LGA behavioural insights projects

Learn about current and past LGA funded behavioural insights projects.

Complete projects

The following projects are now complete with results for each set out in the summary reports below. Which ones could you implement in your council?

Housing (LB of Hammersmith and Fulham)

We conducted research with Hammersmith and Fulham tenants (workshops, visits, interviews and data analysis) to understand the barriers to, and motivating factors for, moving into sheltered housing. This research was used to develop communications to re-frame sheltered housing and to promote residents to ‘downsize’ into smaller properties. These were to be sent to council residents and evaluated using a randomised controlled trial.

We ran an online survey experiment to test our communications and our proposed strategy. We recruited 1,011 participants over 55 years old living in social housing in urban areas in the UK to complete the experiment. The communication we tested successfully shifted key beliefs of our target group. This validated our chosen approach and provided insights to help shape Hammersmith and Fulham communications and housing strategy moving forward.

Project work
Case study
Final report

Online survey
Nudge – Letter
Nudge – housing options


Jacob Mcclellan, Jacob.Mcclellan@lbhf.gov.uk
Calvin Garrett, Calvin.Garrett@lbhf.gov.uk

Reducing household waste (LB of Havering)

The Two Bag Challenge asked households in two of Havering’s highest waste-producing areas to reduce their general waste to no more than two sacks per week. Delivery of the pilot, including communications, waste management guidance for residents, and waste focused events in the local area, was informed by behavioural insights gathered from research with residents in the target areas, as well as wider behavioural science theory. During the four-week challenge, the number of households presenting two bags or less per week increased by 39 per cent compared to the baseline. Average weekly waste tonnages (residual waste and recycling combined) decreased in one of the two target areas; from 16.72 tonnes during the baseline to 15.74 tonnes during the challenge. This reduction of 3.91 tonnes equates to a financial saving of £508, in just this one area of 1,287 households, over four weeks.

Contact: natalie.naor@havering.gov.uk

Responding to COVID-19 (North Yorkshire County Council)

The aims of this project were twofold. The first was to support home workers during the COVID-19 outbreak as they adjust to working from home. This included assistance with home-schooling for parents who have these new responsibilities. A second aim of the project was to mobilise citizens living in North Yorkshire to support and volunteer in their local community during the pandemic. In the staff survey statement, ‘I know where to access health and wellbeing resources that might support me’, 92 per cent of North Yorkshire County Council staff agreed. Meanwhile, 57 per cent of respondents from the community had taken part in either formal or informal volunteering during the pandemic.

Scoping document
Case study
Final report 
Examples of nudges
Behavioural science

Contact: Ruth Little: Ruth.Little@northyorks.gov.uk

Safeguarding (Warwickshire County Council)

Warwickshire County Council worked on the LGA Behavioural Insights Programme to reduce the volume of non-urgent calls made by school-based safeguarding leads (DSLs) to their Multi Agency Safeguarding hub (MASH) by adopting a behaviourally informed intervention. The project sought to provide clear and accessible guidance highlighting more appropriate sources of support for DSLs, provide clarity over decision making, in order to reduce non-urgent contacts. The intervention took the form of training and a poster. DSLs receiving the intervention reduced non-urgent calls by 65 per cent compared with other DSLs. This reduction in contacts would mean 1,398 fewer non-urgent calls over the course of a year, realising savings of over £370,000 a year.  

Public health (Hartlepool Borough Council)

Hartlepool Borough Council used behavioural insights to improve treatment uptake amongst individuals who require support for drug and alcohol misuse. The number of individuals engaging in treatment was 162 (77.9 per cent) at baseline and 164 (80.1 per cent) at intervention.

Officer contact:
Sharon.robson@hartlepool.gov.uk; Alison.Reeves@hartlepool.gov.uk

Fire Services (East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service)

Being the sole Fire and Rescue Service which the LGA have funded in the programme, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have looked at how we can change behaviour with the aim of reducing accidental dwelling fires.

Skills and employment (Lincolnshire County Council)

The focus of this project was to help build its understanding of how to motivate employers (particularly SMEs) to encourage their staff to attend skills and training opportunities in order to meet the emerging skills gap. By improving the skills of local people you increase their ability to gain and keep higher wage employment, therefore improving local health outcomes and reducing demands on local services. The project consisted of two trials exploring employer motivation to invest in skills. Both trials explored how to improve the effectiveness of communications sent out to employers to encourage them to consider investing in training and development for their staff.

Contact: Clare Hughes, clare.hughes@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Adult social care (Leeds City Council)

This project focused on improving efficiency and outcomes during initial contact with adult social care services with two core aims: to reduce the 22% of referrals for assessment that do not lead to an uptake of social care support by improving information and decision making at this stage of the process; and to help establish strength based approaches to social care by utilising people’s strengths and assets. The project involved trialling a new process, the OAT process, for contact centre operators to use when taking a call relating to adult social care.

Contact: Carl Arnold, carl.arnold@leeds.gov.uk

Public health (Liverpool City Council)

The project focused on reducing sugar consumption in the local population to improve health outcomes. The project tested whether displaying sugar content of different fizzy drinks at the point of sale has an impact on the number of fizzy drinks being sold.

Contact: Sue Cummings, sue.cummings@liverpool.gov.uk

Domestic violence (Kent County Council)

The LGA has worked with Kent County Council, Kent Police, their commissioned support services and the Behavioural Insights Team to increase the number of domestic abuse victims that seek and receive support. The commissioned support service successfully contacted a further 6.3 per cent of domestic violence victims which saw a 3.6 per cent increase of uptake in support received. This was done by producing a contact information card for victims of domestic abuse which used behavioural insights techniques to encourage victims to take up support services.

Contact: melanie.anthony@kent.gov.uk

Housing (Tunbridge Wells Borough Council)

This project examined how behavioural insights can support residents into accessing private rented housing, as opposed to relying on the depleting council housing stock. Alongside this, it looked into how behaviour change can be used to help guide and change the nature of the housing options team’s advice and messaging.

Contact: Jane Lang, jane.lang@Tunbridgewells@gov.uk

Public health (City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council)

Increasing the uptake of the flu vaccine.

Contact: grainne.dickerson@bradford.gov.uk

Reducing household waste (LB of Havering)

Contact: natalie.naor@havering.gov.uk

Litter (New Forest District Council)

The project originally set out to reduce the amount of litter thrown from vehicles. Due to COVID-19, the council’s priorities have shifted slightly to reduce the amount of littering in coastal areas. New Forest District Council worked on the LGA Behavioural Insights Programme to support the development of a new insight-led approach to tackling this issue, which proved highly successful. The intervention, which used novel messaging and imagery on advertising trailers at three sites and dispensed rubbish bags, reduced litter by 10.8 tonnes over a one month period (a reduction of 29 per cent), saving an estimated £10,000 in waste collection costs.

Contact: Nicola.Plummer@NFDC.GOV.UK

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Public health (Brighton and Hove City Council)

This pilot project focused on developing an intervention to reduce sugar consumption in schools. The intervention tested was a series of personalised ‘sugar swap’ messages (e.g. messages suggesting swapping a food item for a different item with lower sugar content).

Officer contact: katie.cuming@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Children’s Services (LB Croydon)

Croydon reduced demand in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities transport services.

Contact: Amy Jones, Amy.Jones@croydon.gov.uk

Adult Social Care (Knowsley Metropolitan Council)

With technology playing a more active role in care, Knowsley MBC increased the uptake of assistive technology in adult social care.

Contact: David.Tyrrell@knowsley.gov.uk

Public health (North East Lincolnshire Council)

North East Lincolnshire Council has increased the uptake of the bowel cancer screening programme in some of its most deprived areas to prevent escalation of the illness. 

Case study
The nudge

Officer contact: Claire.thompson@nelincs.gov.uk

Children’s Social Care (Warrington Borough Council)

Warrington Borough Council reduced the number of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans.

Officer contact:pworthington@warrington.gov.uk

Adult Social Care (Worcestershire County Council)

Worcestershire County Council nudged its way to prompter payment of fairer charging invoices in Adult Social Care services.

Officer contact: cbloss@worcestershire.gov.uk


Ongoing projects

In previous funding rounds, the following organisations were successful and are currently undertaking a behavioural insights trial.

Encouraging employers to offer work placements for NEETs (Stockport)

The team is aiming to increase the number of paid work placements for young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
Scoping document Encouraging employers to offer work placement for Neets in Stockport (pdf, 3.41MB)
Officer Contact: simon.armour@stockport.gov.uk

Hate Crime Reduction Trial (Cambridgeshire County Council)

Reducing public sector demand linked to Hate Crime, including Police/Probation/MH, housing and those organisations that support victims.

Scope: Hate crime behavioural insights trial (pdf, 1.23MB)

Beatrice Brown: Beatrice.Brown@cambridgshire.gov.uk

COVID Community Champions Programme (Wirral Borough Council)

Wirral Borough Council Working with community champions in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nicola Jones: nicolajones3@wirral.gov.uk

Public health (City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council)

Increasing the uptake of the flu vaccine.

Contact: grainne.dickerson@bradford.gov.uk

Recycling and waste (Westminster City Council)

Increasing levels of recycling and reducing the amount of abandoned waste on the streets.

Contact: chemsley@westminster.gov.uk

Housing (Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council)

Reducing the proportion of local authority housing tenants in rent arrears.

Contact: C.Brown2@wiganmbc.gov.uk

Recycling (LB of Hounslow)

Increasing levels of recycling in high rise flats.

Contact: cindy.gardener@hounslow.gov.uk

Financial management (Derbyshire County Council)

Derbyshire County Council: reducing the number of repeat applications to the Derbyshire Discretionary Fund

Scoping document
Vicky Powers: ddf@derbyshire.gov.uk

Children's services (Newcastle City Council)

Newcastle City Council: increasing the number of families taking up early help plans from children’s services.

Scoping report: Using behavioural insights to increase engagement with Early Help Services 
Contact: stephen.foreman@newcastle.gov.uk

Adult social care (South Gloucestershire Council)

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

Public health (Sunderland City Council)

Sunderland are looking to increase the rates of breastfeeding to benefit both health and educational outcomes.

Scoping report: Behavioural insights project to improve breastfeeding rates in Sunderland (pdf, 49KB)

Contact: Lorraine Hughes: lorraine.hughes@sunderland.gov.uk

Climate change (Surrey County Council)

This project aims to increase sustainable travel amongst local business employees.

Behavioural insights scoping report: Promoting sustainable modes of transport and reducing road congestion for Surrey Research Park (pdf, 2.16MB)

Contact: Hannah Pattinson hannah.pattinson@surreycc.gov.uk

Climate change (The London Borough of Merton)

Merton’s project is looking to reduce vehicle idling outside schools in order to improve air quality. 

Rescoping report (August 2021)

Scoping report: Improving air quality in Merton (pdf,  3.49MB)

Contact: Shruti Patel: shruti.patel@merton.gov.uk

On-street prostitution (The London Borough of Redbridge)

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

Contact: Megan Tilley: Megan.Tilley@redbridge.gov.uk

Increasing physical activity levels (Wolverhampton City Council)

Wolverhampton City Council are working to increase physical activity to promote healthy living. 
Contact: Shanara.abdin@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Scope: Using behavioural science to increase inactive Wolverhampton residents' physical activity levels (pdf, 1,156KB)

Working with businesses to improve adherence to COVID-19 safety measures (Sandwell Council)

Sandwell Council is working with several workplaces to help increase the adherence to personal protective behaviours and vaccine uptake across members of staff in these external organisations.

Scope: Using a behavioural insights approach to tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in Sandwell (pdf, 991KB )

Chitra Roberts: Chitra_Roberts@sandwell.gov.uk

Using Behavioural Insights to Help Residents in Debt (London Borough of Newham) 

Newham are looking to reduce levels of single and multiple debts for residents by improving greater financial confidence, resilience and reducing demand for council services.

Scope: Using behavioural insights to help residents in debt (pdf 661KB)

Office Contact: Katie.Brunger@newham.gov.uk

Reduction in pupil exclusion pilot (Norfolk County Council)

Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia (UEA) are working together to reduce the number of pupils excluded from state-funded schools in the region.

Scope: Reducing Pupil Exclusions in State-Funded Schools (pdf 262 KB)

Officer Contact: helena.bunn@norfolk.gov.uk

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The LGA and the councils undertaking the work will be sharing learning and results as and when they come in for others to benefit from.