Can Councils Lead Behaviour Change?


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Warren Hatter's slides from a workshop at the SOLACE Conference 2010. The main message is that UK local government needs to build its capacity to use known behavioural effects and behaviour change techniques. The context is carbon reduction, but the implications are broader.

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  • The famous ‘Piano Stairs’. But why does this work? It’s not just ‘fun’, is it?
  • From a broadsheet reader’s perspective …
  • It’s deep, and we shouldn’t deny it.
  • The example (almost) cited by David Cameron in his TED talk.
  • Key point: something as simple as a smiley has a major impact, which shows that using behaviour effects can be low/no cost, but can need lots of expertise.
  • This is one of many ways of categorising behavioural effects. The different models have much in common and hardly contradict each other – it’s just that there is no definitive understanding.
  • If you want to give a non-expert a VERY quick way of thinking about whether they could use behavioural techniques/effects, here is the ultra-shortlist of the effects most likely to work!
  • In the context of reducing emisssions: the major reductions needed are in the emissions of citizens and businesses, not the state. Limited control over this means that if local authorities are to act as place shapers and reduce emissions, they need to be expert in prompting behaviour change.
  • Once you let people and places take responsibility for their emissions by including embedded emissions, this is how the emissions of a typical place or person in the UK break down. What does this mean in behavioural terms?
  • There’s lots of knowledge we are just getting to feel our way around. One example of many is the massive difference in emissions between air-freighted and seasonal, local food.
  • Understanding the real breakdown of the emissions for which we are responsible could lead us to a behavioural checklist – a menu of things that doing more or less of will reduce our emissions. This is a very early draft from WSCC developing this idea in relation to food …
  • … and in relation to transport.
  • Behaviour change debates rage in these and other areas – more developed in some than others, as is the expertise.
  • We can map our interventions, though the inclination until now has been to use idiomatic terms like ‘carrot and stick’ to help non-experts access the ideas.
  • If we look at a local authority’s behaviour change interventions, we can see examples of behaviour change techniques being use, though often unconsciously.
  • What is needed is more systematic approaches. The MINDSPACE adaptation of the 4Es model was a good start.
  • This is a rhetorical question – local authorities have little deliberate capacity in behaviour change theory or practice.
  • Can Councils Lead Behaviour Change?

    1. 1. Can Councils lead Behaviour Change? Warren Hatter Local Improvement Advisor Climate & Behaviour Change Advisor to West Sussex County Council [email_address] 07971 413164
    2. 3. Signs that behaviour change is being taken seriously
    3. 4. Why does this work? <ul><li>We are nowhere near as rational in our decision-making as we like to think we are </li></ul><ul><li>Though we are predictably irrational (which is helpful) </li></ul><ul><li>Our behaviour is highly context-dependent </li></ul><ul><li>(though there’s lots we don’t understand) we know it’s linked to our evolutionary success as a ‘Super Social Ape’ </li></ul>
    4. 5. One example among many <ul><li>Two groups given information about their neighbourhood energy use </li></ul>Group A Group B Straight info about energy use Straight info and smiley/sad face Source: Hunting Dynasty
    5. 6. One example among many <ul><li>Two groups given information about their neighbourhood energy use </li></ul>Group A Group B 40% more energy saved High users reduced consumption Low users increased consumption High users reduced consumption Low users consistent consumption Source: Hunting Dynasty
    6. 7. Overview of effects Source: Young Foundation
    7. 8. Behavioural Economics Cheat Sheet <ul><li>Framing </li></ul><ul><li>Loss aversion </li></ul><ul><li>Social norms </li></ul>
    8. 9. Emissions in a Locality From To …
    9. 10. Typical UK Person: 15 tonnes Source: Mike Berners-Lee
    10. 11. Asparagus (250g pack): 2kg Low 125 g Air freighted from Peru Average 2 kg Local In-season High 3.5 kg Source: Mike Berners-Lee
    11. 12. Understanding footprints helps us understand behaviour Source: West Sussex County Council
    12. 13. … continued A congested drive can cause three times the emissions of the same drive on a clear road Speed plays a dominant role in a number of transport indicators including fuel consumption and CO 2 emissions Issue Changes in behaviour to address issue  People drive at 60 mph on motorways  People drive within speed limits  People keep the windows up when driving fast  More people work at home  People avoid driving during rush hour  Parents walk their children to school Flying is 10 times worse than taking the train  People to holiday in the UK  Businesses to use video-conferencing for meetings Source: West Sussex County Council
    13. 14. Not just about CO2 & sustainability <ul><li>Current climate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how to withdraw from service delivery? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Building Big Society: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how to get people involved who aren’t yet? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Health, crime, etc </li></ul>
    14. 15. Map of behaviour change interventions ‘ Clearing up’ “ Carrots” “ Sticks” Events Community champions Physical changes One-to-ones Social advertising Peer pressure Information & Education Financial incentives Making it easier Legislation Enforcement Fines Prosecution Naming (and shaming) Service redesigns Fees and charges WPAs, Love Food Hate Waste, etc Tree wardens, Greening Campaign Love Food, Hate Waste Removing abandoned cars & graffiti Engauge, 3-in-1 Card Tree wardens’ awareness raising, driving/cycling courses, Taste magazine, Health Walks, Small Change Big Difference booklet Move For Health seminars Bigger Picture training, etc WPAs, SBP, STAs Safer Routes to School Showers School Safety Zones Energy M’ment Plan actions Utility management seminars, Business WPAs cold-calling Rangers’ woodland projects Travel plans for site developments Greening Campaign Consultancy Co-production Key: Targeting public & businesses Targeting staff & services Safer Routes To School Engauge 10% Challenge Energy Management Project monitoring Perform Car parking charges Mileage budgets Health checks Energy Management Project, bike purchase scheme Pool bikes Staff champions Staff sustainability groups Corporate sustainability group Corporate tools Sustainability appraisal Carbon model
    15. 16. We use some of this knowledge
    16. 17. Operational approach Source: Mindspace (Institute for Government/Cabinet Office, 2010)
    17. 18. Do we take behaviour change seriously? <ul><li>JDs? </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity? </li></ul><ul><li>Manage performance? </li></ul><ul><li>Networking? </li></ul>