The 2005 Gambling Act placed an obligation on English local authorities not only to license gambling venues but also to assess and respond to the health consequences of gambling. Long ignored by the public health community, these consequences are rising high on the policy agenda as evidence accumulates of the association between gambling and mental illness and substance abuse, where each acts on the other taking people into a downward spiral. So far, however, those working on the public health front line have had little preparation for their responsibilities in tackling the health consequences of gambling, something that is particularly concerning as the gambling industry grows and changes. If the public health community is to mount an effective response to this pressing public health issue, it, and others working within local authority need more evidence and guidance on the health consequences and approach to gambling harms in the UK. Specifically, there is a need for greater understanding of what lessons can be learned from how different local authorities approach gambling regulation, and how this is influenced by, and handled within the context of, budget cuts.
This thesis will explore the influences that shape responses to gambling regulation within local authorities in London, considering how this issue reaches the policy agenda, how local decisions are made, and how the decision making process might be strengthened.
Qualitative interviews and document analyses
Identify potential factors that influence approaches to gambling in London local authorities, including factors that support or impede the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practice.
Public health, licensing and planning officers as well as elected members from a sample of London Borough councils will be invited to participate in semi-structured interviews. The interviews will add further depth to preliminary work undertaken by PHE (London) and London Councils on a gambling and public health guide. Approaches to gambling regulation and its prioritisation at the local level will be explored, as well as factors that support or hinder cross-sectoral working between licensing, public health, planning, and other stakeholders e.g. NHS, police and schools. Recruitment will be via email with follow-up phone calls. Findings from stakeholder interviews will be triangulated with evidence gathered from other sources, including document analyses of local policy papers, minutes of meetings, and freedom of information request, for example.
All candidates should hold a Master’s qualification (or complete their Master’s by September 2020) in an appropriate discipline and have a minimum of a 2:1 or equivalent in their first degree. Applicants should preferably have knowledge of the UK health and care system. All applicants are required to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They should also be willing to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and multi-professional teams.
For general enquiries, please email: [email protected]
For project specific queries, please contact: Prof Martin McKee: [email protected]
Closing date: 05/01/2020;
For applications and other information please visit our main NIHR ARC North Thames funded PhD studentships page: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/program/nihr-arc-north-thames-funded-phd-studentships/?p2695