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21 November 2019 - Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners

Location: Victoria Square House, Birmingham (Boardroom)


  • Bill Moyes
  • John Baillie
  • Carol Brady
  • Stephen Cohen
  • Trevor Pearce
  • Jonathan Scott
  • Catharine Seddon

Executive directors:

  • Sarah Gardner
  • Paul Hope
  • Neil McArthur
  • Tim Miller
  • Richard Watson

In attendance:

  • (REDACTED) (Board Secretary)
  • Oliver Sweeney (Legal)
  • (REDACTED) (notes)
  • Plus attendees for specific items

External attendees:

  • (REDACTED) (CEO, Howard League)
  • (REDACTED) (Director of Campaigns, Howard League)


  • Sarika Patel
  • John Tanner
  • Helen Venn

Commissioner and CEO session

This was minuted separately. Executive Group members joined the meeting after the Commissioner and CEO session.

Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

There were no declarations of interest.

1. Minutes, rolling actions, forward look and Chair’s business

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 October 2019 were approved.

The rolling actions were reviewed and updated.

The Board forward look was reviewed.

Bill Moyes updated the Board on the Chair’s business, in particular:

  • meeting with Chair of GambleAware on 13 November 2019: this was a very useful conversation, mainly focusing on how to reshape RET responsibilities and funding
  • meeting with Sir Hugh Robertson on 20 November 2019: this was a good meeting – the Chair pressed him on what OTTP are doing to replace the vacancy on the Board.

2. Commencement of Social Responsibility Code 3.5.5 (GamStop) Resolution to amend the quorum provisions of the Corporate Governance Framework

The Board noted the paper.

3. Proposals emerging from BER

The Board noted the paper.

Board and Executive team roles and responsibilities:

The Board Secretary has reviewed the debates of the Gambling Bill in Hansard and looked at the role of “commissioners” in a range of other organisations. Her findings are that the term Commissioner is used without discipline and that we should agree to use the term Commissioner for our purposes to equate to the role of a Non-Executive Director (NED) but with the roles identified in the Gambling Act.

Finance and Performance Committee (F&PC):

  • the proposal had incorporated feedback given in the Board workshop on this topic in September
  • membership of F&PC should be increased to a minimum of four Commissioners
  • The Chair will come back to Board with an adjustment of Committee memberships to ensure the right skill set for each Committee
  • mapping of F&PC meetings has been carried out by the Board Secretary on top of the current Board meeting scheduling framework, with a flow through of F&PC meetings with the option to escalate to A&RC if need and then to Board. The Commission’s annual report and other critical timings have been factored into the schedule
  • it will be critical that the Chairs of F&PC and A&RC have regular meetings to maintain clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • the revised terms of reference for existing committees were examined, and it was recommended that overall pay remit should be added to Remuneration Committee.

The Board approved:

  • consultation on the recruitment of legally qualified adjudicators to sit on Regulatory Panels
  • the creation of Finance & Performance Committee (F&PC) and an associated reduction in the number of Board meetings
  • the proposed terms of reference for F&PC to be established, and the associated changes to the terms of reference for Audit & Risk Committee and Remuneration Committee to be updated.

Action: Governance to action all of the previous bullet points.

4. Society Lottery Reforms

The Board noted the paper.

5. Governance update: proposed amendment to the Commissioner and Employees Codes of Conduct; NLCC Terms of Reference

The Board noted the paper.

Changes to code of conduct: the Board rejected the proposal on the grounds that is cleaner for the Commission to pay for any costs associated with conferences or events. The Governance Team were asked to clarify this in the Code of Conduct.

Actions: Governance to communicate this and review any recent invitations. NLCC Terms of Reference (ToR): the Board noted the paper and agreed the proposed revised ToR subject to one amendment: in the absence of current Chair, the back-up Chair should be another Commissioner rather than the SRO. Governance to action publication of revised NLCC ToR.

6. Crime and Problem Gambling

Tim Miller introduced the CEO and Director of Campaigns from Howard League (HL) and thanked them for coming to the meeting.

The Director of Campaigns presented a slide deck on their Commission on Crime and Problem Gambling (CCPG) to the Board (available in the Diligent Board Reading Room).

A discussion session took place between the Board and HL, with points highlighted as follows:

  • the CCPG will focus on crime, and not too broadly across mental health, but may consider mental health should any evidence suggest a link to diminished responsibility in relation to gambling-related crime
  • the first CCPG Board meeting was held in June 2019 when an initial call for written evidence was issued; responses have been received from a wide range of sectors, albeit in low numbers, and with gaps from the prison service and criminal justice stakeholders
  • the CCPG will focus on engagement with the Ministry of Justice as the key ministry, but they are also keeping DCMS informed of the work they are undertaking
  • the CCPG are not dealing with children at this stage, but CCPG thinking about returning to the Gambling Commission at some stage to discuss working on children and gambling-related crime
  • the next CCPG meeting will take place in February 2020 which will plan the collection of further data and research
  • it would be extremely helpful if the Commission’s CEO and relevant Executive Directors could give evidence to the CCPG post purdah
  • this piece of work is very welcome. The Gambling Commission is keen not to wait until the final report before taking any action. The earliest product from the CCPG will be a literature review that will be available to the Gambling Commission in February/March 2020
  • The Chair thanked the CEO and Director of Campaigns for their contribution and welcomed the offer to hear more about their work in 2020.

7. National Lottery Competition Committee update, including policy positions following market and other engagement and 8. 4NLC Commercial Strategy including Draft Licence and Invitation to Apply (ITA)

The Board noted the paper (covering both agenda items 7 and 8) which is a programme update and provides assurance on work the 4NLC team are doing to finalise draft ITA material to issue for further market engagement.

As part of the Governance process for 4NLC, NLCC reviewed progress on 5 November 2019 and were content to continue the plan.

9 Finance report

The Board noted the Finance report.

10 Quarterly Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Report

The Board noted the paper, documenting stakeholder and engagement activity for the last quarter, highlighting the following:

  • priorities for the next three business months
  • there is more of a focus on engaging with Operators who are falling short
  • Comms is working more closely with Governance to join up work across the Commission as part of the CEO’s Private Office
  • Commissioner engagement with Operators does not always need to be at their Board meetings, it can also be in smaller groups and/or at different locations. Comms are trying to involve other Board members in addition to the Chair and CEO
  • new Commissioners will need an induction programme to include stakeholder engagement and should go to events as a group (also to include current Board members). In particular, visits to treatment centres, for example, to understand the treatment process and people with lived experience
  • the MHP (Trading Division of Engine Partners) Perceptions Audit will be presented at a future Board meeting
  • there will be a newsletter for all parliamentarians from January 2020 and Comms will revisit the current industry engagement newsletter.

Action: Governance to commence planning of induction for new Commissioners, working with Comms on Stakeholder engagement dates.

11. Any Other Business

11.1 Further items for discussion by exception only.

National Lottery Committee update:

The Board noted the report.

Regulatory Settlements update: the Board approved the Commission’s work on regulatory settlements as follows:

  • make available information on the Commission website collating the data about the destinations of regulatory settlement and documents, and explaining the process for organisations seeking regulatory settlements, as soon as possible in line with the restrictions of purdah
  • include information about projects funded by regulatory settlements in the next iteration of the National Strategy implementation documents to demonstrate how these projects fit within the overall work to reduce gambling harms
  • continue to approve proposed destinations for outstanding regulatory settlements; there are a number that will be finalised and published after the election period
  • consider any recommendations for improvements to the regulatory settlement system which should be made over time. This will include consideration of the evaluations of regulatory settlements projects that are being conducted by the relevant organisations.

12. SID only session including feedback on Chair’s appraisal

Not minuted.

13. Commissioner only session including Chair’s objectives and review of the meeting

Not minuted.

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