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Feature article: Reducing gambling harms resources

The LA part of our website contains a reducing gambling harms resources section giving local agencies – public health, licensing, 3rd sector and others - links to the information, advice and resources that are available to help develop a local approach to the implementation of the new National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms.

Many authorities, particularly public health teams, have questions about ‘the scale of the problem’ locally. The Annual Report (2018) from the Director of Public Health in Wirral (opens in new tab) explains how they have gone about analysing that question. A slightly different approach has been taken by Swindon (opens in new tab) who conducted a Gambling Related Harms Rapid Needs Assessment.

One key ingredient in making a Strategy work and obtaining buy in is to secure senior level, including Cabinet level, engagement. That is the approach that Stockton Council (opens in new tab) has taken, leading to the publication of an Adult Social Care and Health Select Committee report which forms the basis of an action plan for the Council. As its foreword says ‘ As a Council we must engage with partners to mitigate (gambling) harms and promote a safer approach to gambling. Our report highlights the importance of this emerging issue and we look forward to see how this work progresses.’

Aside from the questions about the scale of the ‘problem’ there is very often a question about who to target and where they live. Two approaches can help in this.

  • An in-depth report for Leeds City Council (PDF) (opens in new tab), which has applicability beyond Leeds itself, identifies demographics which can help in identifying groups at greater risk of harm.
  • Brighton and Hove’s (opens in new tab) licensing and public health teams worked together to produce a local area profile or heat map, to identify social groups and geographic locations where gambling risk/vulnerability is greatest.

There are also links to online resources that can help in progressing a local strategy:

  • The Royal Society for Public Health (opens in new tab) have developed a programme that is aimed at professionals who do not specialise in the treatment of gambling problems and may be most suitable to those working in social and criminal justice settings. Example roles include social workers, employment advisers, GPs, psychologists, probation officers.
  • Newport Citizens Advice (opens in new tab) have developed guidance on supporting clients affected by gambling-related harm.

There are many more links to the resources available as well as the initiatives being taken at a national level to implement the National Strategy. It is regularly updated to take account of recent changes.

Another resource for councils is the Citizens Advice (opens in new tab) gambling support service. In 2018 GambleAware (opens in new tab) announced a £1.5m partnership with Citizens Advice designed to help front line staff better understand, prevent and reduce gambling related harms – to be delivered via 10 hubs in England and 2 in Wales.

LAs should contact their local hub to get more detail about the free services available to them which includes training front line staff, support for campaigns and raise raising and help with screening/assessment questionnaires. Citizens Advice also has a new gambling advice area (opens in new tab) on its website.

North West

Citizens Advice Wirral
Website: (opens in new tab)

North East

Citizens Advice Gateshead
Website: (opens in new tab)
Contact: (Evan)

East Midlands

Citizens Advice Mid Mercia
Website: (opens in new tab)
Contact: (Greg)

West Midlands

Citizens Advice Dudley and Wolverhampton
Website: (opens in new tab)
Contact: or

South East (South Northants, Oxon, Bucks, Berks, Beds)

Citizens Advice North Oxfordshire & South Northants
Website: (opens in new tab)

South East (Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, east Sussex, west Sussex and Kent)

Citizens Advice Hampshire
Website: (opens in new tab)
Consortia - does not provide advice (but in partnership with some Local Citizens Advice who are home-based)

London Boroughs

Citizens Advice East End
Website: (opens in new tab)
Contact: (Harvel)

South West

Citizens Advice Central Dorset
Website: (opens in new tab)

East England

Citizens Advice Stevenage
Website: (opens in new tab)
Contact: (Lina)

South and West Wales

Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taff
Website: (opens in new tab)

Mid and North Wales

Citizens Advice Denbighshire
Website: (opens in new tab)

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LA Bulletin June 2019 - Case studies
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