Councillors consider work to address ‘gambling harms’ in Hertfordshire
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PUBLIC health chief Jim McManus has expressed ‘disappointment’ at the pace of work around ‘gambling harms’ in the county.
Back in January 2022, county councillors spent a full day scrutinising the prevalence and practice of gambling in Hertfordshire – as well as the support available when it became a problem.
And they came up with a number of recommendations, including a Hertfordshire strategy to tackle gambling harms – as well as ways to collect and share data.
In addition they also recommended work to increase awareness of the prevalence of gambling harms – including signposting to services and information.
But on Friday (October 6) the council’s impact of scrutiny advisory committee heard the strategy had not yet been developed – although a workshop was planned in November.
They heard work on data sharing was not yet complete. And it was reported that no funding had been made available for the ‘gambling treatment pathway’.
Executive director of public health Jim McManus said he was ‘disappointed we are not further on than where we are’ – stressing the need to be ambitious for improvement.
But he acknowledged the pressures and lack of capacity within district council partners and within the NHS.
And he suggested ways that the county council could support them to ensure the work could progress.
“I am a bit disappointed we are not further on than where we are,” he said.
“And I understand the reasons, because of the pressure on partners – and the pressure on our district colleagues, because they haven’t got spare capacity, and the pressure on our NHS system.
“But I do think that we need to be ambitious for improvement.”
Mr McManus acknowledged the plans for the strategy to be ready at the end of the financial year.
But he stressed that once drafted it would need the approval of Dacorum Borough Council and Hetfordshire’s 10 other authorities, the ICS and the Police ad Crime Commissioner’s board.
He suggested public health could help with a ‘do one and share’ approach.
The committee agreed the recommendations had not been completed.
It was agreed the progress would be considered at the next meeting of the committee, in December.