Overarching safeguarding policy for British racing to ensure high standards of protection for young people and adults at risk

We are proud to be supporting the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) with the new safeguarding policy due to come into effect from 1 January 2019.   Please see BHA Press release below.

Overarching safeguarding policy for British racing to ensure high standards of protection for young people and adults at risk

  • New policy comes into effect from 1 January 2019 and will enable everyone in racing to manage safeguarding issues with confidence, efficiency and appropriate support
  • Adherence to the Policy will form part of the licensing requirements for all trainers – the sport’s main employers
  • Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Regulations also published
  • Dedicated reporting lines through safeguarding@britishhorseracing.com and a confidential online form in place to ensure concerns can be raised with confidence
  • Racing specific accredited learning programme has been developed to support the implementation of the Policy and Regulations

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced the publication of a new, overarching Safeguarding Policy, Regulations and Code of Conduct for the sport, which will come into effect from 1 January 2019.

The Safeguarding Policy is applicable to everyone who works in British racing and is designed to complement and underpin the existing safeguarding policies that various racing organisations already have in place. It will enable everyone in racing to manage any safeguarding issues with confidence, efficiency and appropriate support.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance’s definition of safeguarding is “the process of protecting children and adults from harm by providing safe and effective care. It includes all procedures designed to prevent harm.”

The BHA Policy covers areas such as abuse, inappropriate relationships, reporting safeguarding concerns and safer recruitment practices.

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:

“For this sport to have the bright future we are all working together to achieve, we must attract the interest and participation of people of all ages. It is vital that those people who we do attract to the sport have a positive and fulfilling experience and are protected from all forms of abuse and harm.

“As the governing body of racing, the BHA has a particular duty to protect young people and adults at risk from harm that may arise from their participation in racing.

“However, this duty is not confined to the BHA. It is shared by everyone in racing. We all have a role to play in promoting a positive culture and experience for everyone involved in our sport. We trust that the new safeguarding obligations will be positively received, demonstrating Racing’s commitment to the protection of its youngest and most vulnerable participants.”

The Policy will form part of the licensing requirements for all trainers – the sport’s main employers – after 1 January. As part of this process all trainers will now need to agree to act in accordance with the Safeguarding Policy, Regulations and Code of Conduct, and agree that they and their staff will complete any training required by the BHA. In addition, during 2019, all trainers will be required to complete an online training and assessment module.

In future there will be a requirement for staff employed by trainers to complete the training, as well as jockeys and other individuals within the sport.

In addition to the Policy, two further documents have been published:

  • Safeguarding Regulations which establish a framework through which the BHA may investigate matters concerning the harm, or possibility of harm, to young persons and adults at risk, and the BHA’s disciplinary processes relating to such matters
  • A Code of Conduct which is designed to complement the Policy by setting expectations of behaviour for all those within racing when dealing with young people and adults at risk.

Central to an effective safeguarding policy is access for all parties to reporting and whistleblowing lines which are secure, trustworthy and – if required – confidential. Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of young people or adults at risk who are working within the sport is encouraged to contact the BHA’s dedicated safeguarding@britishhorseracing.com email address.

In developing this Safeguarding Policy, the BHA has worked alongside a number of stakeholders in racing, including the British Racing School (BRS), the Northern Racing College (NRC), Racing Welfare, the National Trainers Federation (NTF), the Racecourse Association (RCA), the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS), the National Stud, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), Racing Together, the Pony Racing Authority (PRA), the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and the Jockeys Education and Training Scheme (JETS).

Matt Mancini, Lead Safeguarding Manager for the BHA, said:

“Several sports have been under close public, media and political scrutiny on safeguarding issues, following a number of scandals over the past few years. As a result, all sports governing bodies, including Racing, are ensuring their safeguarding practices and policies are in line with current best practice.

“We greatly appreciate that many trainers already provide excellent levels of care for all their staff. The introduction of the BHA’s Policy will ensure we remain in step with other sports, ensuring and demonstrating that we have high standards of protection in place for any young people or adults at risk employed within our industry.

“Through our Safeguarding Policy, the BHA has put in place practical measures, tailored to the requirements of Racing, that seek to minimise the risk of harm, and enable the BHA to respond as appropriate to concerns whenever and wherever they may arise.

“We call on anyone who has any such concerns to contact us.”

George McGrath, Chief Executive of NARS, said:

“While safeguarding is the responsibly business owners and managers, it is not solely their responsibility. Staff in racing yards will almost certainly have a better insight into what is happening on a day to day basis, so there is also an onus on all employees – not just the managers – but everyone to understand the basics of safeguarding, and more importantly to report any concerns they may have”

Grant Harris, Chief Executive of the British Racing School, said:

“The BRS has the most stringent safeguarding policies in place while trainees attend the School. We work with the NTF and trainers – the employers – to ensure that our graduates are safeguarded in the workplace. We all have a duty of care. We all need to show the outside world that racing is an attractive vocation where the workforce is safe. The BHA’s Safeguarding Policy will reinforce these policies and messages that we are an industry that takes seriously its responsibilities toward the young and vulnerable working in racing.”

Stephen Padgett, Chief Executive of the Northern Racing College, said:

“While many organisations and individuals have worked diligently to safeguard young or vulnerable people in this industry, I welcome the unification now of those efforts under the new policy issued by the BHA.  An excellent, very accessible training package is in place to support it, good practice is shared and it is clear to all where responsibilities lie.  This can only be good for racing and good for the people in racing.”