Call for single regulatory leader for each raceday in new stewarding model
Britain will have a new raceday stewarding model in place from next year, but what form it will take is still up in the air.
Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s newly appointed chief regulatory officer, revealed on Monday that options for change will be put to the BHA board next month, after which there will be further consultation with stakeholders before implementation of an agreed format some time in 2019.
The current mix of honorary and professional stipendiary stewards will remain until the end of this year.
The changes are the result of a sometime controversial review begun by Dunshea’s predecessor Jamie Stier in the middle of 2017.
Dunshea said: “We’re not sure what the future model will look like, but bearing in mind the complexities and professionalism of racing across the world, there’s a clear need for reform to the way we regulate racing on a daily basis in Britain.
“Whatever the reforms are, they are not necessarily going to be popular with the honorary stewards or some stakeholders, so we must engage stakeholders at every stage.”
The position of honorary stewards has been at the heart of controversy, but it seems a number of the more experienced, unpaid personnel will be retained, although possibly in a more defined, better-trained role.
Dunshea said: “If there is to be continued involvement of honorary stewards there must be a more robust management system and they must be subjected to the same level of training, scrutiny and accountability as our professionals.
“Management of honorary stewards should fall to the BHA, rather than to a committee of their peers, as is the current model.
“Ultimately, whatever model is adopted, we should develop a succession plan, with development of diversity, which should be the case for both honorary and stipendiary stewards.
“We must address the commonly-held view of stewards being from one stereotypical background. This should include not only gender and ethnic diversity but also socio-economic factors and skills diversity.”
One certainty is that the current blurred lines of raceday responsibilities between the racecourse executive and stewards, whether honorary or stipendiary, which is also understood to have been the subject of much discussions during the review, will be addressed.
Dunshea said: “There is a lack of clarity in the ownership of decisions. The roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined between regulatory and operational procedures, as well roles within the stewarding function. For example, responsibility for the decision to abandon racing, to evacuate the stands, or to stop a race, and the responsibility for the going descriptions.
“There is a clear need for a single regulatory leader for each raceday.”
Dunshea, who gave an update on the BHA review to his peers at an international stewards’ conference held in conjunction with the Asian Racing Conference, which begins in Seoul on Tuesday, is chairing a project team that also includes former head of stewarding Paul Barton and Racecourse Association representative and local steward David Jones.
Once the options have been presented to the BHA board, the process of recruiting a new head of stewarding and a chairman of stewards will begin.
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