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Minutes for SIG meeting (Scotland) - 20 February 2020

Time: 12:45 – 15:30

Location: Robertson Trust, Bath St, Glasgow G2 4TB

Chair: Phil Mackie (PH) (Scottish Public Health Network).


  • Mike Callaghan (MC) (COSLA)
  • Ann Conacher (AC) (Scottish Public Health Network)
  • Steve Conroy (SC) (NHS Lanarkshire)
  • Cath Cooney (CC) (Advisory Board for Safer Gambling)
  • Morris Fraser (MF) (Scottish Government)
  • Michelle Gillies (MG) (Scottish Public Health Network)
  • Inspector Kenny Ramsay (KR) (Police Scotland)
  • Helen Rhodes (HR) (Gambling Commission)

Gambling Commission staff names other than for Leadership Team members have been redacted. The names of other attendees at the meeting who are no longer associated with their organisations as at end of March 2021 have been redacted.

1. Introduction

The National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms was launched in June 2019 with partners in Scotland. It sets out two strategic priorities of prevention and education and treatment and support, alongside four Strategy enablers (regulation and oversight, collaboration, evaluation and research to inform action). The National Strategy website sets out the content of the strategy, and updates relating to key progress is available in the News section of the website.

Following discussions about how to coordinate engagement, it was agreed that initially relevant public sector bodies would come together to discuss the formation of implementation groups and how to engage and work with wider range of stakeholders, including the third sector, academic community, lived experience, consumers etc.

The aims of the meeting were to discuss the remit and membership of an implementation group in Scotland and review the implementation actions currently underway in Scotland. The group also discussed priority next steps.

2. The role of an implementation group in Scotland

There was a consensus that an ongoing group was required, over and above existing forums and groups, and that the timing was right for the group to come together in Scotland.

It was agreed that the remit of the group would be to act as a coordination and support group, providing oversight and challenge. The group will seek to embed gambling within the work of the representative organisations, rather that it be seen as an ‘add on’.

The group discussed some core principles of membership, which included:

  • to not seek to be representative of all bodies that have a delivery role
  • the group would seek to have a membership that would include statutory and public bodies, and those third sector bodies which are intermediaries to those delivery bodies
  • members need to have the levers to make change, with the support of the group.

Additional members are likely to include:

  • organisations not able to attend the meeting – CMO’s office, DPH Glasgow and SOLACE
  • the ALLIANCE, due to its fairly unique position in Scotland. It was noted however that this does not replace direct lived experience input, which is something the group will aim for, and will be a priority discussion for the next meeting
  • academics, following a similar approach whereby they are represented by an umbrella representative, rather than needing to represent themselves
  • the important role of the third sector was also noted
  • the group recognised that GambleAware are carrying out work in Scotland, and while they would not be included in this model as a core member, the group agreed that it will engage with them and other stakeholders as appropriate.

The Scottish Government representative will be confirmed in due course.

Agreement on remit and membership, as well as consideration of who the group’s key stakeholders will be, will be reached through further discussions.

The group also discussed transparency and the need for a conflict of interest register, which will be recorded when the group is established.

3. Implementation actions in Scotland

The group commented that it would be helpful to make the distinction between programmes which are actively and primarily reducing gambling-related harms, and those that claim that they will but aren’t evaluating their impact or providing evidence that harms have been reduced.

The group considered whether some of the work identified in the implementation actions map as being applicable or active across the whole of GB would be in practice. Members agreed to reflect on this to see whether any of the jurisdiction categories should be altered.

The issue of knowledge translation was identified as a possible gap – how can we build capacity in Scotland and ensure that key messages and learnings from projects are disseminated and inform action?

The group also discussed their role in ensuring that there is support available to organisations who take on the scale up and roll out of projects, in order to build sustainable, long-terms actions.

4. Next steps and plans for future meetings

The key actions identified were:

  • group to provide further commentary on the implementation actions map to note gaps, opportunities for collaboration, and priorities (by end of March)
  • Gambling Commission to circulate notes from the meeting, including discussions on the remit of the group and potential membership. This can also be used to inform discussions at a future International Futures Forum (IFF) event
  • ALLIANCE to invite all attendees to their IFF three horizons event
  • ScotPHN and Scottish Government to approach CMO’s office to potentially chair the next meeting
  • Gambling Commission to propose a date for the next meeting, likely after Easter, to be hosted by ScotPHN (virtually or by phone).

The themes agreed for discussion at the next meeting were:

  • lived experience engagement - from both the gambling perspective as well as learning from successful models such as Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit
  • suicide prevention – considering existing research and knowledge base, applicability of that research to Scotland, translation of evidence into policy, recording of suicide in Scotland, existing prevention activities, and priorities for collaboration and action
  • engagement structures for academics in Scotland
  • outputs from the IFF/ALLIANCE event.

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