Nick Bitel chairs Challenge Panel overseeing the British Horseracing Authority’s Integrity Review

March 23, 2016

On Wednesday, The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) published its Integrity Review, which was undertaken to ensure that the BHA remains at the forefront of handling integrity matters.  The review was led by the BHA’s Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk, Adam Brickell and was subject to robust, independent challenge by a panel of leading experts from the fields of Sport, Regulation and Racing led by Kerman & Co’s Head of Sports, Nick Bitel.

The Review team spent several months interviewing more than 100 individuals across the sport, including trainers, owners, jockeys – and their representative bodies – the betting public, media, legal representatives and others who have an interest in British Racing’s integrity work.

The view from those consulted, was that British Racing has a strong track record in investigating and taking action against individuals who seek to corrupt the sport. However, the consultation also included some criticisms of elements of the integrity processes which prompted six main recommendations.

The recommendations include setting up a stakeholder integrity forum, which will comprise licensed personnel, to act as an advisory group and improving the investigation, case management and disciplinary process by agreeing a formal investigation charter to everyone involved in an investigation.  This will make clear their rights and obligations and what they can expect from the process, as well as a code of conduct. The BHA also plans to work with stakeholders to review the structure, composition and processes of the Disciplinary Panel, Licensing Committee and Appeal Board to make sure that the sport’s participants have full confidence in them.Adam Brickell, Director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the BHA and the author of the Review, said:
“The BHA has an excellent track record of detecting and taking action to remove corruption from British horseracing. We are not complacent, and this review, far from revealing serious weaknesses in our approach, shows that we are open, transparent and committed to continuously improving in order to remain among the world’s leaders in sport integrity. We believe that the resultant recommendations, which include some notable, tangible improvements and additions to our procedures and policies, will set out a blueprint for how the BHA Integrity Team should work with the sport to continue to set standards for others to follow.”

Nick Bitel, Chair of the Challenge Panel responsible for overseeing the Review said: “The Challenge Panel considers that the Review was thorough and carried out properly in accordance with its remit, and reflects a serious and constructive approach by the BHA to achieving the objectives of the Review.  While we felt that the initial scope and terms of reference were too narrow, we are pleased that, at our request, the BHA widened the Review to include some aspects of its disciplinary structure, and that based on the results, has now agreed to a further, separate review of the structure, composition and processes of the Disciplinary Board and Appeal Panel.”of the structure, composition and processes of the Disciplinary Board and Appeal Panel.”

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