Diversity in Racing Steering Group established

08 Aug 2017 Education/Training Financial/Political Grassroots
  • Steering group to drive diversity agenda in British horseracing
  • Four positions on the steering group are open to application

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today provided an update regarding its ongoing discussions with racing’s stakeholders on diversity in the sport.

This principally follows the publication in May of a research study into women’s representation and diversity in horseracing by Oxford Brookes University on behalf of Women in Racing and co-funded by The Racing Foundation.

Racing faces similar challenges to other sports in ensuring that people from all backgrounds are represented at all levels of the sport. Having consulted with organisations across the sport, the BHA is leading an industry response to the issues raised in the research study as part of a broader focus on diversity and inclusion.

The BHA is pleased to confirm that a key recommendation of the research study – the establishment of an independent body to act as champions in supporting the industry in its efforts to increase its diversity – is being progressed along with a number of other initiatives as outlined below.

The formation of a new Diversity in Racing Steering Group will include representation from across the sport, including a minimum four positions which will be open to application to people who have experience, interest and commitment to improving diversity in the sport.

The Diversity in Racing Steering Group will meet quarterly and members may be required to undertake some ad hoc work outside of meetings in line with the discussions and agreed objectives of the group. The application form can be found here.

Applications are welcomed from anyone with a passion for improving diversity in British racing. Applicants do not need to be currently employed in or around the industry but some knowledge of the sport is essential. In addition, applicants do not necessarily need to be based full time in the UK but there would be an expectation that some in person engagement in the Diversity in Racing Steering Group will be required for the group’s meetings. The application window closes on 1 September.

Membership will include:

  • Laura Whyte, BHA Board Member
  • Nick Rust, BHA Chief Executive
  • Catherine Beloff, BHA Director of Legal and Governance
  • Susannah Gill, Women in Racing Committee Member and Arena Racing Company Director of External Affairs
  • Sulekha Varma, Hamilton Park Racecourse Race Manager
  • Patricia Pugh, Racehorse Owners Association Board Member and Packard Curator, Palace House, Newmarket
  • Debbie Grey, National Association of Stable Staff Office Manager
  • Linda Bowles, The Jockey Club Group People Director
  • Lee Mottershead, Racing Post journalist
  • Josh Apiafi, Rewards4Racing Founder and Director
  • Rishi Persad, ITV presenter
  • Other appointed members

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “The BHA is conscious that managing diversity is a continuous process of improvement, not a one-off initiative.

“We are committed to the establishment of a steering group which will lead and direct our sport in this vital area. A core membership of stakeholder representatives has been established and we invite others – both from within racing and other industries – who share our passion to enhance diversity and inclusivity to apply to be a part of this important group.

“The establishment of the steering group is the first of a number of steps we intend to take as we strive to enhance the diversity of our sport.

“The business case for diversity is clear and unequivocal – not only is it fair, but study after study has shown organisations make better decisions and perform better with diverse teams. Tackling diversity issues has the potential to unlock huge amounts of potential and untapped talent. We must be innovative if we are to attract new audiences and people from all different backgrounds to help us generate a healthy breadth of new ideas.

“I invite anyone with an interest in championing diversity in sport to consider applying to join our new steering group.”

At the time the research study was released, the BHA committed to consulting with stakeholders on the recommendations of the report and other potential actions. The BHA is:

  • Underway with a programme of unconscious bias training, starting with its Executive, followed by its Board and Leadership Team
  • Working with external advisors to carry out a governance audit, an important component of which is receiving advice and assistance on ensuring that our zero tolerance stance on discrimination of any kind is embedded within our governance-related policies
  • Appointing a Diversity Champion who will lead and coordinate efforts across the sport to enhance diversity and inclusivity
  • Supporting the Women in Racing mentor programme and continuing its internal induction programme which supports new staff at the BHA
  • Expanding upon the statistics featured in its annual report to include statistics on diversity
  • Developing a diversity questionnaire and encouraging all participants and BHA staff to complete it in order to establish a base-line against which Steering Group objectives can be set and progress monitored
  • Conducting a benchmarking exercise by contacting all major international horseracing authorities to provide examples of steps taken to encourage diversity along with any evaluation of such initiatives, including in relation to supporting the career progression of female jockeys.

The BHA will recommend to the Steering Group that it consider the following:

  • Setting cross-industry advisory targets for Board and Senior Management
  • Rolling out a programme of diversity awareness training for the industry and reviewing training programmes for bias
  • Raising the profile of successful role models and discussing how they can be best promoted in order to change attitudes and perceptions about working in racing
  • Establishing an industry-wide mentor programme.

Notes to editors:

1. The BHA would also like to highlight some of the work already being conducted across the industry to increase diversity and inclusivity in racing:

  • Careers in Racing (CiR) attracts young people into racing through an extensive careers marketing and community engagement programme. CiR will host a stand at the 2017 Diversity Careers Show, which brings together top organisations from around the UK who see the benefit of, and want to showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • The British Horseracing Graduate Development Programme attracts a diverse group of people into racing, many of whom go on to successful and long-term careers. Over the last five years, the programme has attracted an equal number of female and male graduates into our sport.
  • The education charity Racing to School will this year deliver unique learning activities to 13,000 young people nationwide, working with State and Private schools. Over 50 per cent of the schools declare themselves as being located in inner cities, deprived areas or as rurally isolated. The charity engages around 600 young people in its Riders’ Programme, a majority of which are females.
  • Women in Racing, established independently by Sally Rowley-Williams in 2009, raises the profile of women within the industry, encourages senior appointments across the sport and aims to enhance racing’s reputation as an attractive sector in which to build a career. It hosts networking events and has an expansive mentor programme.
  • Arena Racing Company launched the £100,000 Silk Series for female jockeys at ARC racecourses to provide opportunities to young female jockeys.
  • The Jockey Club conducts diversity training across its entire group, is an active supporter of various initiatives and conferences relating to women’s role in the workplace in sport or in racing, including the Game Changers Summit at Stamford Bridge as part of leaders Week and the annual Grand Women’s Summit at Aintree as part of the Randox Health Grand National Festival. The Jockey Club is also, out of all listed TV sports events in Britain, the only one to have a female Chairperson or CEO – the Honorary Rose Paterson, Chairman of Aintree Racecourse and Julia Budd, Chairman at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The Jockey Club also holds an all-female race day at Carlisle which aims to raise the profile of female jockeys, while the Jockey Club Racecourses North West offers a £20,000 development award for female jockeys to provide an opportunity for personal development and professional support.
  • The BHA is working with industry to improve safeguarding guidance and procedures for young people and vulnerable adults and has a dedicated Retention Development Manager.
  • A pilot scheme is being launched in Newmarket to provide childcare spaces to enable young mothers to return to work funded by Racing Welfare.
  • The NTF is developing a set of standards to help members manage their workforce and to show trainers examples of best practice on retention, motivation and engagement of their staff.
  • The PJA and Racing Welfare both offer confidential helplines which offer routes to advice and support for participants in need.
  • The BHA, NTF and NASS have signed up to the Mental Health Charter.
  • Racing Together is British racing’s community engagement activity that encompasses the work of a diverse range of racing and non-racing charities and commercial organisations. From educational days for young people; careers-focused opportunities and pathways to training; volunteering schemes and many other charitable initiatives, Racing Together represents what British racing is giving back to the communities in which it operates.
  1. Application details:
  • The link for the application form can be found here.
  • The deadline for applications is 1 September.
  • Applications are welcomed from those with a passion for improving diversity in British racing regardless of whether they are currently working in or outside the industry
  • The group will meet quarterly and members may be required to undertake minimal ad hoc work outside of meetings in line with the discussions and agreed objectives of the group
  • The Oxford Brookes University study ‘Women’s representation and diversity in the horseracing industry’ can be found here.

The BHA’s response to the study can be found here.