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 explains how they have gone about analysing that question. A slightly different approach has been taken by Swindon 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 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, which has applicability beyond Leeds itself, identifies demographics which can help in identifying groups at greater risk of harm.
- Brighton and Hove’s 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 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 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 gambling support service. In 2018 GambleAware 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 on its website.
Contact details for Citizens Advice Gambling Support Service hubs:
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