The Code of Conduct

The BHA Code of Conduct establishes a set of standards aimed at protecting the values of the sport of horse racing and making racing a great place to work based on a culture of respect.

Everyone involved in the sport of horse racing is expected to uphold these values and standards.

The horse racing industry values everyone who participates in any way in the sport. The industry aims to provide a respectful, supportive, and safe working environment where everyone is empowered to achieve their full potential. The industry aims to provide a friendly, fun, and respectful environment for all in anyway engaged with the sport.

The following points form the BHA Code of Conduct:

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All should also be aware of the BHA Safeguarding Code of Conduct which sets expectations for behaviour when dealing with young people and adults at risk. Breach of the BHA Safeguarding Code of Conduct may result in charges under the BHA Safeguarding Regulations.

Report and Support

Alerting the BHA

If you have experienced or witnessed any incident which you feel might breach the BHA Code of Conduct then we want to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can raise a concern with the BHA.

If you know of anyone who needs help or you experience or witness unsatisfactory behaviour please report it by email to respect@britishhorseracing.com.

You can also raise a concern through the RaceWISE service. Call 0800 085 2580 or complete the online form available here. RaceWISE is a confidential reporting service operated by Crimestoppers on behalf of the BHA. Confidential reports concerning Welfare, Integrity, Safeguarding and Equality can be made to RaceWISE.

If your concern relates to a Young Person (anyone under 18) or an Adult at Risk (anyone less able to protect him/herself) then you may wish to contact the BHA Safeguarding team directly. You can do so by email to safeguarding@britishhorseracing.com or you can call 0207 052 0099.

What Happens When a Report is made to the BHA?

On receiving a report, the BHA will consider the appropriate action including whether an investigation into the issue(s) raised is appropriate. You will be contacted by a member of the BHA Integrity (or Safeguarding) team to discuss how the BHA intends to proceed.

The extent of any investigation which may take place will differ in each case and depend upon factors such as the nature of the complaint, the number of individuals involved, the responses received, and the evidence uncovered as the investigation progresses.

The BHA takes its responsibility to act appropriately on receiving a report of wrongdoing very seriously. This includes ensuring that the person(s) that the report concerns are treated fairly and with respect.

If an investigation does take place then once it is completed all of the evidence gathered will be considered by the BHA Compliance team and a decision will be taken as to how to proceed.

A person should never fear making a report in good faith and the BHA are grateful to all who do so. It should be noted though that if the BHA uncovers that a report has been made maliciously or falsely then the BHA will issue charges for misleading the BHA (or seek to exclude a person not bound by the Rules of Racing).

Code of Conduct Disciplinary Process

Where there is sufficient evidence to suggest that a Person or Non-Participant (a person not bound by the Rules of Racing) has breached the Code the BHA will take disciplinary action. Where the breach concerns a Non-Participant, the matter will be referred to the Independent Disciplinary Officer of the BHA to consider potential exclusion in the same fashion as set out in the Rules.

Where the breach concerns a Participant the matter will be referred to the Independent Disciplinary Panel of the BHA except in the limited circumstances where either a solution-based approach or the ‘fast-track’ process is considered appropriate.

Solutions

It is will not always be appropriate for a sanction to be imposed on a person even where there has been a breach of the BHA Code of Conduct. There will be occasions where it is best for the complainant, the wrongdoer, and the sport to find a solution which does not involve referral to the Disciplinary Panel. It is important to note that only minor breaches of the Code are eligible to be dealt with in this way. In addition, the following must apply:

  • It must be the first-time that the wrongdoer has breached the Code.
  • The wrongdoer must admit the breach and acknowledge that their behaviour was inappropriate/unacceptable.
  • The wrongdoer must remedy the breach to the extent that is possible and / or appropriate to do so.

A Solution must be agreed by both the BHA and the Person in breach of the Code. If it cannot be agreed, the BHA may commence disciplinary proceedings. If it is agreed a written warning will be issued which states that there has been a breach of the Code and that disciplinary proceedings will follow for any future breach.

Potential Solutions which will be considered include:

  • Acknowledge the breach of the Code and any harm caused (which may be required to be public) and apologise to the individual who’s right to be treated with dignity and respect was breached; and/or
  • A financial contribution to an appropriate charity; and/or
  • Attending at (and actively contributing to) a course of mediation with the individual(s) harmed by the breach of the Code; and/or
  • Completion of an appropriate course of behaviour management therapy or an appropriate course designed to increase understanding of equality/diversity/inclusion.

Solutions other than those listed above may be considered. What is appropriate will depend upon the circumstances of each case. If the agreed Solution is not completed to the satisfaction of the BHA, the agreed warning is void and the Person concerned should expect to be the subject of disciplinary proceedings.

Referral to the Independent Disciplinary Panel

The Disciplinary Panel is composed of 16 members including former horsemen and women. Cases are heard by a 3-person Disciplinary Panel. The Chair of each Panel is legally qualified (and highly experienced). Respondents are entitled to be legally represented and all are encouraged to seek legal advice should they be charged with any breach of the Rules of Racing. The Disciplinary Panel are responsible for deciding if the alleged breach of the Rules of Racing has been proven by the BHA and, if the answer to this is yes, what the appropriate penalty is.

Any breach of the Code regarding which (following consideration of all the circumstances) the BHA consider that the Solutions based approach and fast-track are not appropriate must be determined by the Independent Disciplinary Panel.

Before referring the matter to a Disciplinary Panel, the BHA will assess the seriousness of the breach of the Code and identify what level of breach the BHA considers has occurred.

The three levels of breach are:

Low –        A single breach of the Code and the Person has engaged appropriately in the Disciplinary Process.

–        Limited or no harm caused to the victim and/or impact upon the reputation of the sport.

–        No or limited previous disciplinary history.

Medium –        A single breach involving harm to the victim and/or impact upon the reputation of the sport.

–        Persistent less serious breaches of the code.

–        Evidence of premeditation or a pattern of misconduct.

–        Limited or no engagement with the Disciplinary Process.

High –        Serious harm caused to the victim and/or impact upon the reputation of the sport.

–        Limited or no engagement with the Disciplinary Process.

–        Misconduct involving discrimination based on protected characteristics or a vulnerable victim.

–        Sexual misconduct.

–        Criminal conduct.

–        Manipulation of or attempts to interfere with witnesses and victims.

The final decision on breach and penalty is a matter for the Disciplinary Panel. This includes assessment of whether a particular incident has resulted in a low, medium, or high-level breach.