New SNELL skull cap standard

SNELL have developed a new skull cap standard – E2016 – which the BHA intends to add to the list of skull cap standards permitted in the rules.

Manufacture of the E2001 standard ceased in 2018 and this standard will remain on the permitted list for the time being while stocks are held in shops. Because the maximum lifetime of a skull cap is four to five years, the BHA envisages 2023/24 as a probable date to withdraw the E2001 standard from the rules.

If a hat with an E2001 label also has PAS 011 or the other current standard, it will remain acceptable even when SNELL E2001 has gone.

Update from the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group

The British Racing and Breeding industries, represented by the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group, hope that a Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and European Union can be reached in the coming weeks. Any implementation period following a withdrawal agreement would, for example, see a continuation of the current free movement of thoroughbreds between Britain, Ireland and France until at least December 2020 with work proceeding on longer-term arrangements beyond any such period. However, we are making no assumptions and therefore ruling out no scenarios.

As such, we are increasing our preparations for the event of the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March without a deal. We will be communicating further and formally with our stakeholders and participants over the next month with practical guidance and advice, and continue our regular contact with UK Government, colleagues elsewhere in the horse sector, and the Irish and French thoroughbred industries, in particular.

We have had productive discussions with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the last two weeks and are encouraged by the level of ‘no deal’ planning in place.

An online hub to provide guidance to industry participants on what to do as the UK leaves the EU has been set up on the BHA website (https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/brexit/), collating industry relevant information which is regularly updated as further advice from government departments becomes available.

Julian Richmond-Watson, Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) and of the British Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group, said:

“With continuing uncertainty around the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is only right that the thoroughbred industries prepare for all scenarios, including a No Deal which we hope can be avoided. We have been very encouraged by our engagement with Government around preparations for a No Deal, and endorse its stance that current systems for horse movement into the UK will continue in these circumstances.”

Thoroughbred movement

We would reiterate that the UK Government has made clear that in the event of no deal, thoroughbreds will still be able travel freely into the UK from Ireland and France, as current systems will be replicated. These current systems under the pre-existing Tripartite Agreement work well and have evolved over decades. They facilitate and foster growing international competition and allow for smooth and efficient trade, most importantly prioritising the welfare of our horses and reflecting their high health, high welfare status.

We fully support and lobbied for this position adopted by the UK Government as the pragmatic and right thing to do and to minimise unnecessary disruption.

The UK’s third country status post-Brexit

We have recently had confirmation from the Government that if the UK does leave the EU without a deal then it will be treated as a third country, and in order to be prepared for all possible outcomes, the UK Government has submitted its application for listing as a third country to continue exporting live animals and animal products to the EU after Brexit. The Commission’s recently published Contingency Action Plan states that: “On the basis of the EU veterinary legislation, the Commission will – if justified – swiftly ʻlistʼ the United Kingdom [as a third country], if all applicable conditions are fulfilled, so as to allow the entry of live animals and animal products from the United Kingdom into the European Union”.

We understand that the technical discussions between Defra officials and the European Commission are currently ongoing and are hopeful that they will reach a positive and timely conclusion. Upon the UK achieving such listing the process for thoroughbreds returning or travelling to, for instance, Ireland or France, will become clearer, and the relevant guidance will be provided.

Transport

The Government’s priority continues to be to secure a deal which maintains the current, liberalised access arrangements for transporters, and in the meantime is working to ensure the UK is ready for all exit scenarios.

There was a significant concern within the industry that the administrative barriers that the EU could apply for transporters as the UK becomes a third country would add to the challenges with the movement of horses in the event of a no deal. The European Commission however has recently published proposals that would allow UK hauliers to continue carrying goods into the EU until the end of 2019 if there is no deal, without the need for an ECMT permit. The UK Government has welcomed the proposal as a positive step forward for UK hauliers and intends to reciprocate.

Additional requirements for road travel within the EU for UK citizens and registered companies remains likely, whether in the short or medium term, and seeking clarity on the practicalities for companies and individuals transporting thoroughbreds continues to be a priority area for the Steering Group.  We will provide a further update in this area as soon as there is greater clarity.

Stud Book Recognition

As of 1 November 2018, a new EU regulation came into place for horses coming from Non-EU countries. This legislation states that, if a Stud Book or Breed Society from a third country is not listed as being permitted to trade with the EU, horses of that country are not allowed to enter any EU country or to be registered in that country.

Weatherbys has lodged an application with Defra for submission to the EU Commission for the General Stud Book to be recognised by the EU Commission and to be added to its list of breeding bodies. In requesting a listing, we agree to respect the legal right of entry in the General Stud Book of Thoroughbreds from stud books in EU Member States.

European Union citizens working in the British thoroughbred industry
The UK Government has launched a website outlining details of the EU Settlement Scheme for European Union citizens, and their families, to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 with either settled or pre-settled status. The application process opens in full on 30 March 2019 and further guidance will be provided in advance of that date.

The Steering Group has been making representations, with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to the ongoing Migration Advisory Committee process to ensure as far as possible that the requirements of our industry of the future UK immigration system are satisfied. This includes a submission to the recently closed consultation on the composition of the Shortage Occupation List to apply for the Racing industry to be returned to the list. If that were to happen, it would mean that those wishing to come to the UK to work in the racing industry could be processed far more quickly.

Notes to Editors:

1. Useful links

UK Government – Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families

Lycetts Team Champion Award presentation at Institute of Directors on 28 February

In a change to last year’s AGM format, the Lycetts Team Champion Award presentation ceremony will begin at 4.00pm at the Institute of Directors following the AGM lunch. To celebrate the winners, there will be a drinks reception after the presentations.

This allows us to use the space in the beautiful Nash Room at the IoD for our members’ meeting and make best use of the staging and audio-visual facilities. The break for lunch enables the IoD staff to change the room layout for the awards.

Congratulations to the yards that reached the shortlist to be a Lycetts Team Champion winner. Yard visits to the following trainers are underway:

40+ horses Fewer than 40 horses
Andrew Balding Nick Alexander
Tom Dascombe Dan Kubler
Warren Greatrex Jedd O’Keeffe
Richard Hughes Richard Phillips

All trainers whose yards have been awarded a star rating under the award system are now on display on the award page on the NTF website here. The 2019 award logos have been produced will be sent to each trainer whose yard earned a rating in the current award year.

Making plans for your EU workers

With Brexit arrangements still in the air, we set out below some guidance on what employers should be thinking about regarding their EU workers and news about the Government EU settlement scheme.

You should consider carrying out an audit of your workforce to understand who is affected by Brexit and include in that audit their family members to ensure that if anyone needs any advice or assistance they know where to go – the Government website at https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families provides detailed information.

In the event of no deal, any employees who do not have formal documents showing their residency who are travelling back to the UK on or after 30th March this year, should take evidence of their qualified status, e.g. their contract of employment.

The EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme allows EU citizens to apply for settled status once they have completed 5 continuous years in the UK with pre-settled status in other cases.

Applications to the Scheme open on 21st January 2019 to EU citizens and their non-EU citizen family members who hold a valid Biometric residence card; it will be fully open from 30th March 2019. Anyone currently living in the UK who is an EU citizen will have to apply to it by 30th June 2021 to be allowed to stay in the country, even if they are married to a British citizen.   Adults will need to apply on behalf of their children.

The Government has waived the proposed application fee.

Irish Citizens, those with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE) or those born in the UK who have at least one parent with settled status do not need to apply.

Successful applications will be granted either settled or pre-settled status. Settled status will grant the person the same rights to healthcare, education, benefits and pensions as a British citizen – this is open to people who have lived in the UK for five years by the end of 2020.

Pre-settled status is available for someone from an EU country who lives in the UK but has not been here for five years – this allows the person to stay in the UK until they reach five years, when they will need to claim settled status.

To apply under the Settlement Scheme, applicants will need to fill in a form online, via post or a smartphone app (at present this is Android only).

It is unclear what will happen in the event of a no deal Brexit although the Government has said that it will guarantee rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK.

If an employee is applying or intends to apply for naturalisation as a British Citizen, one point of note is that if they apply under the current EEA Permanent Residency scheme, their permanent residency can be backdated to the point at which they completed five years in the UK whereas under the new Settlement Scheme it cannot be backdated.

Younger staff going racing – advice about gaining parents’ consent

As part of discussions with the BHA regarding safeguarding, we have developed a consent form for trainers to use if sending under 18s away racing which involves an overnight stay.  Having spoken to a number of yards, we believe that under 18s are not sent away overnight very often and, of course, there are strict limits on their working time.  However, if you do have an under 18 staying away in the course of their work, then it would be good safeguarding practice to obtain consent from their parent or carer.

We have put on our website three template documents – one whereby the trainer seeks consent from the employee to contact their parent or carer, and two template forms for parents’ consent – one is where the trainer wishes to obtain global consent to any stays and the other is where the trainer will obtain consent but notify the parent or carer on each occasion of the details of the away stay.

You should ensure that anyone, whether under 18 or not, going racing is aware of who to contact if they have any concerns about the accommodation provided – it may seem obvious but a young or inexperienced employee may not be aware of what they should expect and who to speak with about any problems.    A young worker under 18 should not be required to share accommodation with anyone unless it is someone known to them and appropriate for them to share with –they should also have explicitly confirmed they are happy to share with that person.

As such it is important that if booking overnight accommodation for an under 18, you notify the racecourse on the booking form of the age of the employee and that single accommodation is needed or if they are sharing who from your yard they are sharing with.

How our Charitable Trust supports staff training

An interesting aspect of 2016 The Racing Foundation survey on racing staff training and development was the finding that many employers did not believe there was a demand for staff training whereas the staff expressed the desire for more opportunities to train.

This demand is witnessed by the NTF Charitable Trust, which provides grants for employees to learn new skills. There is a particular focus on people who want to stay in racing after an accident has prevented them continuing their current role.

The NTFCT’s grants are managed through Racing Welfare’s Careers Advice and Training Service (CATS – https://racingwelfare.co.uk/services/careers-advice-training-service/) You can view a short promotional film of CATS case studies on Youtube.

Guidance on postponing a disciplinary of grievance meeting

Employees have the right to be accompanied by a union representative or a work colleague at a formal disciplinary or grievance meeting.

What happens if their chosen companion is not available for the date and time scheduled for the meeting?

Generally, the advice is to re-arrange the meeting to an alternative date; legislation provides that the employer only need agree to the postponement if the new date is within five working days of the original date.

However, a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employer acted unreasonably by refusing to postpone a rescheduled disciplinary hearing by 10 days so that the employee’s chosen trade union representative could attend.

This refusal to postpone for a short time rendered the subsequent dismissal procedurally unfair even though it was not in breach of the relevant legislation.

This finding was fact-sensitive to this particular case and it does not mean that an employer should always agree to a postponement in such circumstances. It does show the importance of acting reasonably and that to do so may involve a greater degree of flexibility in the process than the legislation requires.