Abstracts: July 18th, 2011

The Government has put behaviour change or ‘nudge’ techniques at the forefront of its public service reform agenda. A report by localism think tank the New Local Government Network illustrates that councils must identify and harness the energy of their most active citizens to help improve services, engage communities and save money.

The report, Changing Behaviours, has identified a number of innovative case studies and pilot projects where councils have afforded citizens an increased role in re-inventing services, resulting in cost reductions for councils of between 15 and 20 percent.

However, the report also warns that government itself must radically change to initiate and maximise these approaches. Greater resources and emphasis need to be invested in effective communication with residents and in putting support measures in place to enable a more active role for individual citizens in designing their public services.

The report can be downloaded.