Modifying Behaviour through Policy

This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.


This training seminar will examine the most effective approaches to delivering change in individual or group behaviour through policy interventions.

Political imperatives and the need for rapid action can mean the deep psychological level on which the public respond to new policy interventions can be overlooked, misunderstood, or even omitted. Yet policy interventions that do not take account of public attitudes and behaviours are likely to under-deliver or fail.

The seminar will look into generic and specific behavioural and psychological issues that need to be built into your policy formulation, development and delivery when you are seeking maximum effectiveness.

Topics that will be examined include:

  • Policy-making and the limits of rationalism
  • Understanding the psychology of behaviour
  • How to approach developing policy to modify attitudes and behaviour
  • Analysis of effective policy interventions
  • Understand how to track awareness, attitudes and behaviour
  • Measuring and evaluating behavioural change

Who is it designed for?

This seminar is designed for civil service policy team members, as well as ministers, policy directors, senior managers and external advisers and stakeholders. As the policy formulation, option appraisal and decision-making process is a holistic one that includes input from team members at all levels and from a range of stakeholders, the topics under examination will be of benefit to colleagues involved at every stage of the process.

How will you benefit from attending?

This seminar provides a very significant deepening of policy-makers’ understanding of how to design the most effective and impactful policy. As such, it will benefit teams and individuals involved in all aspects and levels of policy-making across the departmental, subject and cultural spectrum.

Learning outcomes

You will:

  • Understand the gap between rational policy-making and human behaviour; and learn how to use this knowledge to make better policy
  • Analyse and learn how people’s attitudes and behaviour can be understood through research, and how to apply this to your policy scoping and formulation
  • Examine and learn how to maximise policy impact through behavioural awareness and building-in psychological insight throughout the policy-making cycle
  • Understand barriers to achieving change
  • Learn how to action-plan policy formulation that is based on sound behavioural knowledge

This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.


Session One Policy-Making and the Limits of Rationalism
  • Behavioural change from social marketing to nudge theory
  • Delivering a political agenda and implementing strategic objectives
  • Shaping behaviour and outcomes
  • Rational and emotional responses
  • Information and belief; values and priorities
  • Facilitated delegate discussion
Session Two Understanding the Psychology of Behaviour
  • How can policy design take into account the vast range of everyday human characteristics?
  • Understanding drivers of motivation in behaviour
  • Self-interest and altruism: familiarity and comfort zones; habits and routines
  • Social sciences: psychology, sociology, anthropology and economics
  • External influences on behaviour and attitudes – media, upbringing, social milieu, culture, family, peer groups, work colleagues
  • Delegate experience sharing
Session Three Measuring and Tracking Awareness, Attitudes and Behaviour
  • Quantitative research: polls, surveys and panels
  • Qualitative research: interviews, focus groups, deliberate events
  • Awareness: what people know
  • Attitudes: what people think and feel
  • Behaviour: what they do
  • Delegate discussion
Session Four Marketing and Communications as Policy Tools
  • Audience segmentation and profiling
  • Targeting and channel strategies
  • Brand, advertising and PR
  • Price, incentives and promotions
  • Loyalty and advocacy
  • Discussion
Session Five Barriers to Behavioural Change
  • Compliance, uptake and personality profiles
  • Hard to reach and resistant groups
  • Resources: risks of under-investing in behavioural change
  • Time: the need for intensive long-term intervention
  • Opponents: competing and conflicting voices
  • Backlash: libertarianism, ‘health and safety madness’ and the nanny state
  • Facilitated delegate discussion on lessons learned
  • Implications for delegates’ own responsibilities
  • Further sources of insight and evidence

Our L&D ethos

  • We’re here to enable you to perform better

Our L&D team

  • All former practitioners, now professional trainers, our L&D team have provided open and bespoke solutions for more than 100,000 public servants from 120 countries

Our L&D seminars

  • A vast reservoir of international, transferable knowledge and perspectives about effective, delivery-focused approaches to working smarter in the public sector

This is an open programme and an in-house training course. For further information and pricing contact [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.