26 Nov 2009 Pre-2014 Releases

Enhanced suitability criteria introduced for all participants
• Implementation in time for trainers’ licence renewals at the end of January
• Jockeys and owners to follow later in 2010

The British Horseracing Authority has introduced enhanced suitability criteria for all licensed trainers with similar criteria to follow for jockeys and owners. These enhanced criteria, traditionally referred to as ‘Fit and Proper’ criteria, are the next step in the Authority’s review of the entire licensing process, which by 2012 will see a move towards online licence applications and potentially an end to the traditional annual renewal process for licences.

More immediate changes in 2010 will see Licensing Committee meetings advertised in advance in the same way that Disciplinary Panel hearings currently are and the recruitment of a lawyer to the Licensing Committee so that Decisions and Reasons can be published.

Oliver Codrington, Head of Compliance and Licensing for the Authority, said: “This is an important step for the Authority to take. Licensing is the gateway to the industry and applicants need to understand that there are clear, established and effective criteria to satisfy before they are licensed.

“Equally, we recognise that those who easily satisfy the criteria, year on year, should not be burdened with unnecessary bureaucracy and we must focus our efforts on an intelligence driven, risk based approach which will lead to improvements in efficiency.”

Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers’ Federation, said:
“The NTF supports these changes which should bring benefits for the training community. We recognise the need for licence holders to maintain high standards.”

Notes for Editors:

More details can be found at stage.britishhorseracing.com/resources/licensing/

The enhanced criteria, extracted from the general guidance notes for an application for a licence to train, are below:


5. In considering any application, the Licensing Committee must also be satisfied, taking into account any fact or matter that it considers appropriate, that the applicant is suitable to hold a licence. Relevant considerations include the applicant’s honesty and integrity, business competence and capability and financial soundness.

6. In relation to each section below, the Licensing Committee expects full and frank disclosure from the applicant, who is required to disclose matters known to him/her and those which he/she can be expected to discover by making enquiries. Failure to do so will be a relevant factor in the assessment as to an applicant’s, competence, honesty and integrity.

7. A person whose conduct, behaviour or character is not in accordance with that which, in the opinion of the Licensing Committee, should be expected of a licensed person, may not be considered suitable and therefore may be refused a licence.

8. In some cases a single factor may lead to the conclusion that someone is not suitable, whereas in another case the determination of whether someone is not suitable may depend upon the cumulative assessment of a number of matters.

9. It is not possible to produce a definitive list of all matters that would be relevant to a particular application. This document should be considered a guide as to the sorts of considerations that the Licensing Committee will have in mind when making such an assessment.

Honesty and Integrity

10. The criteria to which the Licensing Committee will have regard in assessing honesty and integrity include the following:

10.1 Whether the applicant has been convicted of any criminal offence in Great Britain, or a foreign jurisdiction, excluding offences which are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and in the case of foreign offences, such as may be appropriate. Particular consideration will be given to offences of dishonesty, fraud and those relating to sexual conduct, violence, animal welfare and health and safety.

10.2 Whether the applicant is the subject of any proceedings of a criminal nature, has been charged in connection with any alleged criminal offence or is aware of circumstances which may lead to his/her being so charged.

10.3 Whether the applicant has been the subject of any adverse finding by a judge in any civil proceedings, or has settled civil proceedings brought against him/her relating to any matter which could reasonably be said to materially affect his/her suitability to hold a licence.

10.4 The applicant’s record of compliance with the regulatory requirements of the Authority or its predecessors, of any other Turf Authority or of a regulator of any other sport in which he/she has participated or has been otherwise involved.

10.5 Whether the applicant has been candid, open and truthful in all his/her dealings:

10.5.1 with the Authority in relation to the present or relevant past licence applications; and

10.5.2 with any other Turf Authority or other sports regulator.

10.6 Whether or not the applicant has been dismissed from any previous employment or position of trust or has been asked to resign or resigned on grounds connected with his/her honesty or integrity.

10.7 Whether an applicant has been convicted of, or dismissed or suspended from employment for drug or alcohol abuses or other abusive acts or has other lifestyle or social issues, which are likely either to:

10.7.1 Impair significantly his/her ability to safeguard the welfare of the horses in training or meet the regulatory requirements of the Authority; or

10.7.2 Render the applicant a threat to the health, welfare or safety of others involved in horseracing, or to the integrity of the sport.

10.8 Whether the applicant has engaged in conduct or there are circumstances which may render the applicant susceptible to pressure from persons seeking to corrupt horseracing and whether the applicant is likely to or may engage in such conduct.

11. An applicant’s fitness and propriety includes assessment of the fitness and propriety of those with whom he/she is or may be associated or connected with in their personal or business dealings. For example, if the applicant has been a director or shareholder of a company that has committed a criminal offence, that matter will be taken into account and its ultimate relevance to his/her suitability will be assessed in the light of the applicant’s responsibility (if any) in relation to that offence. Also, where the applicant is to be an employee of a company or other person(s) running the proposed training business, the honesty and integrity of the employer may be relevant to an assessment of the fitness and propriety of the applicant, as may be the honesty and integrity of those associated with or connected to the employer.

12. The Licensing Committee has a policy of not granting a trainer’s licence to a person actively engaged as a Bookmaker having made the judgement that such a close financial interest, potentially in conflict with his interest as a trainer, is likely to diminish public confidence in the integrity of racing. Other interests of trainers in betting businesses, e.g. shareholdings other than in plcs or in different types of betting (spread betting) will be considered on a case by case basis and a judgement made on whether the interest in question could reasonably cause public concern about the integrity of racing. Factors to be taken into account by the Licensing Committee will include the size of the shareholding and the degree of involvement with the management of the business. If it came to the Committee’s notice that a trainer had an interest and that interest was subsequently judged to compromise the trainer, he would be given reasonable time to divest himself of the interest in a manner acceptable to the Committee.

For more information please contact Paul Struthers, Media Relations Manager, on 020 7152 0166 or 07966 590105.