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Help us improve to our statistics

Posted 24 November 2021 by Ben Haden


Ben Haden, our Director of Research and Statistics, reflects on some thought-provoking engagement at the start of the pilot phase for our new approach to collecting statistics on gambling participation and those who may experience difficulties with their gambling.

As we said during the consultation process we are taking a new approach to how we collect our data. We are looking to modernise the questionnaire, increase frequency and flexibility so we can understand and respond to changes better and faster. It's all about continuing to improve the statistics we rely on to make decisions and demonstrate our impact.

It’s a significant moment moving on from thinking ‘what we should do?’ to positive steps to make the change.

Moving forward with the participation and prevalence pilot

Our first step with the pilot is to check how our new methodology will impact results compared to previous approaches. We won’t be changing the questions straight away. But it’s critical that we engage now on these points so that when we start the experimental phase in 2022 we have a clear set of improved questions to test.

I’m really pleased to be working with the NatCen consortium - they bring a great mix of expertise to add to the talented team already working on it here at the Commission. That said we recognise we won’t have all the good ideas, the right experience or the varied perspectives that will help us with the tricky challenges and the difficult trade-offs that we have ahead to get to an accessible, expansive questionnaire (that isn’t too long!)

We’ll continue to engage widely

To that end we intend to engage widely and have kicked off with a series of workshops which we ran with academics and policy colleagues, people with lived experience and representatives from industry. We’d also welcome your perspective and NatCen have launched a survey (opens in new tab) where you can provide it.

We’ll report fully on the workshops once we’ve also had input from the survey but the team were really buoyed by the positive engagement and the value it’s brought.

There was a common appreciation at each workshop of the balancing act we need to strike with the questionnaire – seeing where it could help answer some questions and where we need to recognise that it would be better to get information from different sources.

Among the many other helpful contributions, questions were raised about how we represent products with complex play styles correctly, such as in-play; how we capture respondent feelings about their play – positive and negative; and how we ensure the questions are as relevant for everyone.

Have your say!

We will be carrying on with our engagement through the process and it you’d like to get involved do provide some feedback through our survey – no one has all the answers but I’m sure you’ll have something that someone else hasn’t thought of.

The closing date for the survey (opens in new tab) is 6 December. Please note this survey is hosted by NatCen, the link will take you to NatCen’s survey platform.

You can find out more about our research work by visiting our Statistics and Research Hub.

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