Priority objectives for 2016-19
This is the fourth iteration of the strategy since RGSB was established in 2008. It has many features in common with previous versions and builds on the progress already made in a number of areas. The overarching aim of the strategy remains the same: the minimisation of gambling-related harm.
The priority objectives for the next three-year period are as follows:
- Development of more effective harm minimisation interventions, in particular through experimentation and piloting of different approaches. Testing theoretical ideas in real and diverse gambling environments should contribute to further building of the evidence base. Lack of complete information, or failed interventions, should not be allowed to be a barrier to progress. There is now a welcome acceptance of the need to take action on the basis of what is known, or can reasonably be inferred.
- Improvements in treatment through use of existing knowledge and new evaluation. To help with this, it should be possible to make use of information becoming available through the new core data set represented by the Data Reporting Framework.
- The consolidation of an emerging culture in which all significant new interventions in the areas of harm minimisation or treatment (and where appropriate existing practices) are subject to robust evaluation. Everyone can then share the learning about what works, to what extent and in what circumstances. Scarce resources can be effectively focussed. Attempts to secure additional resources or more engagement from other bodies would be more likely to be successful.
- The acceptance by a wider range of organisations in the public and private sectors (including those with a remit for public health) of their responsibility to help address gambling-related harm, and to use their expertise and resources to work co-operatively in addressing them.
- Progress towards a better understanding of gambling-related harm and its measurement.
These priority objectives need to be translated into concrete actions – a transparent plan with clear responsibilities. It will then be possible for stakeholders collectively to hold to account those charged with delivery. We have also set out 12 priority actions for the next three years.
If this strategy is to enable further progress, it is important that the goals set should be appropriately ambitious. They should also be realistic and achievable.