Industry review calls for urgent changes

  • A full report examining the way in which British equestrian sport is managed is deeply critical of the lack of co-operation between member bodies of the British Equestrian Federation and a shortage of commercial skills.

    The “Diagnostic Review”, compiled by Deloitte & Touche at a cost of more than £110,000, was funded mainly by UK Sport with a view to helping the BEF and its member bodies to work more efficiently and increase the profile of equestrianism in the UK.

    Submitted in December and circulated around UK Sport, the BEF and its member bodies (MBs), the review’s contents were kept secret while discussions began about how to act on it. However, Horse & Hound has obtained a copy of the report and can exclusively reveal its findings.

    Main findings at a glance

    • Current structure is insular, fragmented and dogged by slow and inefficient decision-making
    • The member bodies (MBs) are fiercely independent, protective of their roles/jobs
    • A central company should be set up to handle “shared services” such as insurance, intranet, membership data and publications. There is currently a lot of unnecessary duplication
    • Boards (of both BEF and MBs) should shrink to between five and 10 members and set up a register of interests to guard against conflicts; board members do not always have appropriate skills and experience
    • No clear consensus of roles and responsibilities between BEF and MBs, and much mistrust. Minimum standards and a contract must be drawn up to clarify; any MB that won’t co-operate may have to be downgraded to associate membership
    • Too many diverse MBs dilute BEF’s focus. It’s recommended that BETA and ABRS should be reclassified as new “associate members”
    • BEF only represents 7% of UK riders; there is a need to engage with the estimated two million unaffiliated sector and thus capitalise on “One Stop” government funding
    • Multiple marketing, PR and commercial activities lack central co-ordination and need exploiting across the federation. Sometimes they currently compete against each other for the same business
    • Urgent “self-investment” in Stoneleigh’s staff required
    • Suitability of Stoneleigh headquarters should be reviewed; they lack impact and do not encourage MB staff to mix

    Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s in depth review of the report and what the findings mean for Britain’s equine bodies, in the current issue of Horse & Hound (25 March 2004).

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