GambleAware is a grant-making body, using best-practice aspects of commissioning, such as needs assessment, service planning and outcome reporting to support effective, evidence-informed, high-quality gambling harms support services.

Underpinning this is a commitment to monitoring and evaluating services to ensure ongoing and continuous quality improvement of the grant-funding process.

Commissioning also allows for the provision of a range of evidence-informed high-quality services based on need and demand in target populations. The provision of a range of services, in different settings, catering to different levels of need, provides service-users with a range of choice on when and how they access support. The best practice aspects of commissioning represent good grant-making principles, to which GambleAware is committed. GambleAware’s commissioning in this way is in line with the commission and grant-making practices of most other health and social care commission and grant-making bodies.

Treatment and prevention commissioning

We have three key objectives:

  • Deliver safe & effective services with positive long-term outcomes for service users
  • Spend money effectively and efficiently
  • Distribute services across Britain as equitably as possible.

A strategic approach to identifying key priorities for the development of evidence-based initiatives to prevent and treat gambling harms:

  • Specifying the services to be delivered
  • Developing long-term partnerships to transform the delivery of quality services
  • Leading the co-ordination of multi-agency teams to promote efficiency and best practice
  • Ensuring regular reporting, public accountability and robust evaluation of a coherent programme of work.

GambleAware adopts best practice of statutory sector health and social care commissioning bodies.

GambleAware is committed to routine monitoring and evaluation to ensure ongoing and continuous quality improvement in relation to treatment services. GambleAware's quality assurance processes include:

  • Funding agreements set out clearly a framework for quality assurance, performance monitoring and service improvement
  • Established processes exist to ensure that commissioned services are accountable to our trustees, and that safeguarding and risk management is under regular review
  • A Data Reporting Framework (DRF) is in place for all providers and ViewIt UK has been commissioned to operate a national information system available to the NHS
  • An assurance scheme equivalent to Care Quality Commission (CQC) standard is being scoped in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Responsibility for planning, agreeing and monitoring the prevention and treatment services funded by GambleAware lies with our Education and Treatment Committee. Decisions made by the Committee are subject to approval of the main Board.

Research and evaluation commissioning

Research and evaluation activity is focused on improving knowledge of what works in prevention, education, treatment and support services. GambleAware:

  • Is approved by National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) as an NIHR non-commercial partner
  • Follows Research Council policy regarding research ethics
  • Involves those with lived experience
  • Ensures that all research is published following a process of peer-review by international academic experts
  • Funds open access publication in academic journal
  • Evaluates all prevention and education initiatives.

A Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure describes how research priorities are identified, and research projects commissioned, through the tripartite agreement between the ABSG, GambleAware and the Gambling Commission. It covers the commissioning and governance of a wide range of research, from individually commissioned research, to that undertaken through longer-term options, such as PhDs.

A revised ABSG and Gambling Commission research programme was published in September 2018 and sets out priorities for research to be commissioned from 2018 to 2022. In line with the Research Commissioning and Governance Procedure published in May 2016, the ABSG will create a research brief for each of these projects. This will set out more detail on the questions each project should answer, the context for the research and how it will be used. GambleAware will be responsible for commissioning this research programme and ensuring the research is delivered to a high standard.

Responsibility for planning, agreeing and monitoring the research projects funded by GambleAware lies with our Research and Evaluation Committee. Decisions made by the Committee are subject to approval of the main Board.

Policy on commissioning thresholds for lower value projects

In order to ensure that commissioning is efficient and proportionate to the value of the project, GambleAware has set out the first stage of a policy on thresholds below. The next stage will be to develop policy on when different approaches may be used for amounts over £100k.

  • <£20k: approach at minimum one supplier
  • £20k – £50k: approach at minimum two suppliers
  • £50k – £100k: approach at minimum three suppliers
  • Over £100k: full commissioning process (further policy to be developed).

Any exceptions to this policy need to be approved by a member of the relevant Committee ahead of the commencement of procurement.

For all cases, approval of appointment of a supplier must be by the relevant Committee, following an assessment process and recommendation by the executive.

The relevant Committee will monitor which suppliers are approached and contracts awarded to ensure diverse and appropriate suppliers are sought.

In line with GambleAware’s conflict of interests’ policy, Advisory Board for Safer Gambling members are able to bid for contracts from GambleAware, but need to declare their interest so the conflict can be appropriately managed. In the event that a member of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling declares an interest in bidding, in all cases a competitive process will be followed even where the value is £20k or less (i.e. at least two suppliers will be approached).

Invitations to tender

The evaluation of bids in response to invitations to tender for research projects will be performed by GambleAware's Independent Research Review Group. This Group advises the Research & Evaluation Committee, which then takes the final decision. In the case of treatment and harm prevention-related invitations to tender, it is the GambleAware Education & Treatment Committee that reviews submissions and advises GambleAware's full board of trustees. The minutes of these meetings may list all the applicants as well as identifying those to whom grants are awarded.

If you wish to receive notification of any new invitations to tender that are issued by GambleAware, please email us and request to be added to the GambleAware 'ITT database'.


GambleAware takes the lead on evaluating all commissioned projects and programmes. In April 2016, ABSG published an Evaluation Protocol, agreed jointly between ABSG, GambleAware and the Gambling Commission.