11 Feb 2003 Pre-2014 Releases

Jockey Club Initiative For Future of Regulation

Published: 11 February 2003

The Jockey Club today announces a major initiative in proposing that responsibility for the regulation of racing be delegated, within its Royal Charter, to a new independent board. The proposal will bring greater independence and wider accountability to the regulatory role while retaining the knowledge and expertise of the Jockey Club and its employees.

The outline proposal, which has been supported by the Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, envisages a company with an independent Chairman and an independently controlled board taking on The Jockey Club’s current regulatory responsibilities. Beyond the area of regulation, The Jockey Club’s responsibilities as the owner of Racecourse Holdings Trust, for Jockey Club Estates, and as one of the four shareholders of the BHB, remain unchanged.

It is proposed that the board of the new company would comprise four independent directors and two nominated by the Jockey Club as well as a number of executive directors to be determined by the Board. The Jockey Club’s regulatory staff and racecourse officials would also be transferred to the new company. The Club intends to progress the proposal in further consultation with the industry’s key stakeholders. A number of important details need to be finalised such as funding, financial accountability and cost control but provided these can be resolved, it is envisaged that the proposals could be implemented during 2004 and would be subject to review within five years.

Christopher Spence, Senior Steward of the Jockey Club, said:
“In recent years, we have made significant changes to the way we regulate by, for example, appointing professional executives to the Regulatory Board and by introducing independent expertise on a number of key disciplinary, security, medical and veterinary committees. We see the creation of an independently controlled board as the logical next step in the continuing evolution of regulation.

“We are proud of The Jockey Club’s achievements in the field of regulation, which have earned British racing its reputation for integrity, trust and respect, not only nationally but internationally. However, we recognise that in today’s changing environment the perception of a private club regulating a major British sport could be damaging to racing’s interests. In proposing this change, we believe we are acting responsibly towards racing’s participants, racegoers and the general public. We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise to continue to serve racing to the best of our ability.”

11th February 2003
Notes for Editors
The consultation process is already underway. So far, the proposal has been shown to the BHB, the Levy Board and the Industry Committee, as well the Minister for Sport and DCMS.

Some examples of how the Jockey Club’s regulatory role has evolved through expanding the decision making responsibilities for professional executives and increased use of independent expertise, include:

a) Regulation is not carried out by the 120 strong membership of The Jockey Club. Responsibility for it is delegated to the Regulatory Board made up of six Stewards of The Jockey Club and six full-time executive directors.
b) The work of regulation is mostly executed by 220 full and part-time employees of The Jockey Club
c) A full-time professional stipendiary steward sits as a full member of the Stewarding panel on every raceday enquiry.
d) The Jockey Club’s ultimate Appeal Board has a panel of legally qualified independent chairmen.
e) An independent Barrister sits on The Jockey Club’s Security and Investigations Committee and both he and a recently retired Chief Constable were on the Integrity Review Committee. The latter will also chair the independent review of the Jockey Club’s security function.
f) So as to ensure that the best decisions are taken, The Jockey Club’s consultative committees (viz. the Medical Committee, the Veterinary Committee and the Racecourse Committee) draw together professional expertise, beyond that available in the Jockey Club, both from within and outside the Industry.

The Jockey Club’s Royal Charter has already been amended by the Privy Council to permit non-members to be appointed to key Committees. Currently, for example, consideration is being given to the introduction of independent, non-Jockey Club, persons to the Disciplinary Panel. To enable the implementation of these proposals, further amendments to the Royal Charter will be sought, after consultation.

RHT – Racecourse Holdings Trust comprises 13 racecourses including Aintree, Cheltenham, Haydock Park, Epsom, Kempton, Sandown Park, Newmarket and 6 smaller courses. All RHT’s profits are re-invested in its business, enabling it to provide better facilities for racegoers, owners and trainers, enhanced prize money and higher standards of ground care and turf management.

Jockey Club Estates – The prime role of the Estates is the management and development of the 2,800 acres of training grounds in Newmarket as the centre of excellence for the training of thoroughbred racehorses.