Governments are increasingly using behavioural insights to design, enhance and reassess their policies and services. Applying these insights means governments adopt a more realistic view of human behaviour than they have done in the past – and may achieve better outcomes as a result.

However, elected and unelected government officials are themselves influenced by the same heuristics and biases that they try to address in others. This report explores how this happens – and how these biases can be addressed or mitigated. To do this, it focuses on three core activities of policymaking: noticing, deliberating and executing.

This report builds on the Behavioural Insights Team’s past work on applying behavioural insights to policymaking and the Institute for Government’s previous projects on better policymaking. The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is a social purpose company jointly owned by the UK Government, Nesta (the innovation charity) and BIT’s employees. BIT was created in 10 Downing Street in 2010 as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences to policy.