Universities to investigate how behavioural insights can improve public sector services

Sheffield Hallam University will lead work in collaboration with The University of Manchester to help tailor vital public sector services using behavioural insights expertise as part of a new government framework.

The new Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Behavioural Insights framework will support public bodies to procure the expertise of organisations that offer behavioural insights, changing the way policy is developed and public services are designed, making them more efficient and in tune with the needs and preferences of the public.

Since 2010, the government has used behavioural insights research to inform policy, with an emphasis on using a strong evidence base about human behaviour to find innovative ways of encouraging, enabling and supporting people to make better choices for themselves.

The framework is available for use by central government departments and other public sector bodies including NHS Trusts, schools, universities, colleges, local authorities and the Police and Fire Services.

CCS supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services.

Joint bid

Sheffield Hallam’s successful application was a joint bid with The University of Manchester. The partnership, led by Sheffield Hallam, is the only University-led supplier in the framework and one of just six suppliers overall.

John Manzoni, Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office and Chief Executive of the Civil Service said: “Behavioural insights have been a part of policy making at the heart of government for a significant amount of time now. This new framework will enable all public sector organisations to access this expertise, helping them to design efficient, effective public services that meet the real needs of citizens.”

Professor Madelynne Arden, Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “This behavioural insights framework agreement is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Sheffield Hallam University to transform lives by ensuring that government policy and public services are informed by evidence, are effective, and are designed innovatively to meet people’s needs.

“We look forward to working in collaboration with colleagues at The University of Manchester as the only University-led suppliers. Our joint approach will be informed by cutting edge, evidence-based behavioural science and rigorous evaluation.”

Professor Christopher Armitage, Manchester Centre for Health Psychology, The University of Manchester, said: “One of the aims of the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology is to ensure that all government policy decisions and their evaluations are informed by behavioural science.

“We are delighted to have been awarded this behavioural insights framework agreement in collaboration with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University because it will accelerate the impact of our world-leading research by making a real difference to people’s lives.”

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