Opportunities to meet members of the BHA Racing Department

As part of its plan to increase engagement with trainers, a representative of the BHA Racing Department will be present at the following upcoming fixtures should any trainers wish to discuss race planning matters. This list will be updated regularly. Members of the racing team would be very happy to visit your yard if you wish.

18-Oct Carlisle Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager
22-Oct Plumpton Nick Dartnall Jump Race Planning Executive
Kempton Park (eve) Mike Waring Senior Flat Race Planner
26-Oct Cheltenham Paul Johnson Head of Racing
Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager
07-Nov Musselburgh Paul Johnson Head of Racing
14-Nov Exeter Paul Johnson Head of Racing
15-Nov Taunton Paul Johnson Head of Racing
16-Nov Cheltenham Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager
21-Nov Warwick Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager
29-Nov Ayr Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager
14-Dec Cheltenham Stuart Middleton Racing Operations Manager

Payslip rules from April 2019

From 6th April 2019, employers must itemise payslips for employee’s wages. They will need to show either:

The combined number of hours worked for which the payment is being made, or

Itemised figures for different types of work worked and/or different rates of pay.

The pay slips must also show the figures for earnings before and after any deductions; the amount of any deductions that may change each period such as tax and NI; an explanation of any fixed amount deductions (for example RIABS deductions); and the net wages to be paid.  This applies to all workers including permanent, casual and those working on a zero hours contract.

Whilst it is around 6 months until this legislation comes into force, employers should start preparing for compliance by ensuring payroll processes are adjusted to collect the new information required, and amending the format of their payslips to include the new information, where appropriate.

New Apprenticeship programme brings change to assessment and funding

The British Racing School and Northern Racing College have been informing trainers about the new apprenticeship programme and the changes they can expect. We have uploaded a fact sheet to the Members Area of the NTF website; you can find it under Employment Matters/New employees.

Racing has had to adapt to the Government’s reforms of apprenticeships. This has led to changes in funding, training content and assessment. Labelled “Trailblazer”, the new standard has been developed in consultation with industry sectors. Racing participated through the equine sector with direct trainer representation.

There is little change to the actual training that a new entrant to the racing industry will undertake. It will include the Equine Transport qualifications, which are necessary for people working in racing. Instead of continual assessment in the workplace, the learner will now undertake one day of assessment at the end of the training period. The assessment (called End Point Assessment) will normally take place at one of the Racing Schools but in exceptional circumstances may take place in the workplace.

Another new requirement Is for 20% of the training to be “off the job”. The training providers will explain practical ways of accommodating this.

Funding arrangements have changed significantly. For employers with fewer than 50 employees, there will be no charge for 16-18-year olds doing a Level 2 or 3 apprenticeship. Employers with 50 or more employees, will pay up to £600 though this will be offset by a bonus totalling £1000 if the learner remains employed for 12 months. Full details are set out in the fact sheet.

Important changes for trainers from BHA handicapping review

Trainers have been contacted directly by the BHA about the outcome of its internal review of handicapping and implementation of the recommendations. The review was led by Lydia Hislop, who consulted with a wide range of individuals including the NTF Chief Executive and trainers.

A summary of the review and its recommendations is on the Members’ Area of the NTF website in the Race Planning section. The headlines are:

  • A new Guide to Handicapping. At the top level of navigation this is elementary, and most trainers will already be familiar with the contents. Find more detail by clicking on “How do handicappers decide on a handicap rating?” and then on “Performance figures” and then “handicapping tools.”
  • A new handicapping appeals system in force from Monday 8th This is to make the process easier for trainers to challenge a handicap mark or the refusal to give one, and will be carried out online through the BHA website. More information on how to appeal and the appeals process can be found on the BHA website. An independent panel who will adjudicate on appeals has been recruited to ensure all appeals are heard fairly.
  • Increased use of data for a more rigorous approach to handicapping practices and the employment of James Willoughby as a data analyst.
  • A modified penalty structure for flat races. Instead of a uniform penalty in handicaps, the penalty for winners aged two and three will be 6 lb, those aged four to six will be 5 lb and those aged seven above will be 4lb.

Three-month trial of “transparent” entries and declarations

Members who came to the summer regional meetings will know about the consultation on the idea of making horses’ names visible at the point of entry and declaration. There was a good deal of debate about the merits at NTF meetings. A majority of trainers were concerned that instead of being more transparent, there was a greater risk of manipulation. It might also favour trainers with the resources to constantly monitor entries and declarations.

After further discussion at the BHA Racing Group, it was decided to hold a three-month trial on Flat AWT only from 1st December 2018 to 28th February 2019. During this period, trainers will be able to see which other horses have entered and declared throughout each process.

At entry stage, trainers can enter and leave races up until the 12pm deadline. Races attracting nine or fewer entries will no longer re-open. At declaration stage, horses must be declared by the usual 10am deadline. Races receiving eight or fewer declarations will no longer be re-offered. Trainers can remove a declared horse from a race before 9:30am.

Trainers will be surveyed following completion of the trial with a view to assessing how a transparent system compares to that which is currently in place. These views will be combined with quantitative information as part of a full review.

Any questions about the trial should be directed to the BHA Racing Department via racing@britishhorseracing.com. Please contact George Noad at the NTF with feedback about your experience of the trial. We will need plenty of sound evidence so that we can represent your views when the trial is assessed next year.

Calling all trainers to take part in a survey about recruitment, training and retention

The NTF is working with the Racing Foundation and the BHA to conduct a survey about recruitment, training and retention of staff. This is a repeat of a survey conducted in 2016, which sought to inform the development of several new services and initiatives, funded by the Racing Foundation. The survey is being repeated now to assess whether the new services and initiatives have had a positive impact and are making a difference to employers. The survey is being carried on the industry’s behalf by independent research company, Public Perspectives Ltd.

All registered trainers will be contacted and asked to take part in the brief telephone survey from late October through to early December. In 2016, 80% of trainers participated and similar levels of engagement are sought this time to ensure the survey reflects the views and experience of all trainers.

Help with checking accommodation offset complies with NMW/NLW

Further to our piece posted on 27th September about trainers receiving correspondence from HMRC regarding the National Minimum Wage, although the racing minimum rates of pay are above the NM/LW, it is important to ensure that any deduction for accommodation does not bring the wage below the NMW.

Detailed guidance on this is available on the NTF website here.  This guidance explains when the employer will be considered by HMRC to be providing the accommodation and the effect on the National Minimum Wage if the employer is making deductions for gas and electricity.     The Government has an interactive calculator for checking if the National Minimum Wage is being paid which includes questions about the provision of accommodation.