This first tab below is a statement made on behalf of The Jockey Club and relates to The Modern Slavery Act 2015 for our financial year ending 31st December 2019.
The second tab outlines our Tax Strategy and how we are committed to meeting our tax compliance obligations.
The third tab is our Section 172 statement.
This statement is made on behalf of The Jockey Club and relates to The Modern Slavery Act 2015 for our financial year ending 31st December 2018. The Jockey Club has a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery of any kind within our operations and supply chain. We all have a responsibility to be alert to the risks, however small, in our business and in the wider supply chain. Our employees are encouraged to report concerns using our Whistle Blowing policy and management are expected to investigate, and where necessary act upon, these concerns.
OUR BUSINESS AND SUPPLY CHAIN
The Jockey Club has been at the heart of British Racing for many years and today is the largest commercial group in the sport, comprised of four main operating brands, which between them mean we are involved in virtually all aspects of the British Racing Industry.
- Jockey Club Racecourses - our racecourse arm
- Jockey Club Estates - our training grounds and estate management
- The National Stud - our breeding and educational arm
- Racing Welfare - our charity
We are also unique for a commercial business in that we don’t make profits for shareholders. Instead we invest all profits back into the sport to support its long term health so British racing will continue to be enjoyed by millions for many years to come. The Jockey Club employs over 600 permanent people in various locations across the UK. In addition, there are thousands of temporary workers employed directly or indirectly by our partners and suppliers to service peaks of high demand at major horse racing meetings and other events.
In recent years sustainable and ethical principles have become increasingly important to us which are reflected in our supply chain. Our products and services are predominantly sourced via UK providers. We also have joint ventures with key providers including catering. We expect the joint venture managements to share our intolerance on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. E.g. Jockey Club Catering is a joint venture with Compass Group UK, an organisation with an equally strong stance.
POLICIES AND CONTRACTUAL CONTROLS
Relevant internal policies include Environmental, Health & Safety, Whistleblowing, Equal Opportunities, Sustainability, Bullying and Harassment, and Purchasing amongst others and provide a means of raising concerns, and as appropriate redress without fear of reprisal. Our management structure for each site ensures that we can directly implement our policies and procedures, conduct appropriate training and monitor compliance.
All Employment Contracts and Casual Worker Agreements since 2016 include reference to MSA15 and The Jockey Club’s compliance with it. All employees who have contracts pre-dating 2016 have received information regarding the Act and particularly drawing attention to the Whistleblowing policy. The information is available in The Jockey Club’s Employee Handbook and on The Jockey Club’s intranet.
Our Group purchasing policy requires evidence of a suppliers’ compliance with MSA15. In 2017 we received confirmation that our top 80% of supplier by spend comply with the Act. Our requirement to comply with the Act has been written in to our standard terms and conditions as well as larger group contracts meaning that all new suppliers are bound by the requirement as well as capturing current suppliers when they renew their contracts. It has been made clear to all suppliers that any breach of our agreement could result in immediate termination of that contract.
We recognise that our suppliers can have complex supply chains and consequently it is challenging to monitor or control the working conditions of individual suppliers. We aim to reduce supply chain complexity to enable easier facilitation of these risk factors. We are assessing which organisations fall in to the highest risk and assessing how best to further challenge these suppliers to ensure they are committed to the Act.
ASSESSMENT OF EFFECTIVENESS IN PREVENTING MODERN SLAVERY
We understand that Modern Slavery risk is not static and will continue to mitigate this risk on an on-going basis.
In addition we will review and assess the effectiveness of our policy annually and take appropriate action, if required.
Areas for consideration:
- Employee training levels
- Supply chain communication
- Supply chain auditing
- Investigations into reports of Modern Slavery and remedial actions taken
- The new supplier form includes a link to MSA information for our suppliers
This statement is made in accordance with Section 54 (1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for the financial year to 31st December 2018.
Signed by Simon Bazalgette, CEO of The Jockey Club
Date: 16th April 2019
The Jockey Club UK Tax Strategy
The Jockey Club is the largest commercial Group in Britain’s second largest spectator sport. It operates 15 of Britain's famous racecourses nationwide, including Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and both the Rowley Mile and July Course in Newmarket, as well as other related enterprises amongst other concerns such as the National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and our charity Racing Welfare.
Our vision is for British horseracing to be the best in the world for many years to come and for the sport to be accessible for millions of people in the UK to enjoy. As an organisation, we are committed to acting with integrity in all our business relationships and this informs our approach to taxation.
Tax compliance and reporting
We are committed to meeting our tax compliance obligations and will seek to apply diligent professional care and judgement in our tax compliance activities. In order to achieve this, we have a well-resourced finance team and work with external advisors as appropriate to provide additional support, ensuring we are kept up-to-date with any legislative changes that may impact these obligations.
Approach to tax planning
Like any other business activity, any action or lack thereof with implications for tax will be considered in light of the potential impact on our reputation. We will not undertake any activities relating to tax, or accept any level of tax risk, that would result in damage to our reputation.
Tax decisions are aligned to business and commercial strategy. We may respond to tax incentives and exemptions where appropriate and in a way that is consistent with HMRC and government policy. As appropriate, we will seek external professional tax advice to ensure we apply these incentives and exemptions legitimately, and if appropriate, we will seek advance clearances with HMRC to ensure we minimise the risk of uncertainty.
Governance and risk management
We understand the importance of having a strong corporate governance framework that ensures the accountability, responsibility and ethical behaviour of The Jockey Club. The board of Stewards and Finance Committee provides oversight in ensuring that tax is considered within the wider context of the business and in how tax risk is managed. Compliance and risk matters, including those concerning taxation, will be included on the agenda at board meetings as appropriate.
The Group Finance Director has oversight and responsibility over The Jockey Club’s approach to tax on a day-to-day basis which includes the identification, prioritisation and monitoring of tax risk across the business, as well as the escalation of tax risk to the board of directors.
The Jockey Club adopts a low risk approach to tax, as with other areas of the business, in line with our established governance and risk framework.
Relationships with Tax Authorities
The Jockey Club is committed to working with HMRC in an open and collaborative manner, much like any other stakeholder of the business. Wherever possible, we will seek to achieve early agreement on issues and we will keep HMRC up to date about any commercial developments and events in our business that may have a tax impact.
We will also seek external advice in respect of any matters of complexity and will work with HMRC to ensure that any differences of opinion in respect of the application of the law are resolved.
This Tax Strategy document
This document meets the requirement for the Group to publish its Tax Strategy as required by section 161 and section 16(2) of Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016. It is effective for the year ended 31 December 2019 and covers all of The Jockey Club’s UK Group companies.
This Tax Strategy has been developed by the Group Finance Director.
Approved by the Board on 5 December 2019.
Section 172 Statement
The Jockey Club operates under Royal Charter with a mandate to consider and promote the wider interests of the sport of horseracing and a number of adjacent activities such as thoroughbred breeding. This Royal Charter was renewed and updated in 2017 to reflect the Club’s status and role in the sport, as well as the critical responsibilities that it now fulfils as the sport’s largest commercial operator. This follows the transfer of regulatory and governance powers to the British Horseracing Authority in the early 2000s.
The success of The Jockey Club, and therefore the extent to which The Board of Stewards (referred to hereafter as ‘The Board’) have discharged their duties to The Jockey Club are measured against the above mandate. It is only with a successful commercial operating model that the Jockey Club can continue to function effectively and all stakeholder interests are considered in making key decisions around this.
Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 requires Directors, in the case of the Jockey Club the Board (and by delegation the Executive Management team), to take into consideration the interests of stakeholders and other matters in their decision making. The Board has regard to the interests of the Group’s employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, the impact of its activities on the community, the environment and the Group’s reputation for good business conduct. In this context, acting in good faith and fairly, the Board considers what is most likely to promote the success of the Jockey Club for its members and in accordance with its Charter, in the long term. We explain in this annual report, and below, how the Board engages with stakeholders.
- Relations with key stakeholders such as employees, shareholders and suppliers are considered in more detail below.
- The Board is fully aware of its responsibilities to promote the success of the Group in accordance with section 172 of the Companies Act 2006.
- The nature of the Jockey Club’s Royal Charter, and the way that the Board has discharged its duties in this regard, is considered to be consistent with the underlying objectives of Section 172: to operate in line with good corporate practice. More formally, Section 172 is now to be included as a specific consideration when making key decisions at Board and Executives meetings. Legal Counsel and the Company Secretary will provide support to the Stewards and Executives to help ensure that sufficient consideration is given to issues relating to the matters set out in s172(1)(a)-(f).
- The Board regularly reviews the Jockey Club’s principal stakeholders and how it engages with them. This is achieved through information provided by the Executive team and also, within the Racing industry, by direct engagement with stakeholders themselves.
- We aim to work responsibly with our stakeholders, including suppliers. The Board continues to have a diligent adoption policy for statutory measures which most recently have included anti-corruption and anti-bribery, equal opportunities and whistleblowing policies, the Corporate Criminal Offences Act and IR35.
Approach to engagement with stakeholders
- The Jockey Club is able to take a long term view and this approach is reflected also in the engagement with the various stakeholders expected to be impacted by the Board’s decisions. As part of this, the Board maintains an ethos of being held to the highest possible standards of corporate conduct.
- The Board is in regular communication with all key racing stakeholders (e.g. RCA, BHA, The Horsemen’s Group) to gauge potential views and reactions to important decisions made that impact across the industry. The Jockey Club also engages with a range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to, employees, sponsors, residents in areas where Jockey Club racecourses operate, suppliers, media and commercial partners.
Approach to engagement with stakeholders (continued)
- The Board engages with all of the above stakeholders either directly or through the Jockey Club’s various management teams, at formal industry and other events, on racedays at JCR courses and elsewhere and through various industry forums.
- There are Employee Days, ‘Town Hall’ sessions and team meetings across the Group which allow employees to voice any suggestions and concerns they may have. The Board and management also engage regularly with suppliers, media partners and sponsors, as well as taking feedback from customers. In addition, the Board and management foster strong relationships across all our locations with both Local Authorities, including individual councillors, and the local community in general via trade bodies, community groups and other relevant forums.
Key Board Decisions
During the year, the Board of Stewards made a number of key decisions which are considered to be in the interests of the overall success of The Jockey Club and the wider sport. These decisions have impacts on certain stakeholder groups that have, to the extent considered appropriate by the Board, been reflected in the decision-making process.
Prize Money Executive Contribution
The level of Prize Money contribution we make into our race programme is one of the most material decisions that the Board takes in any year. This impacts on the competitiveness of our business in attracting the best runners at each level of racing to our racecourses, and provides direct and indirect financial support to owners, trainers, jockeys, horsemen and their own employees. We aim to strike a balance between ensuring our leading races and festivals maintain their global status and competitiveness in horse racing, while ensuring that we are supporting all levels of the ownership and breeding industry at both small and large racecourses.
Our decision on Prize Money contribution is traded off against other competing priorities for the Group, such as investments into property infrastructure at our racecourses, which are required to maintain the highest level of sporting and customer experience and safety for racing participants and spectators alike.
In 2019 our Prize Money decision was made in the context of a significant reduction in media rights income that year as a result of LBO closures. We nevertheless made the decision not to adjust Prize Money materially and to maintain contributions at a sustainable level, as the Board considered the views of racing stakeholders, as well as the likely overall economic impact on the industry as a whole. This decision will need to be revisited later in 2020 in light of the impacts of Covid-19 on the business.
Use of Group Property Assets
The Board continuously reviews the best use of Group assets. Where land assets are considered non-sacrosanct, the Board considers development opportunities. Projects at both Sandown Park and Kempton Park were considered during the year. Both projects involve the potential development of Green Belt land and would yield significant capital receipts to fund material developments to various elements of the infrastructure of our racecourses.
In addition to discussions within Racing, extensive consultations with local interest groups have been carried out by management on both projects. The Board took decisions during the year on both projects which it believes fairly took into account local stakeholder needs, but ultimately prioritised the Jockey Club’s mission to act for the long term good of the sport.
In the case of Kempton Park, the decision was to submit alternate planning proposals that would not require a full sale of the Kempton site but would still involve a material capital receipt from redevelopment. These have received a positive reaction throughout the racing industry. In the case of Sandown, a planning application process is in progress.
Approval of 2020 Budget and Five Year Plan
In approving the Annual Group Budget and Five Year Plan, the Board (and the Finance Review Committee) carried out a detailed review of the various commercial drivers and sensitivities in the business, including forecast admissions and hospitality performance and developments in the betting industry which have had negative impacts on the business.
The Board also considered continued investment in our employees, awarding a business-wide wage increase and in signing off specific budgets for training, employee medical and other benefits and a Diversity & Inclusion programme.
The interests of racing stakeholders were also inherent in agreed investment in prize money (above) and other racecourse facilities.
The above considerations were given in the context of ensuring ongoing bank covenant compliance, commitments to the Group’s Defined Benefit Pension Scheme, investment in customer experience and continued capital expenditure.
Some material elements of the Five Year Plan will need to be revisited later in 2020 in light of the impacts of Covid-19 on the business.