Minutes from SIG meeting (Wales) - 4 September 2020
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Location: Microsoft Teams
Chair for the meeting: Helen Rhodes (HR) (Gambling Commission)
- Stephanie Barnhouse (SB) (Welsh Government)
- Ainsley Bladon (AB) (Welsh Government)
- Claire Cotter (CC) (PHW/NHS Wales Health Collaborative)
- Kirrin Davidson (KD) (Children’s Commission for Wales)
- Hermine Graham (HG) (ABSG)
- William Griffiths (WG) (ALLIANCE, Item 5)
- Neil Harding (NH) (G4S)
- Sarah Johns (SJ) (WLGA)
- Nerys Llewellyn (NL) (Welsh Government)
- Chief Inspector John Wainwright (JW) (South Wales Police)
- Simon Wilkinson (SW) (WLGA)
Gambling Commission staff names other than for Leadership Team members have been redacted.
Introductions were made, and new members explained their role.
2. Minutes from the last meeting
The Group reviewed the minutes from the last meeting. There were no further comments, and all were content for them to be published on the National Strategy website.
3. Update on progress and developments since the last meeting
As there had been a significant gap since the last meeting in February 2020, the Group spent time reviewing the key developments since then, focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on National Strategy Implementation and related issues, and opportunities to embed gambling issues into the response to the impact of COVID-19 as well as the ABSG Progress Report.
Various members of the Group reflected on the impact to services during COVID-19 and mentioned possible opportunities to embed gambling issues into current activity.
Mental Health services saw a vast reduction in referrals during COVID-19 but were now starting to see more uptake. Services have invested in self-help courses for stress and anxiety and prevention resources for young people which could be useful for people dealing with gambling related harms.
Education services had continued to support young people with remote learning and have developed guidance for practitioners to support children.
Local government have had most of their activity redirected to COVID-19 response and were continuing to monitor the impact on wider communities and vulnerable individuals.
South Wales Police initially had to prioritise more serious offences during COVID-19. The service has had to adapt, and service delivery has evolved. The custody suite gambling referral pathway in Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed has recently restarted having been on hold during COVID-19.
Actions: SB to write to Public Health Wales to discuss timeframes for increasing their involvement in the Strategy Implementation Group. AB/CC to share membership of the National Advisory Group for Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention forum to encourage a representative with gambling knowledge to join the forum. AB to share details of Matrics Cymru, the Mental Health toolkit and other relevant resources. AB to share documents regarding the train the trainer model and associated ACES consultation.
The key points of this discussion found that services are still assessing the impact of COVID-19, but that there was a need to embed gambling comorbidities into current activity. The Group agreed there was a need to develop broader treatment pathways, and to look at current structures in place to see how gambling could fit into their sector.
The Group also discussed the opportunities for tapping into various online harms work, linking this with need for legislative change. Group members highlighted the need to influence the UK Government to consider a Wales-specific approach in the upcoming Gambling Review of the Gambling Act.
Action: SB to link with contacts both within the Welsh Government i.e., debt and housing and externally e.g., APPG and the Cross-Party Gambling Group in the Senedd.
4. Actions to address knowledge gaps on certain priority gambling harms
The Group discussed the summary of published research into gambling harms. It was noted that there are a wide range of gambling harms but that for this session the focus will be on suicide and crime. Discussions on other harms, such as debt, will be brought in later.
Gambling has often been overlooked in research into suicide, and the possibility of funding from regulatory settlements for research into suicide and other priority gambling harms was discussed. Gambling harm is a wider public health issue and that it is about prevention and not just treatment. The Group were not aware of any research being undertaken or planned in Wales on suicide.
Action: SB to investigate wider public health research underway that either does or could include gambling.
The Criminal Justice Department and Police Crime Commissioner have been considering a proposal that would meet the criteria for regulatory settlement funding possibly with a focus, or crossover on children and young people.
Actions: JW to approach the Police Crime Commissioner or representative (e.g., Early Action Lead) to invite them to join the group. JW/NH to facilitate coordination of activity with other bodies who are already in receipt of regulatory settlement funding.
It was noted that the Money and Pensions Service are developing a nationwide strategy for those who need help. Similarly, the Breathing Space scheme offers help and support for vulnerable people in debt. It was noted that there would be opportunities to ensure gambling was embedded within these programmes.
Action: HR to bring in additional bodies such as Money and Pensions Service and Breathing Space to future meetings, dependant on agenda topics.
5. Focused discussion on Lived Experience engagement
There was a lack of coordinated activity in Wales to give people with Lived Experience a voice in reducing gambling harms. The ALLIANCE has received regulatory settlement funding to establish a lived experience forum to support the strategy implementation in Scotland. WG joined this meeting to share lessons learned to date and to help support progressing equivalent engagement and cocreation mechanisms in Wales.
A lived experience input was needed to develop more resources and training to prevent gambling harm, particularly in relation to embedding gambling into the current education curriculum under health and wellbeing and risks.
There is no direct equivalent in Wales to the ALLIANCE, but there is a forum for mental health which considers policy areas around substance misuse that has a form of Lived Experience group. The Group noted this may be an appropriate forum to include lived experience of gambling harm.
Action: AB to reach out to the mental health representatives and share the Commission’s and the ALLIANCE’s work and documents on Lived Experience engagement to potentially kickstart a project in Wales to embed gambling harms.
6. Agree next steps and plans for future meetings
The key actions from the meeting were:
- SB to write to Public Health Wales to discuss timeframes for increasing their involvement in the Strategy Implementation Group
- AB/CC to share membership of the National Advisory Group for Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention forum to encourage a representative with gambling knowledge to join the forum
- AB to share details of Matrics Cymru, the Mental Health toolkit and other relevant resources
- AB to share documents regarding the train the trainer model and associated (ACES) consultation
- SB to link with contacts both within the Welsh Government i.e., debt and housing and externally e.g., APPG and the Cross-Party Gambling Group in the Senedd
- SB to investigate wider public health research underway that either does or could include gambling
- JW to approach the Police Crime Commissioner or representative (e.g., Early Action Lead) to invite them to join the group
- JW/NH to facilitate coordination of activity with other bodies who are already in receipt of regulatory settlement funding
- HR to bring in additional bodies such as Money and Pensions Service and Breathing Space to future meetings, dependant on agenda topics
- AB to reach out to the mental health representatives and share the Commission’s and the ALLIANCE’s work and documents on Lived Experience engagement to potentially kickstart an equivalent project in Wales to embed gambling harms.
The themes agreed for discussion at the next meeting were:
- Agenda item on key pilots.