Modifying Behaviour through Policy

30 November 2021
Project Planning


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

We are delighted to be able to inform you that we shall be joined live during this training seminar by Michael Wernick, former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet in the Canadian Civil Service.

As Clerk, Michael helped the Prime Minister and his new government implement its agenda, and as head of the public service, he drove a renewal agenda, tabling four annual reports on the state of Canada’s public service. With 28 years as an executive in the federal public service, including 17 years in the community of Deputy Ministers, and three as Clerk, Michael is one of Canada’s most experienced and influential public sector leaders.

During the seminar, Michael will be providing strategic insights and perspectives from the highest levels of government.

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


Times on the Agenda are in Central Canadian/US Time (09:00 Start – 15:00 Close)
Start time in Pacific Time is 07:00
Start time in Mountain Time is 08:00
Start time in Eastern Time is 10:00
Start time in Atlantic Time is 11:00

09:00 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
  • Policy, incentives and enforcement
  • Rational and emotional responses
  • Facilitated delegate discussion
10:00 Session Two Understanding the Psychology of Behaviour
  • Understanding drivers of behaviour
  • Self-interest and altruism: familiarity and comfort zones; habits and routines
  • External influences on behaviour and attitudes – media, upbringing, social milieu, culture, family, peer groups, work colleagues
  • Delegate experience sharing
11:00 Strategic Perspectives on Modifying Behaviour through Policy

Strategic insights and perspectives from the highest levels of government. This session is provided live by our guest speaker, Michael Wernick, who was formerly Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to Cabinet in the Canadian Civil Service

12:00 Break
12:30 Session Three Measuring and Tracking Awareness, Attitudes and Behaviour
  • Awareness, attitudes and behaviour
  • Quantitative research: polls, surveys and panels
  • Qualitative research: interviews, focus groups, deliberate events
  • Impact and evaluation
  • Delegate discussion
13:30 Session Four 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
14:30 Reflection
  • Facilitated delegate discussion on lessons learned
  • Implications for delegates’ own responsibilities
  • Further sources of insight and evidence
15:00 Close

Our training seminars are based on

  • A vast reservoir of knowledge about effective, delivery-focused approaches that are designed to enable you to achieve better results in your place of work
  • Expert practitioner and thought-leader experience, covering a comprehensive range of practical knowledge and people skills, to help you to work more productively
  • International perspectives and experience, enabling transferability and applicability wherever in the world you are from

Our training team

  • Our L&D team have all had successful careers as practitioners in their fields of expertise. They bring their experience, knowledge and skills to support the professional development of other public servants
  • Our team all now work as professional trainers, blending practitioner experience with professionally designed L&D solutions
  • Between them, our team have provided training for more than 100,000 public servants from 120 countries

Our training ethos

  • We deliver people-focused training designed to help you perform better
  • We provide practical insights, based on years of experience about what works, combined with practical methods to help you to make it work effectively in your own organisation
  • We are here to help you to perform better


The price of attending this one-day Virtual Training Seminar is:
CAD 870 per person
USD 690 per person

Please contact us for details of discounts for group bookings, or to arrange a conversation with a member of our training team to discuss in-house delivery options, including tailoring the day’s training to your specific needs.
You can email David Leakey on [email protected] or phone on +44 20 7661 7817.