At the first GCS summer conference David Watson, Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office and Lester Posner, Department for Work and Pensions, launched the new GCS guide to communications and behaviour change.

This free resource provides a practical explanation of behaviour change theory, building on previous guidance, good practice across GCS and the work of the Behavioural Insights Team. It outlines a common framework which all government communicators can use called EAST(making it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely) and how this can be applied to communications planning using the OASIS (Objectives, Audience, Strategy, Implementation, Scoring) planning model.

Ten case studies from government departments who have effectively applied these principles to their communications are outlined. These include:

  • Pensions auto enrolment using the principle of social norming
  • The Stoptober campaign using the ideas of chunking and reinforcement
  • Fire Kills applying creating a memorable automatic connection by linking changing your clocks to checking your smoke alarm, and
  • Jobcentres applying the principle of loss aversion in their poster campaigns

There is also a comprehensive glossary which outlines all you need to know about behavioural change from anchoring to different theories of change.

As Alex Aiken says in his introduction ‘Behavioural theory is relevant to all communications disciplines and I expect all government communicators to have a good grounding in its application. This guide is your starting point to thinking critically about how to use these approaches to improve your work.’

Article by Alison Enright

GCS guide to behaviour change