This is the outcome of the first stage of an Operational Review commissioned by Paul Bittar shortly after his arrival at the organisation as Chief Executive. The review promises a leaner, fitter organisation, and if this first stage is anything to go by, the trimming will be substantial.
This initial stage has focused on Raceday Services, and proposes to scrap two teams based in the Stable Yard area at racecourses and one from the Weighing Room. These will be replaced by a new role of Raceday Integrity Officers, making up the equivalent of 26 full time posts.
Explaining the reasoning behind the changes, Bittar said, Our driver is to create a more flexible and efficient Raceday Service within the stable yard area; one that is commensurate with the current regulatory needs and risks, as well as the economics of the sport. Our objective was not simply to save costs, although providing cost efficient regulatory services to British racing is one of our over-arching goals.”
The review has highlighted some overlap between the work done by Stable Yard Integrity Officers and Veterinary Technicians, and has also concluded that there is no requirement for a separate role of Weighing Room Integrity Officer. Whilst the WROI function will be absorbed into other jobs in the weighing room area, more attention will focus on the new post of Raceday Integrity Officers.
Bittar explained their purpose, saying, “The primary responsibility of the Raceday Integrity Officers will be to maintain the security of the stable yard at the racecourse stables, safeguarding integrity and racehorse welfare. This includes responsibility for ensuring that identification checks are completed at appropriate times on all horses and for taking samples for dope testing.”
Now, the BHA will start consultation with the Unite union and the staff affected. Part of that process will be to encourage further ideas about the development of the new role. Only then will recruitment begin for the new posts.
Stage two of the review will look at the roles undertaken by people working at the BHA’s head office in London’s High Holborn, and will report in a few months time.