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Progress Report on the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms

ABSG progress report 2020

  1. Contents
  2. Taking a ‘whole systems approach’ to harms reduction

Taking a ‘whole systems approach’ to harms reduction

The National Strategy makes clear that reducing gambling harms is a public health issue. Positive examples of this being put into practice are found in the Greater Manchester and Glasgow city area public health pilot projects.

Case study 4: Greater Manchester Public Health Pathfinder

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is delivering a programme of work to embed a public health approach to reducing gambling harms across Greater Manchester. This pathfinder project is funded by a regulatory settlement and will aim to show how local level approaches can help reduce harms caused by gambling58

The partnership includes ten local authorities who will work together to:

  • increase support for those experiencing harm,
  • improve prevention programmes across the region,
  • collect evidence of the impact of interventions, and
  • share best practice as part of a gambling harm reduction group.

Activities in development include early identification of gambling harms in university students – including student welfare, financial advisers, student unions and student GP practices. Also in development are plans to ensuring each local authority has delivered awareness raising sessions with front line staff. The partnerships work will be informed by people with lived experience of harm.

To build on this, action is needed to embed gambling in existing public health policy. A key step would be to include gambling metrics in the Public Health Outcomes Framework59. This is reported annually for all local authorities in England and Wales60 and is key to local policy making and health and wellbeing strategies61. An example of this can be found on the Public Health Wales Observatory webpages, which provides interactive profiles of particular public health concerns and their impacts at health board and local authority level62. Formally including gambling metrics here would mean local authorities would better understand both participation and harm in their populations so they can develop prevention strategies and respond to those experiencing harm. Equivalent action would be required in Wales and Scotland, such as the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey, could be utilised63. Achieving this would require a co-ordinated approach to ensuring local level data is collected across Great Britain.


58 Gambling Commission welcomes new local public health approach to reduce gambling harm in North West, Gambling Commission, January 2020

59 Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public health England. There are a number of options for adding new metrics to existing national surveys, for example the ONS annual population survey, the GP Patient survey and the Active Lives Survey. New metrics on loneliness introduced into the PHOF in 2018 would provide a useful example on how this could be achieved

60 Our Strategic Plan 2018-21, Public Health Wales

61 Public health Outcomes Framework, Public Health Wales Observatory

62 Alcohol in Wales, Public Health Wales Observatory

63 ScotPHO profiles, Scottish Public Health Observatory

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