Sydney was host to Behavioural Exchange 2014, the world’s first global public policy behavioural insights conference on June 2–3. Experts from around the world—including co-authors of Nudge, Professors Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, and head of the UK Behavioural Insights Team, Dr David Halpern—shared practical examples from the field. Behavioural insights or ‘nudging’, which brings together the learnings from cognitive psychology and behavioural economics to make it easier for people to make the ‘right’ choices, has been embraced by governments in the UK and the US and now in NSW.
ARTD senior staff Andrew Hawkins and Florent Gomez-Bonnet participated in the conference. They are currently working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to evaluate behaviour change intervention trials for the NSW Home Power Savings Program, using a randomised control trial to measure the effectiveness of the different ways to promote reduced energy consumption (loss aversion, social norms and commitment).
One of the key messages from the conference was the importance of measuring outcomes (Test, Learn, Adapt cycle), in particular through randomised controlled trials. There is also a need to build on existing successes with ‘low-hanging fruits’ (like increasing tax payment rates through simplified forms) and extend the approach to more challenging areas of social policy. Clearly, behavioural insights will be a growing focus in the spheres of policy and evaluation of the coming years.
ARTD has sponsored the NSW Institute of Public Administration Australia’s (IPAA) Collaboration Award for the third year in a row. The award recognises individuals who have established effective joint working arrangements, can clearly identify and communicate the benefits of a collaborative approach, and have delivered improved, coordinated and efficient services.
Our Principal Consultant Sue Leahy presented the award to the 2014 winner, Lisa Charet from Community Services in the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, at a gala awards ceremony on Thursday May 29. Lisa was recognised for her development of innovative, person-centred service delivery and improved outcomes for vulnerable children in need of care and protection. ARTD congratulates Lisa and all the winners and finalists in the 2014 IPAA NSW Awards for Individual Excellence.