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Applying Behavioural Insights to Reduce Fraud, Debt and Error

Finance, Policy, experiments, nudge

The Behavioural Insights Team has published a paper on fraud, debt and error. It represents a completely new way of doing policy: by actively testing ideas with public bodies, the team has been able to demonstrate effects that, if rolled out, could save hundreds of millions of pounds.

This latest paper sets out some of the most effective actions which public bodies can take. Many of these are simple and highly cost effective.

For example, the project demonstrated that by making simple changes to tax letters, explaining that most people in the local area had already paid their taxes, repayment rates were boosted by around 15 percentage points.

If rolled out nationally, this would advance over £160 million of cash flow by around six weeks each year.

The paper also presents the preliminary findings from eight randomised controlled trials which BIT has run with a range of organisations – from local authorities to HMRC.

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