In the United Kingdom and the organization behind the BeGambleAware.org responsible gambling resource has published its independent report into the availability of gambling support services for those in England and Wales.
The London-headquartered GambleAware charity used an official press release to detail that the evaluation was conducted by consultancy firm KantarPublic as part of its two-year program to supply training to frontline debt advisors at Citizens Advice. The enterprise went on to declare that the 29-month probe had been conducted across twelve regions of England and Wales and had identified ‘key facilitators, barriers and opportunities for program success.’
GambleAware stated that Citizens Advice had screened approximately 30,000 people for problems associated with gambling over the term of its investigation and that it had found the service ‘well placed to successfully uncover and support clients at risk of, and experiencing, gambling harms’. The organization moreover proclaimed that its partner’s front-line workers held a ‘respected role in the community’ and had exhibited ‘expertise in providing client support for sensitive issues.’
However, the problem gambling charity went on to disclose that its evaluation had conversely identified several stumbling blocks to the future success of its responsible gambling program including a lack of consistency when it came to the screening practices run by local Citizens Advice offices. GambleAware asserted that its investigation had put these inconsistencies down to ‘a lack of flexibility in the screening questions, perceived stigma and the limited capacity of front-line workers across some local offices.’
The organization pronounced that it now hopes Citizens Advice will consider adding flexibility into its screening questions ‘to encourage more natural conversations with clients about gambling harms as a regular advice practice’. The body also recommended that the training given to front-line workers ‘more thoroughly and consistently address the issue of perceived uncomfortable conversations about gambling harms’ by being discussed at regular team meetings featuring ‘personalized feedback.’
Helen Owen serves as the Evaluation and Monitoring Director for GambleAware and she used the press release to stress that the evaluation had evidenced the ‘important role’ Citizens Advice plays in the process of ‘providing advice for people at risk of or experiencing gambling harm and signposting them to help’. She went on to emphasise that the probe moreover identified the ‘main barriers’ to the future success of support services for those suffering with problem gambling and had recommended more ‘senior involvement’ in the promotion of future screening practices.
Read a statement from Owen…
“This evaluation has helped identify the main barriers to success for the gambling support service. With this understanding we now have a clear view on what opportunities there are to improve the service and the learnings from this evaluation have contributed to the commissioning of the new process and model at a national Citizens Advice level.”