The British Horseracing Board (BHB) has announced an independentinquiry into staffing in stables and studs, focusing on recruitment, training, employment and career development.
The commission of five will be headed by Lord Donoughue, minister for farming and food from 1997-1999 and former chairman of the BHB committee on VAT. The other members of the team include Alan Byrne, consultant to Godolphin and former Editor of the Racing Post, and Ian Barlow, senior partner in the London office of KPMG.
Lord Donoughue says: “Our review will be extensive and I am confident that our eventual recommendations will help racing to work towards improving its appeal as a career. This is an urgent issue – stable staff are the industry’s future.”
The decision to hold a commission at a time when the welfare of stud and stable staff has been pointedly publicised in the media and when an ever-expanding fixture list is set against a shortage of labour was broadly welcomed.
Bill Adams, secretary of the Stable Lads Association, says the setting up of the commission “shows that the sport is going the right way towards addressing vital issues”.
Philip Freedman, chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, notes: “We are particularly aware of the need for career opportunities to exist throughout the working life of stud staff.”
No fixed period has been allocated for the inquiry, which Peter Savill, chairman of the BHB, said will be dealing with an area that “hasn’t been given enough priority”.
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