A national strategy

GambleAware commissions research, prevention and treatment services to reduce gambling harms. In doing so, GambleAware aims in particular to implement the priorities set out in the Gambling Commission's national strategy. Funding decisions are evidence-based and subject to available resources. The ABSG is the Gambling Commission's independent adviser and is responsible for generating an independent, unbiased, evidence-based national strategy to reduce gambling harms.

What does GambleAware mean by commissioning?

While there is no single definition of the term “commissioning”, GambleAware takes it to mean the commitment of financial resources by funders to relevant organisations (not limited to health and social care providers) with the aim of improving health and social outcomes by responding to local need, reducing inequalities and providing high-quality services. GambleAware is a grant-making body, with the aim of using best-practice aspects of commissioning, such as needs assessment, service planning and outcome reporting to support its ongoing role as a grant-funder of effective, evidence-informed, high-quality gambling-related harm support services. Underpinning this is a commitment to monitoring and evaluating services to ensure ongoing and continuous quality improvement of the grant-funding process.

Why commission services?

GambleAware commissions services in order to ensure three key objectives:

  • that grant funding is awarded to cost-effective gambling-related harm support services
  • that there is a clear understating and articulation of value for money
  • and that there are effective service-user focused outcomes.

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.

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 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.