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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Involvement of People with Lived Experience

Involvement of People with Lived Experience

The National Strategy made a clear commitment that people with lived experience would be at the heart of delivery. More work is needed to embed this approach and create formal involvement by people with lived experience.

Key steps taken so far include:

  • In Scotland the goal is to ensure that people with lived experience be active partners in its Strategy Implementation Group. The Health and Social Care Alliance has been funded, via a regulatory settlement, to develop structures in Scotland to put people with lived experience at the heart of delivering the National Strategy. There is a clear commitment to ensure people with lived experience will co-produce the structures that are required to bring about progress.
  • The Gambling Commission hosted an ‘Experts by Experience’ Forum in November 2019, followed by another workshop in March 2020. This was well attended by people with lived experience from across GB. Participants made a number of recommendations to the Commission on ways to improve involvement. An Interim Experts by Experience Group for England and Wales has now been created. This will help co-design permanent arrangements for engagement with the Gambling Commission and national Strategy14.
  • Lived experience conferences, hosted by GambleAware, BetKnowMore and Gambling Harms North West Alliance, were held in Manchester and London. These provided opportunities for lived experience to be shared with a range of stakeholders in the National Strategy.
  • New organisations, such as the Gamvisory Group, have emerged to further represent the voice of lived experience and raise awareness of gambling harms15.
  • There have been a range of key achievements driven by those with lived experience, including campaigning work, work within treatment services and prevention and education work and these continue to gather momentum.

Despite these actions, greater pace is required to achieve the vision for involvement set out in the National Strategy. One year in, there is little evidence of specific decisions where people with lived experience have been involved in co-producing decisions or exerting influence on the actions that have been taken. Since March 2020, there have been a number of initiatives that signal greater involvement has begun16. Creating an approach that represents a wide range of experiences is also a challenge. There continues to be gaps, for example among women, young people, and those from black and minority ethnic groups.

Case study 1: Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland – Scotland Reducing Gambling Harms Programme17

The purpose of this programme is to put people with lived experience at the heart of implementation of the National Strategy in Scotland.

The work to date includes a mixture of engagement activity and preparations to co-produce arrangements for a Lived Experience Forum in Scotland. The challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that engagement has had to be reframed and delivered virtually, including:

  • virtual events across Scotland,
  • an online survey,
  • interviews with people with lived experience,
  • membership engagement sessions.

The project has worked in close partnership with the Glasgow City Whole Systems project addressing gambling harms18, Third Sector Interface (TSI) networks, Self-Management Network Scotland. It has become embedded into the initial discussions of the Implementation Group for the National Strategy in Scotland (SIG) and hosted an International Futures Forum (IFF) three horizons session with SIG members, including Scottish Government to frame the implementation plans within a person centred, public health approach. Through ‘active implementation’ this will help ensure these voices are part of the decision-making processes for the strategy.

In addition, the programme is scoping with academics in the field of gambling harm the establishment of a PhD on engaging people with lived experience, planning an outcomes focused, co-created evaluation of the programme, and gathering a collection of ‘Digital Voices’ stories in print and a range of digital media.

The project aims to have established a lived experience forum within Scotland by Winter 2020/21. This will ensure people with lived experience are fully involved in action to reduce gambling harm and inform the delivery of the National Strategy.


14 Experts by experience expert group created, gambling Commission, June 2020

15 Gamvisory Group - website

16 Gambling Commission Business Plan 2020/21

17 New ALLIANCE programmes on reducing gambling harms, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, February 2020

18 Gambling related harm, Public Health Scotland

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