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The Gambling Sector on Social Responsibility Issues Surrounding Dementia

We are pleased to announce that Woods Whur is teaming up with The Alzheimer’s Society to offer training for the gambling sector on social responsibility issues surrounding dementia.

Operators are of course already acutely aware of their obligations under the gambling legislation and the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice relating to social responsibility generally. However, a number of conferences that I have attended in recent months have featured contributions from The Alzheimer’s Society and it is clear to me that the Gambling Commission is increasingly concerned to ensure that operators have the appropriate policies and procedures in place surrounding dementia and that their staff are adequately trained and supported so that they can identify, and appropriately handle the particular needs of, customers who might be vulnerable by reason of dementia.

In February 2015 the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that dementia is “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”. According to The Alzheimer’s Society:

  • There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with this number set to rise to 1.1 million in six years;
  • 225,000 people develop dementia in the UK very year;
  • Over 40,000 younger people (under the age of 65) currently live with the condition; and
  • Dementia costs the UK economy £26.3 billion a year.

We are proposing to run half-day courses, at a location to suit operators, covering:

  • Information on the disease and its prevalence;
  • Pointers that might indicate that a customer is a sufferer;
  • Tools for dealing with these customers in a range of scenarios, including face-to-face and online; and
  • How to document and record action taken as part of establishing due diligence in dealing with social responsibility obligations.
  • The course will also improve awareness of the other ways in which dementia might affect gambling businesses in terms of costs and benefits. A Centre for Economics and Business

Research Report in April 2014 found the following:

  • Households living with dementia spend £10.7bn per year;
  • 1 in 3 businesses (36%) surveyed do consider the over-65 demographic to be important to the customer-facing part of their business;
  • The early retirement of those diagnosed with dementia costs English businesses £627m per year;
  • In 2014, a total of 547,000 individuals were ‘dementia carers’ in England;
  • 21% of dementia carers under the age of 70 have either had to reduce their work commitments or have left employment altogether;
  • A total of 12% of dementia carers  (66,000 individuals in 2014) have reduced their employment hours, taken on fewer responsibilities at work or are doing some form of flexible working;
  • This group of individuals spend 28 hours per week caring for those with dementia. Given that the typical paid worker reporting no impact on employment cares for 18 hours per week, the average cost to the business is 10 hours per week. Across the whole economy this costs businesses £424m per year;
  • A total of 9% of dementia carers withdraw from work altogether (50,000 individuals in 2014). Across the whole economy this costs businesses £1.2bn per year;
  • In total English businesses lose out on £1.6bn based on the value of these workers’ wages;
  • Based on age-based employment rates sourced from the Office for National Statistics’ UK Labour Force Survey, it is estimated that 5% of those diagnosed with dementia are in work. Of the 33,000 individuals working and diagnosed with dementia, 10,000 of those in work are under the age of 65;
  • The average job tenure of someone diagnosed with dementia is at least nine years and 70% of workers with dementia have been working for their current employer for ten years or more. This suggests that current employers are losing valuable experience due to forced retirements caused by dementia; and
  • In aggregate, the forced retirement of 33,000 individuals results in a loss of £627m per year for English businesses, valued at workers’ wages.

I believe that this issue is one that will attract ever-increasing attention from the Gambling Commission going forward and attendance at this training will be an excellent means of demonstrating proactive compliance with social responsibility obligations, particularly in the event of an inspection.

Please contact me on if you might be interested in sending members of your organisation on this training.