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Institute responds to decision to 'mutualise' the Behavioural Insights Team

As part of a government drive to develop new commercial models for public services the Cabinet Office has announced that it wants to 'mutualise' the Behavioural Insights Team. The Team will be turned into a profit-making joint venture with a private company taking a stake of up to 50% in the new business. The mutual will be guaranteed government contracts for a period of time but it will be free to sell its services outside Whitehall.

Tom Gash, Director of Research for the Institute for Government, which first wrote about behavioural economics and its application for government, said:

“The Behavioural Insights Team is still unique in what it does and it’s understandable why the team might want to share its expertise more widely. But, having invested in building this unit, the government now runs the risk of losing out on access to these skills if they can’t compete with other governments or the commercial sector. It’s vital that the spin-out doesn’t lead to this innovative approach to policymaking being out of sight and out of mind.”

Related information

Public Finance: Whitehall ‘spin-outs’: a nudge too far? By Tom Gash

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