Thank you to everyone who attended the Local Public Services Group’s recent Behaviour Change workshop at the CIPR in London. It was great to have such a good turn out, with lots of positive feedback.

Thank you also to Charlotte Bearn and Miranda Jackman, from the Behavioural Insights Team, for talking about how you can apply nudge theory in practice and to fellow CIPR LPS Committee member, Kerry Sheehan for helping to organise the workshop.

delegates sat around tables for the worksWhat was clear from the morning is that public sector communicators are starting to see the benefits of behavioural insights, and with good reason. Nudge theory is based on the premise that small changes to your communications can have a big impact on people’s behaviour.

Outcomes for public services can be improved by introducing a more realistic model of human behaviour, helping organisations to rethink how they can increase take up in services and encourage people to change their behaviours, but without instructing them to do so.

This is something that everyone can try in their organisations, with a number of resources to help you get started. The EAST framework developed by the Behavioural Insights Team, is a good place to start.

> Why I adopted nudge theory

> The EAST Framework

The model encourages changes in behaviour based on four simple principles:

Easy: make it as easy as possible to take up a service. We have a strong tendency to go with the default option, and will often pick this rather than the choice that requires some effort. Make your preferred choice as effortless as possible.

Attractive: use colour, images and personalisation to make your preferred choice the most attractive one. Reward people as well.

Social: show that most people perform the desired behaviour. If you send out a letter saying 9 out of 10 people pay their Council Tax on time, people are more likely to pay promptly.

Timely: prompt people when they are likely to be most receptive. For example, behaviour is generally easier to change when habits are already disrupted, such as, around major life events.

Kerry Sheehan MCIPR, Associate PR Director, facilitated the workshop, and said: “It was fantastic Charlotte Bearn and colleague Miranda SURNAME presented at our behaviour change workshop – this was a real coup for CIPR LPS as the Behavioural Insights Unit is a world leader in its field of data and insights.

“It was also a real treat for our members as they got to hear about the latest thinking in the area of data and insights to inform behaviour change campaigns as well as the tactics they worked on in the workshop.

“We really wanted this session to be a fully interactive one so that attendees were able to take back strategies to their organisations and which they can start to incorporate into their work. The areas we focussed on were also key learning points for colleagues in the area of behaviour change.”

Kerry added: “The feedback from the session was really positive and we have already been asked to put on this interactive workshop in the north of the country, which we at looking into at the moment. Watch this space!”

Further reading

There are also a lot of good books out there to read.

> ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness’ is a good place to start.

> ‘Inside the Nudge Unit’ has lots of practical examples of how you can apply nudge in practice.

The key is start giving it a go, try out some of the theory, and see what works, often at very low cost.

If you have any questions or want to share your experiences of using Behavioural Insights, contact us

Watch out for our next event, we are planning to run a similar workshop later in the year in Scotland.


Blog by Dominic Ridley-Moy MCIPR


Red star with a white number five in the middle, next to the CIPR logo and text 'CPD points'CIPR members can claim 5 points for attending this event in their CPD records.

Thanks to Dominic Ridley-Moy, Kerry Sheehan, Abha Thakor and Mandy Pearse for their work on producing this event and marketing.