William Eichler 08 January 2020

Eight councils to receive £20,000 to develop ‘behavioural insights’

Eight councils to receive £20,000 to develop ‘behavioural insights’ image

Eight local authorities are to receive £20,000 each in order to help them develop new ways to change the behaviour of residents as part of an effort to reduce demand on overstretched councils.

The funding is from the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Behavioural Insights Programme, which encourages councils to help people make better choices for themselves and society through interventions or ‘nudges’.

By changing the behaviour of citizens, the Programme aims to reduce the demand on local authorities with squeezed budgets.

Last year, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council increased the uptake of assistive technology by 27% through their interventions using targeted mail to those with blue badges and assisted bin collections.

Kent County Council, Kent Police and their commissioned support services increased the number of domestic abuse victims that seek and receive support by more than 2 per cent through the use of contact information cards.

In the latest phase of the Programme, Derbyshire County Council will look to reduce the number of repeat applications to the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund by increasing uptake of budgeting support.

Newcastle City Council will also increase the number of families engaging positively with early help services following an initial report of concerns to children’s social care.

‘The LGA’s Behavioural Insights Programme was once again oversubscribed this year, demonstrating the popularity and interest in this innovative area of work,’ said Cllr Peter Fleming, chairman of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board.

‘As part of the LGA’s wider sector-led improvement offer, organisations across the country can learn from other local authorities where the LGA’s Behavioural Insights Programme has been a success.

‘Despite experiencing increased pressures on their budgets and services, councils have shown they are best placed to provide innovative and efficient services.

The other councils set to receive £20,000 each from the LGA’s Behavioural Insights Programme:

North Yorkshire County Council – Improving school readiness by encouraging more parents, families and community support networks to read with their children to assist with speech and language development.

South Gloucestershire Council – to deploy a strengths-based approach with adult social care service users in the local hospital in order to prevent, delay or divert demand.

Sunderland City Council – increasing rates of breastfeeding to improve health.

Surrey County Council – increasing sustainable travel amongst local business employees.

The London Borough of Merton – reducing the number of vehicles idling outside schools.

The London Borough of Redbridge – reducing the demand for on-street prostitution in the local area.

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