Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms
The National Strategy was published by the Gambling Commission. Its implementation, however, relies on the involvement of a wide range of organisations, including central and local government departments, public health bodies and the third sector. Specific approaches to implementation are required in England, Scotland and Wales to reflect the jurisdiction of different bodies at national level. Key developments include:
- In England, DCMS created the Research, Education and Treatment (RET) Group, which brought together some of the public bodies in England following the Gambling Review in 2018 and helped co-ordinate the regulatory changes which emerged. There is an opportunity for the group to widen its membership and become more proactive in coordinating activity to reduce gambling harms across England.
- In Scotland, a group of stakeholders has formed the Implementation Group for Scotland. This includes the Scottish Government, the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Police Scotland, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, and the Gambling Commission. A permanent chair needs to be identified, although in the short-term ScotPHN will provide this. The group in Scotland has a strong focus on engagement with the third sector and on working with people with lived experience, both of which will be co-ordinated through the Health and Social Care Alliance.
- In Wales, a group of stakeholders have formed the Implementation Group for Wales. This initial group includes representatives from; the Welsh Government (Public Health Wales), the Local Authority Licensing panel, the Police, Police Substance Misuse Diversion service, PHSE Wales for schools Curriculum and Assessment, ARA (Recovery for All) and the Gambling Commission. A permanent chair needs to be identified, although this will be provided by Public Health (Education) Wales in the short-term. The group in Wales plan to integrate initiatives around gambling into their broader Wales-wide initiatives such as the Well-being of Future Generations Act, Police ACE programme and the new PHSE curriculum for 2022.
The establishment and operation of the strategy implementation groups in Scotland and Wales represents significant progress towards three country impact.
Different ways of working across countries provides opportunities to test or accelerate alternative approaches. If well evaluated, this will provide evidence on what works, and what might be scaled-up.
Shared across all three nations, however, is the need for greater ownership by government departments – including those responsible for health and public health. This is vital if the range of required actions to reduce harm are to be delivered.
Last updated: 18 August 2021
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