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Minutes from SIG meeting (Wales) - 27 February 2020

Time: 13.00 – 15.00

Location: Welsh Government Offices, Cathays Park, Cardiff

Chair for first meeting: Helen Rhodes (HR) (Gambling Commission)


  • Sarah Meredith (SM) (Welsh Government)
  • Wallis Turner (WT) (Welsh Government)
  • Nerys Llewellyn (NL) (Welsh Government)
  • Chief Inspector John Wainwright (JW) (South Wales Police)
  • Dr Hermine Graham (HG) (Advisory Board for Safer Gambling - ABSG)
  • Sarah Johns (SJ) (Chair of All Wales Licensing Expert Panel)
  • Neil Harding (NH) (G4S, representing Gwent Police)

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 Wales. 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).

Following discussions, it was agreed that initially the 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, and consumers. Similar engagement is happening in Scotland.

The aims of the meeting were to discuss the remit and membership of an implementation group in Wales and review opportunities for activities and collaboration in Wales. The group also discussed priority next steps.

2. The role of an implementation group in Wales

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

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 would raise awareness of the Strategy and seek to embed gambling within the existing work of the representative organisations.

There is no standard model to be followed for the membership or role of the group. Lessons will be learned and shared with England and Scotland where different approaches are required to reflect differing public health structures.

The group discussed the core principles of membership and recognised that GambleAware and ARA are carrying out work in Wales but would not be included in this model as a core member. The group agreed that it will engage with them and other stakeholders including academics as appropriate.

Additional members were suggested including Public Health Wales representatives.

Members agreed that remit and membership would be kept under consideration in line with future updates to the implementation actions map.

The group also noted that the Implementation Group in Scotland discussed transparency and the need for a declaration of interest register, which will be discussed again when the terms of reference are agreed.

3. Implementation actions in Wales

The lack of available data in Wales, particularly in relation to gambling related suicide, was raised as an issue.

Concern was expressed that the group would need to consider the potential for duplication in the research sphere and the fragmented nature of the projects was noted. It was noted that Gambling Research Exchange (GREO) are supporting the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms, focusing on the dissemination of research, applying research to policy and international collaboration.

The group asked to be informed of projects from Wales seeking regulatory settlement funding and members agreed to provide further details of other work already underway in Wales including, the new PSE curriculum in Wales in 2022 which would include a core area focusing on health/mental health incorporating “risky behaviour”, encompassing gambling. Similarly, the School Beat programme delivered by police in Wales includes gambling on-line safety advice.

The group noted pilots were underway in two Health Boards, trialling different approaches to referral pathways and treatment services, linking up with the NHS services.

The Police already have an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) informed approach to policing vulnerability in Wales and that a Children’s Charter was being launched by the Children’s Commissioner and South Wales police in early March.

The group commented that it would be helpful to indicate on the implementation map which programmes had received regulatory settlement funding and to add clearer timescales.

4. Next steps and plans for future meetings

  1. Terms of reference and membership: Terms of reference to be proposed based on the discussions and used to expand membership. Group to provide contact details for additional attendees. Owner - all.

  2. Implementation map: Group to provide further commentary on the implementation actions map to note gaps, opportunities for collaboration, and priorities including more details about screening in SWP/Gwent custody suites and local Health Board pilots (Cardiff & Vale and Betsi Cadwaladr). Owner:

  • all
  • Police
  • Welsh Government.
  1. Send Beacon Counselling Trust details to Police/4GS to enable them to collaborate on findings from custody suite projects. Owner - Gambling Commission.

  2. Liaise with GambleAware about the educational resources not applying to the Welsh curriculum, and consider whether gambling could be specifically referred to in the PSE 2022 curriculum changes. Owner - Welsh Government.

  3. Provide more details about the Swansea University project for a GREAT network. Owner - Welsh Government.

  4. Check with PHW about screening tool for gambling harms. Owner - Welsh Government.

  5. WLGA to advise about a version for Wales of the PHE/LGA whole council approach. Owner - WLGA

  6. Share details of the gambling elements of the School Beat project. Owner - Police

  7. To engage with online educational charity SWGFL. Owner - Gambling Commission

Next steps

Next meeting with regulatory settlements Welsh projects, suicide prevention and lived experience engagement being agenda items. Welsh Government to chair and Skype link to be available. Owner:

  • Gambling Commission
  • Welsh Government.

Themes agreed for discussion at the next meeting were:

  • suicide prevention – considering existing research and knowledge base, applicability of that research to Wales, translation of evidence into policy, lack of data and priorities for collaboration and action
  • lived experience engagement - from both the gambling perspective as well as learning from approaches in other areas
  • discuss possible ideas for projects for Wales to submit for regulatory settlements consideration and areas for collaboration
  • The Group also noted they would like to understand the extent of the GREAT network in Wales for academic collaboration.

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