The network is expected to cost between £70,000 and £90,000, and take 18 months to set up.
Explaining the rationale behind the project, GambleAware said there was currently no single, inclusive network that was representative of all people with lived experience of gambling harms.
Their experience, however, was “crucial” at all levels of service delivery, research, policy and the development of legislation, it added.
The need for experts by experience has already been flagged by the charitable funding body earlier this year. In May, its Treatment Needs and Gap Analysis report pointed out that those with lived experience of gambling harms could play a crucial role in designing and promoting access to problem gambling services.
A second report commissioned by GambleAware and compiled by researchers at King’s College London in September then flagged a lack of evidence of PPIEP (patient and public involvement, engagement and participation) in policy development.
GambleAware said that consultations with stakeholders and representatives of existing harm prevention bodies revealed strong support for an experts by experience network – but how this was achieved remained unclear.
“Whilst there is a consensus amongst the people we have spoken with that a representative and inclusive network across England, Scotland, and Wales is needed and would add value, there is no consensus about how the network should be convened and established, and who should lead that process,” it explained.
The new network would have to be entirely independent from GambleAware, which will play a role in forming the group before aiming to make it totally independent as soon as possible.
“The network will also set its own priorities and develop sufficient capacity, resource and membership so that it can meaningfully participate in and influence national debate and policy making,” GambleAware said.
It has therefore launched a tender to select a third party partner that would take a leading role in forming the experts by experience network.
Prospective bidders have been asked to set out how they would involve a range of communities that have experienced gambling harms, and be guided by evidence of what works from academic, practice and grey literature, and learn from other sectors.
The bidders must also outline how they address the specific opportunities and challenges of setting up such a network, and create an inclusive engagement infrastructure for participants.
They are also asked to set out potential membership and governance arrangements, primary communication platforms, and short- to medium-term priorities for the network.
This is to be accompanied by key performance indicators for measuring the network’s effectiveness, and a project plan for implementation, as well as options for long-term funding to ensure its sustainability and independence.
An informational event for potential tender participants is being held on 28 October, and any requests for clarification must be submitted by 30 October. Bidders will then be asked to submit their proposals on 17 November, with GambleAware to evaluate the proposals over 19 and 20 November.
A winning bid will then be selected on 25 November, ahead of the contract being formally awarded on 30 November. The contract will then be finalised and signed on 21 December, with the project’s kick-off meeting to then take place on 11 January.