Glennis Leathwood, Financial Inclusion Co-ordinator
Alex Hawley, Public Health, presented a report on the role of Public Health, a Council-wide approach, to identify people impacted by harmful gambling and how Council regulatory tools could help tackle gambling-related harm.
Harmful gambling was defined as any type of repetitive gambling that disrupted or damaged personal, family or recreational pursuits. It could have many and varied impacts including an individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, housing and finances and affected a wide range of people such as families, colleagues and wider local communities.
Research, education and treatment of harmful gambling was overseen by the Gambling Commission, Responsible Gambling Strategy Board and GambleAware funded by voluntary donations from the gambling industry.
The LGA guidance paper outlined a number of recommendations around ‘What Councils can do” which included consideration of designating an organisational lead for harmful gambling issues, awareness raising and training for frontline staff within the Council and partner organisations, development of relationships with local treatment organisations and screening processes and strengthened data collection implemented.
The following actions were recommended to ensure that Rotherham was compliance with the guidance:-
- That harmful/problem gambling be governed through the Health and Wellbeing Board
- That Public Health be allocated the organisational lead for harmful/problem gambling
- That harmful/problem gambling be addressed and included within relevant strategies including the Suicide Prevention Strategy, the Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeper Strategy, the Financial Inclusion Strategy and the Domestic Violence Strategy.
Discussion ensued with the following issues raised/clarified:-
- 6 days free training had been offered by the Citizens Advice Bureau. The first half day would include 50 people gaining a better awareness of gambling and then 15 looking at case studies and developing skills
- A decision was still to be made regarding the remaining 5.5 days but would probably look at the breadth of awareness and equipping officers with the skills to recognise a gambling addiction and making the appropriate referrals
- Proposal to develop a new Public Health Outcome Framework Indicator which would measure the number of referrals to advice services. However, it was difficult to know exactly how many people had a gambling problem
- The criteria to be used for selecting the first 50 trainees
- The evaluation should include how those trainees had taken forward the training in their workplace
- The extent to which the school community was engaged. The impact on children and young people, even if not directly involved, would be key as the training was rolled out
Resolved:- (1) That harmful/problem gambling be governed through the Health and Wellbeing Board.
(2) That Public Health be the organisational lead.
(3) That Malcolm Chiddy, as lead offer, attend the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health ‘Problem Gambling’ Working Group.
(4) That harmful/problem gambling be addressed and included within relevant strategies including the Suicide Prevention Strategy, the Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeper Strategy, the Financial Inclusion Strategy and the Domestic Violence Strategy.
(5) That further discussions take place within the Council with regard to a review of Licensing policies on gaming licence applications.
(6) That a Task and Finish Group be established to oversee compliance with the recommendations within the guidance document and oversee the delivery of awareness training to frontline staff.