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LCCP RET list: Procedure and guidance for removal of organisations

Introduction

The purpose of this guidance note is to reiterate the requirements and expectations for organisations on the LCCP RET list for research, prevention and treatment, and clarify the circumstances, criteria and process for removing organisations from the list.

Background - LCCP RET list procedure and guidance for the removal of organisations

On 1 January 2020 a new LCCP requirement came into force requiring operators to direct their annual financial contribution for gambling research, prevention and treatment (referred to as RET for shorthand) as required by LCCP SR code 3.1.1 to one or more organisations on a list maintained by the Commission.

This change was a result of the Commission’s review of the RET arrangements in February 2018 which concluded that the current voluntary system was falling short of its objectives. The Commission was concerned that RET contributions were disparate and uncoordinated and that some recipients of RET contributions had no clear link to the research, prevention or treatment of gambling harms. To address this the Commission committed to improving the transparency of the amounts and destinations of RET funding, with a specific commitment in relation to LCCP and following a public consultation the amended SR code came into force.

Requirements for operators

The purpose of the LCCP RET list is to demonstrate to operators how to be compliant with the LCCP requirement to make annual financial contributions to research, prevention and treatment.

Operators must:

  • make an annual financial contribution to each of research, prevention and treatment
  • ensure that these donations go to one or more organisation on the LCCP RET list
  • ensure that they have no connection to the recipient organisation
  • report information accurately in their annual or quarterly regulatory return to the Commission about the destination(s) of their payment and the amounts that have been contributed. This includes ensuring that there is no duplication of data across multiple licences.

Requirements for organisations on the LCCP RET list

By accepting RET contributions from licensed operators, organisations on the LCCP RET list commit to:

  • using contributions solely for the purpose of reducing gambling harms
  • working within the structures of the Strategy to engage with people with lived experience
  • providing information as requested to support the coordination and delivery of actions under the Strategy.

Collaborating under the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms to:

  • prioritise actions
  • coordinate activity
  • minimise duplication or conflict of activity.

Upholding the principles of the Strategy by taking:

  • an evidence-based approach
  • evaluating impact
  • supporting transparency.

Organisations on the LCCP RET list are also expected to:

  • work with the Gambling Commission in an open and cooperative way and inform the Commission of anything that could have a significant impact on the nature or structure of their organisation
  • not interpret being on the LCCP RET list as approval or endorsement by the Gambling Commission nor refer to the Commission approving or endorsing their organisation in any promotional or publicity materials
  • not have industry representatives on their boards or in other roles that have decision-making powers
  • provide data on the amount of LCCP RET contributions received, which operator(s) they relate to, and when the contribution(s) were made
  • provide information about changes to the information outlined above to the Gambling Commission as soon as reasonably possible.

Approach - LCCP RET list procedure and guidance for the removal of organisations

The Gambling Commission commits to working with organisations on the LCCP RET list in an open, supportive and transparent manner. Any investigations into possible removal from the LCCP RET list will be conducted fairly and openly and organisations whose status on the LCCP RET list is under consideration will be given the opportunity to review and comment on their potential removal before a final decision is made.

We expect organisations on the LCCP RET list to also be open and transparent with the Commission and to alert us as soon as possible to any potential issues which may affect their status on the LCCP RET list, including any formal investigations.

Removal from the LCCP RET list

Organisations on the LCCP RET list must inform the Commission of anything that could have a significant impact on the nature or structure of their organisation. Any misrepresentation or failure to reveal information may be deemed sufficient cause for the organisation to be refused or removed from the list of organisations to which gambling businesses may make financial contributions in order to meet the LCCP RET requirement.

Examples of criteria which would undermine the aims and objectives of the LCCP RET list and would result in review and likely removal from the list include (but are not limited) to the following:

  • going into administration or equivalent, or criminal charges being laid, the nature or circumstances of which give the Commission cause for concern (such as theft or fraud)
  • an investigation by a professional, statutory, regulatory or government body into their activities and/or removal of their independent oversight (e.g. Charity Commission or CIC status)
  • changes in key personnel or circumstances which means the organisation is no longer commissioning or delivering research, prevention or treatment to reduce gambling harms
  • failure to provide information when requested (e.g. data on RET contributions)
  • evidence of a persistent refusal to engage collaboratively under the National Strategy with other stakeholders and partners
  • complaints by other organisations, service users or others where there is evidence to suggest serious concerns
  • mergers or takeovers, LCCP RET list status cannot be transferred to another organisation and a new request must be submitted.

Process

Where there is evidence of a serious concern which may compromise the aim of the LCCP RET list, call into question an organisation’s suitability to be on the RET list, or an issue that could have a significant impact on the nature or structure of an organisation on the list, the Gambling Commission will undertake an internal review as follows:

  • the Gambling Commission will convene a review panel comprising members of the Social Responsibility Funds Group
  • Gambling Commission officials will compile a summary of the issue(s) identified, along with any relevant documents, setting out the evidence and concerns
  • the organisation under review will be given sight of these papers and will be given the opportunity to provide any written representations and any relevant supporting information that they would like the panel to consider
  • the review panel will consider the papers and any representations or additional documents provided by the organisation and reach a decision accordingly. A decision letter will be sent to the applicant as soon as practicable after the decision has been made.

An organisation that is removed from the LCCP RET list will not to be prevented from applying to rejoin the RET list again, but the Commission may take account of any previous decision that has been made when assessing the application.

Appeals

If an organisation wishes to appeal a decision made by the review panel for removal from the list, the following appeals process will apply:

  • notification of the wish to appeal must be sent to SRFunds@gamblingcommission.gov.uk within 28 days of the date the decision letter was issued
  • the Gambling Commission will convene an appeal panel comprising at least one Executive Director (or higher) who will have had no involvement with the decision under appeal
  • Gambling Commission officials will compile a pack of papers, comprising the original papers that were considered by the review panel, any representations and additional documents that were submitted by the organisation, and the decision under appeal, as well as any further documents that may be relevant to the case
  • the organisation making the appeal will be given sight of these papers and will be given the opportunity to provide any further representations or additional documents they would like the appeal panel to consider as to why the original decision was wrong
  • the Appeal panel will consider the papers and any representations or additional documents provide by the organisation and reach a decision accordingly. A decision letter will be sent to the organisation as soon as practicable after the decision has been made.
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