist
Rishi Persad ITV Racing Presenter
Patricia Pugh Racehorse Owners Association Board Member and Packard Curator,
Palace House, Newmarket
Harriet Rochester Rochester PR Founder
Nick Rust BHA Chief Executive
Tanya Stevenson Freelance Sports Journalist
Sulekha Varma Hamilton Park Racecourse Racing Manager and Clerk of the Course
Laura Whyte BHA Board Member