Behaviour change is one of the primary functions of government communications – helping change and save lives, helping the government run more effectively as well as save taxpayer’s money.
Behaviour change is fundamental to all government communications, regardless of discipline.
A behaviour is not a culture shift, a social norm, a change in attitude or increased awareness. While these may offer a route to behaviour change, they are not the ultimate outcome.
A behaviour is an observable action.
Behaviour change can take many forms. You could be encouraging your audience to:
• Adopt new positive behaviours, such as regular exercise or attending internal training courses;
• Stop negative behaviours, such as drink driving or posting harmful content on social media;
• Maintain or increase existing positive behaviours, such as paying your tax on time or remaining opted into your workplace pension;
• Reduce existing negative behaviours, such as drinking less alcohol or taking fewer short car journeys;
• Refrain from adopting new negative behaviours, such as breaching security regulations or becoming involved in knife crime.
This guide sets out how to adopt a behavioural approach to ensure your communications is strategic:
Strategic communications: a behavioural approach (PDF 951KB)
This guide provides a common framework for applying behavioural approaches to communication:
GCS guide to behaviour change and communications (PDF 660KB – published 2014)