GambleAware research flags gaps in treatment system

GambleAware has revealed the multi-level setup of its treatment and support system has led to significant knowledge gaps and that its organic growth has resulted in the lack of a defined strategy.


Carried out by Leeds Beckett University, the study found that the multi-level nature current funded treatment system means that not all components have a direct connection with one another.

Researchers said from a network perspective, not all system components have a direct connection with one another, and this has led to gaps in knowledge.

The study also found that as the system structure has grown organically, rather than being purposefully designed through a defined strategy, this has impacted its overall functioning. This, the study concluded, makes collaboration between the different components more difficult.

“From a network perspective, it was found that this multi-level structure has meant that not all components of the system, for example individual treatment providers, have a direct connection with each other,” GambleAware said.

Based on this, researchers were able to draft an initial framework comprised of six core principles, with the aim of filling gaps in knowledge and producing a treatment system map.

This framework included identification and understanding of treatment requirements for wider gambling system environment, as well as collaboration across the system.

Other focus points in the proposed framework include governance, resources and processes to ensure adequate infrastructure and system, greater attention for diversity and socio-structural status, improved awareness and accessibility for the system.

In addition, the research calls for an evidence-informed system design, including interventions and gambling insight, to better treat people.

Cross-checking this ‘prototype’ framework with the new research, the report said that the six core principles described in the proposal provided a “valid categorisation tool for the key components of an effective gambling treatment system”.

“The exemplar system framework developed during Phase One is comprehensive and includes a wide range of components, and consequently a broad scope for system evaluation,” the report said. “Also, the treatment system is dynamic, and innovations are encouraged at all levels.”

With this proposed framework in place, a planning and consultation exercise involving researchers and commissioners will now take place in preparation for phase two of the project. This will see a full evaluation of GambleAware’s treatment system carried out.

This will include the effectiveness of the treatment system, how the different services function together, understanding the wider inputs into the system such as primary care and debt advice, and evaluating GambleAware commissioning against good practice.