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23 March 2023 — Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Commissioners

Minutes of the meeting of the Board, Thursday 23 March 2023.

Location: Meeting at Gambling Commission, Victoria Square House, and via Microsoft Teams.


  • Marcus Boyle (Chair)
  • John Baillie (JB)
  • Carol Brady (CB)
  • Stephen Cohen (SC)
  • Trevor Pearce (TP) (via Teams)
  • David Rossington (DR)
  • Catharine Seddon (CS) (via Teams)

Executive team:

  • Andrew Rhodes (AR)
  • Sarah Gardner (SG)
  • Helen Child (HC)
  • Lucy Denton (LD)
  • Helen Gibson (HG)
  • Tim Miller (TM)
  • Nadine Pemberton Jn Baptiste (NPJB)
  • Alastair Quigley (AQ)
  • Kay Roberts (KR)
  • John Tanner (JT)

Other participants:

  • (REDACTED) (notes)
  • (REDACTED) (item 3 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 3 only)
  • (REDACTED) (BDO, Item 4 only)
  • (REDACTED) (BDO, Item 4 only)
  • (REDACTED) (BDO, Item 4 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 7 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 7 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 7 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 7 only)
  • (REDACTED) (items 8 and 9)
  • (REDACTED) (items 8 and 9)
  • (REDACTED) (item 9 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 9 only)
  • (REDACTED) (items 9 only)
  • (REDACTED) (item 9 only)


  • (REDACTED) (item 4 only)
  • (REDACTED) (items 7 and 8)
  • (REDACTED) (item 7 only)

Apologies: None

1. Welcome, apologies and declarations of interest

The Chair welcomed all attendees. No apologies were received and there were no new declarations of interest noted.

The Chair noted enforcement action published today, and the changes to the Board agenda with a longer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) report introducing other items.

2. Minutes, actions and forward look

The minutes of the meeting held on 2 February 2023 were agreed as a true record.

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2023 were agreed as a true record.

The minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2023 were resubmitted to Board as a request was received from the 3NL team for a revision to the agreed minutes. Board approved the changes.

The actions log and the forward look were not discussed.

3. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) update

(REDACTED) and (REDACTED) The Head of Organisational Development and Transformation and the Interim Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Change Manager joined the meeting to present an update on the development of the D&I Strategy. Board is asked to note the advancement of the strategy development and continued efforts to promote inclusivity.

The Board noted the paper and commented on the following key points:

  • the shift from disability committed to disability compliant was welcomed and Board noted that this would be an upgrade to the accreditation currently held
  • training for interview panel members is intended to both increase the pool of interviewers available and offer opportunity to colleagues across the Gambling Commission.

On next steps, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) noted that a new Director of People Services has been appointed and will need to engage with this work, which will influence the development timeline. It was proposed that a full strategy will be presented to Board in June 2023.

4. Board Effectiveness Review (BER)

The Chair introduced the Board Effectiveness Review (BER) and advised that the report has also been submitted to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Chair had been asked about the BER report in his introductory meeting with the new Minister. The Chair confirmed that the recommendations are accepted, and Board are focused on delivery against the actions. The Chair noted that there is a recommendation for a facilitated workshop and there is a decision to be made about the timing of this given the ongoing recruitment of new Commissioners.

HC confirmed that the Gambling Commission has identified an organisation who can deliver a facilitated workshop focused on ways of working for the Board and Executive Team. An outline proposal has been received and scoping meetings are to be arranged. No formal appointment has been made for the delivery of this work so other options will be considered to find the right fit.

BDO (an accountancy firm) (REDACTED) and (REDACTED) joined the meeting and (REDACTED) one of the Governance Managers joined as an observer. BDO thanked the Board and Executive Team for their engagement and openness throughout the review process. In summary, BDO noted that there was a strong foundation of good governance in place, but the review identified that work is needed to embed changes.

BDO noted four key themes in their findings:

  • rebuilding relationships
  • development of a workable strategy
  • performance reporting and monitoring
  • the role of commissioners, board, committees and the Executive Team.

The Board discussed the report.


Board agreed to accept the report and the recommendations. Board agreed that the BER recommendations should be monitored by the Board.

Action: Governance Team to include BER updates to the Board forward look.

5. Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO’s) report

The CEO introduced the report.


Board discussed the report.


Board welcomed the detailed analysis of the shifts in the market and asked about the Gambling Commission’s membership of the Institute of Regulation. TM noted that the value of membership is growing, and SG noted the opportunity to engage with other regulators on specific issues. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) advised that he and the Chair have been looking at briefing sessions to give Board broader context and visibility of topics of interest with a focus on horizon scanning on a quarterly basis.

Board requested an update on internationalisation.

Action: TM and (REDACTED) to provide a short update to Board on international engagement.

On the colleague engagement score and comparison with other organisations, Board noted that the Commission does not complete the Civil Service Survey. The Great Place to Work survey groups the Commission with a range of different types of organisations.

The Chair introduced the Operational Transformation work as an update for information.


Board noted the report.

6. Chair’s report

The Chair updated Board on his Connect session on 22 March, which had been well attended. TP attended along with MB and there was good engagement. CS will attend MB’s next Connect session.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) noted the success of the Setting the Evidence Agenda conference and the Commission Story event and encouraged Commissioners to attend future events where possible.

7. Business Plan and Budget

HG introduced the item noting that Board are invited to approve the external Business Plan, Budget, and Reserves Policy.

(REDACTED) The Senior Manager for Strategy introduced the Business Plan, noting one amendment – the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Strategy is currently noted as core regulatory work but it will be described as a strategic deliverable in its own right. HG noted plans to cascade the business plan are being developed with the Comms Team. It is proposed that progress will be discussed with the Board every quarter to review progress against the Business Plan and financial performance against the budget.

Board discussed the Business Plan.


In respect of London accommodation, Board noted that the Victoria Street offices close at the end of September 2023 and work is ongoing with the Government Property Agency (GPA) to identify possible touchdown space in central London. The Gambling Commission will not have a London office but does need flexible desk space whilst attending meetings in London.

Board agreed the Business Plan, Budget and the Reserves Policy.

The Chair thanked the team for their work and DR for his scrutiny of the process.

8. Gambling Act Review


9. Consultations


10. Finance report

(REDACTED) The Head of Finance presented the Finance report for the period ending 31 January 2023.


11. National Lottery Licence Competition (NLCC) and Fourth National Lottery Licence (4NL) update


12. Committee Assurance Reports

Audit and Risk Committee

There were no questions on the report.

Board noted that the Committee had a useful session on cybersecurity which gave good assurance on the Gambling Commission’s practical approach.

AQ confirmed that the release of applications to work devices is controlled – and therefore the recent news in respect of TikTok does not impact on the Commission.

LD confirmed that the Communications Team does not use TikTok.


Remuneration and Nominations Committee

The Committee noted the movement in the Great Place to Work survey results and the work that People Services have completed in respect of operational outcomes in the Reset theme.


13. Any other business

The Chair noted the actions and asked CS to comment on the Connect session for International Women’s Day. This focused on gambling harm experienced by women.


LD noted that Commissioners will be invited to attend or contribute to the planned Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) calendar events. Commissioners are encouraged to get involved and Lucy advised that the team look for opportunities for further engagement. KR offered the opportunity to spend time with the Operational Team.

NPJB suggested that observers at Board meetings could be invited to join the lunch session.

Feedback on the meeting was positive with all business covered in a full way. Board observed that the papers were very clear and that has led to less questions so do want to ensure that people are aware that that is the view.

Board agreed that they preferred the longer format Chief Executive Officer's (CEO's) report.


14. Private Session for Commissioners and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

The private session was not minuted.

Date of the Next Board Meeting: Thursday 8 June 2023.

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