British Racing’s Integrity Review published

23 Mar 2016 Integrity
  • Over 100 individuals consulted from across Racing and externally
  • Review was subject of robust, independent challenge by a Panel of leading experts from the fields of Sport, Regulation and Racing
  • Those consulted consider British Racing to have a strong track record in investigating and taking action against individuals who seek to corrupt the sport.
  • Series of recommendations published to further improve and maintain the good levelof integrity that continues to exist, and is perceived to exist within British Horseracing

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today published its Integrity Review, which was led by the BHA’s Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk, Adam Brickell, overseen by Independent Regulatory Director Sir Paul Stephenson and subject to robust, independent challenge by a panel of leading experts from the fields of Sport, Regulation and Racing.

The Integrity Review was launched in the summer of 2015 because of a desire to ensure the BHA remains at the forefront of the handling of integrity matters. The Review Team spent several months interviewing more than 100 individuals across the sport, including trainers, owners, jockeys – and their representative bodies – the betting public, media, legal representatives and others who have an interest in British Racing’s integrity work.

Overall, the Review has confirmed that a good level of integrity continues to exist and is perceived to exist within British horseracing. The view from those consulted was that British Racing has a strong track record in investigating and taking action against individuals who seek to corrupt the sport. However, the consultation also included criticisms of elements of the Integrity processes. From these criticisms the BHA have identified some recurring themes and specific areas where there are opportunities for improvement. These form the basis of the recommendations that have been published today, and which fall into six main categories.

1. The establishment of a stakeholder integrity forum to act as an advisory group, forming a united front to help keep corruption out of horseracing. Membership will include licensed personnel and other figures who have expertise and insight into this area. They will also provide visibility on the implementation of these recommendations.

2. Improvements to be made to the investigation, case management and disciplinary process, including providing a formal investigation charter to everyone involved in an investigation, at the outset, which will clearly set out their rights and obligations and what they can expect from the process, as well as a code of conduct.

The BHA will also develop a fast-track process to deal with minor or admitted offences outside of the full disciplinary process, with formal cautions and agreed sanctions. Also it will carry out a review the level of penalties for minor rule breaches.

3. Formalising of a new integrity strategy which has at its core the objective to do more to educate and protect the overwhelming majority of participants who comply or are trying to comply with the rules.

4. Working closely with stakeholders to review the structure, composition and processes of the Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board to make sure that the sport’s participants have full confidence in them.

5. Look at what improvements can be made to the way in which the media, racing and betting public and the sport’s participants are informed on what the BHA are doing to protect the integrity of the sport.

6. Extend our partnerships with other organisations across the betting industry, other racing jurisdictions, other sports and regulators in order to increase our access to intelligence.

In addition, a number of further, smaller recommendations have been identified, for example establishing a set of guidelines as to the acceptable timeframe within which a Disciplinary Panel would be expected to produce a decision and reasons following an inquiry, carrying out a public integrity survey on an annual basis to provide a benchmark against which to assess future performance, and adding new senior-level resource within the Integrity, Legal and Risk Department.

The full Integrity Review document can be found here.

Sir Paul Stephenson, Independent Regulatory Director for the BHA and the Review sponsor, said:

“The BHA’s integrity work is critical to the reputation of the sport and public confidence in it.

“British Racing has a strong track record in investigating and taking action against individuals who seek to corrupt the sport. From my brief time within the Racing industry and from the people I have spoken to as part of this Review it has become clear to me that British Racing is seen as a leader when it comes to managing sporting integrity. This is evidenced by the fact that other sports and racing jurisdictions constantly contact us for guidance on running integrity services.

“However, we do not have a divine right to this reputation. Hence this Review was instigated to ensure that British Racing is doing all it can to maintain and improve this reputation.”

Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the BHA and the author of the Review, said:

“The BHA has an excellent track record of detecting and taking action to remove corruption from British horseracing. We are not complacent, and this review, far from revealing serious weaknesses in our approach, shows that we are open, transparent and committed to continuously improving in order to remain among the world’s leaders in sport integrity. It also shows we are confident enough to admit when we make mistakes and to learn from them.

“We believe that the resultant recommendations, which include some notable, tangible improvements and additions to our procedures and policies, will set out a blueprint for how the BHA Integrity Team should work with the sport to continue to set standards for others to follow.

“I am extremely grateful to all of those who gave up their time to take part in the Review. We were, at times, challenged robustly by those individuals and it is only through being challenged in such a way that you can learn and improve.”

An Independent Challenge Panel was established to oversee the Review and ensure the rigour and fairness of the process and to challenge the direction of the Review and the recommendations that arose. The Panel was chaired by Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the London Marathon and consultant at Kerman & Co solicitors. The Challenge Panel’s Assurance Report can be found as part of the Review materials.

Nick Bitel, Chair of the Challenge Panel, said:

“The Challenge Panel considers that the Review was thorough and carried out properly in accordance with its remit, and reflects a serious and constructive approach by the BHA to achieving the objectives of the Review.

“While we felt that the initial scope and terms of reference were too narrow, we are pleased that, at our request, the BHA widened the Review to include some aspects of its disciplinary structure, and that based on the results, has now agreed to a further, separate review of the structure, composition and processes of the Disciplinary Board and Appeal Panel.

“The Panel applauds the willingness of the BHA to recognise and apologise for past failings, both generally and in the specific case studies of Jim Boyle and Kate Walton included within the Review.”

Paul Struthers, Chief Executive of the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), said:

“We are pleased that any concerns that this could be a case of the BHA marking its own homework have proved unfounded.  The Review acknowledges a number of areas for improvement and the correctly offered apologies to Kate Walton and Jim Boyle further demonstrate the change in tone and approach that has been increasingly seen under Nick Rust’s tenure. We welcome the Review and recommendations and the Review team, led by Adam, should be applauded for their work.

“It is of course vital these recommendations are fully implemented and that outstanding concerns around Disciplinary Panel processes are addressed. The PJA fully supports a robust integrity framework but this has to be fair and transparent. This review and recommendations, once implemented, should help to ensure this and repair the confidence that had otherwise been lost.”

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers Federation (NTF), said:

“We are pleased that the review acknowledges that there have been failings in the investigatory and disciplinary processes. We would especially point to the recommendation to create an investigation charter and code of conduct for disciplinary cases. Defendants must be treated properly and understand how the process will develop. We also welcome the other recommendations including an emphasis on protection and education and alternative methods of dealing with minor offences as well as exploring the provision of pro bono legal advice for disciplinary hearings.”

Notes to Editors

1. The full Integrity Review can be found here.

2. The Integrity Review recommendations can be found here.

3. The Review has not sought to highlight, assess or address specific threats or risks to the integrity of the sport. That is work which the BHA Integrity Department must continue to do. The Review has been focused more on how the BHA discharges its functions in this broad area, which include licensing, disciplinary, compliance and all aspects of integrity, whether that involves investigation of betting-related issues, doping, or other forms of cheating.

4. The Independent Challenge Panel comprised of: Nick Bitel (Chief Executive of the London Marathon and consultant at Kerman & Co solicitors); Simon Barker (Assistant Chief Executive for the Professional Footballers Association); Philip Freedman (Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group); Terry Miller OBE (former General Counsel for The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and former International General Counsel of Goldman Sachs International); and Nick Tofiluk (Executive Director, Regulatory Operations for the Gambling Commission).