Study aims to lessen demand on main council services

New research examining how councils can reduce demand on front-line services has been commissioned by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

"Nudge, Budge, Reduce: New Strategies for Managing the Public Realm", conducted by the New Local Government Network (NLGN), will look at how using methods of behavioural change could help to save money.

APSE head of communications and co-ordination Mo Baines said: "An example is we all want people to use our parks but we need them to use bins instead of littering so that we don't end up with the costs of that as well as the grounds maintenance side. Other examples include self-serve or channel- shift techniques."

She added: "Some of the scientific elements of the research are looking at human behaviour - encouragement, reward, deterrents or fines - but our research will look at what is working and how to adopt those principles for the public sector."

The techniques to be covered by the research are commonly used in the retail sector. Online retail giant Amazon, for example, gives customers suggestions of products in which they may be interested based on purchase history.

The report will look at how APSE can develop an intelligent approach to nudge and budge techniques in place-based services such as waste and recycling, street scene and public realm and leisure and parks.

To sign up and contribute, see The NLGN is due to publish the results in September.

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