Archive for April, 2011

Repeal of the ‘Duty to Involve’ – good or bad idea?

April 28, 2011

Just before Easter the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) issued new Best Value statutory guidance and announced a consultation, that closes on June 14, to repeal a key statutory duty on local authorities: the Duty to Involve.

The repeal of the Duty to Involve has raised quite a lot of debate in the community engagement fraternity with some commentators strongly opposing the change.

The Government has argued that its proposals for a new range of Community Rights, within the Localism Bill, are a more localist approach to involving people. These comprise:

  • Community Right to Challenge. Under this Right voluntary and community groups, parish councils and local authority staff will be able to challenge to take over the running of local public services.
  • Community Right to Buy. Under this Right important local amenities and buildings – such as old town halls, community halls or the last village shop or pub can be nominated for listing by the local authority as assets of community value. If listed assets come up for sale, communities will have extra time to prepare a bid to take them over, making it easier to keep much-loved assets in public use and part of local life.
  • Community Right to Build. This allows communities to get together and take forward developments for new homes, shops and facilities in their area and also allows a community organisation to go ahead with development without the need for an application for planning permission, if there is overwhelming community support for the development and minimum criteria are met

These are important new rights, however they do seem to be ones that strengthen the position of those individuals and communities who are already motivated to take part. We know from our work on values research that levels of motivation and self-efficacy are not evenly distributed across the population and in some communities are part of a wider issue of low levels of social capital.

Thus there might be a case for elements of the Duty to Involve to be retained as Edward Anderson of Involve argues.

In  the end, the key thing is that people should take part in the consultation before 14 June and express a strong range of views on how public involvement should be taken forward, in order to avoid any change leading to gaps in public involvement in the communities that may need it most.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

Should the new Well-Being Index also measure motivation and values?

April 15, 2011

We have blogged before about the Government’s consultation on the development of a national Well-being Index. This closes later today, so there is still a little time left if you would like to contribute your own views to the Office for National Statistics on the subject.

Understanding and measuring well-being is an issue rising up the public policy agenda, with movements such as Action for Happiness launched recently to promote the ideas around Happiness Economics put forward by Richard Layard. There are also other more holistic approaches promoted by those advocating Positive Psychology such as Martin Seligman’s Flourish. These recognise the need, at the same time as promoting happiness, to strengthen the resilience and “grit” of individuals to deal with the inevitable bad things in life; eg death of a loved one, divorce, even moving house, that promoting “happiness ” in general is unlikely to eliminate, but which also make us measure and appreciate the actual happy moments in life more. This approach also applies to building resilience in communities, where the state clearly has a role and responsibility to assist people. However as we argue in our submission, this support has often been narrowly interpreted in the past, which is why broader approaches need to be considered in future.

As a contribution to that debate, below is an extract from TCC‘s submission to the consultation, which draws from our previous blog posting on this, but also makes the point about the index being more of a practical tool to measure the outcomes from pro-social behavioural interventions:

TCC Submission to Office for National Statistics (ONS) consultation on the development of a Well-Being Index – extract

“A widening of measurement beyond the rational economics of the UK Gross Domestic Product enables us to consider what really constitutes happiness.

“Will this be the same for everyone or should we take account of people’s differing values?

“A beautiful sunrise on holiday might be seen by an inner directed person as an aesthetically pleasing experience to savour or by an outer directed person as a ready opportunity to get the suntan lotion out to tone the body beautiful. Both will be equally happy but for very different reasons.

“As the work of the World Values Survey in this field seems to show, people are clearly happy when they satisfy their needs and can then seek fresh challenges. The satisfying of those needs determines their values, emotional state and motivation.

“The danger is that without an understanding and mindfulness of all the values that exist out in society, there is a possibility that a Well-being Index is mostly likely to reflect the inner-directed values of its likely authors as well as perhaps also a set of “objective” numbers around “quality of life”. Any delving into the emotional state of the nation may be no more than an “are you happy?” question on a 1-5 scale which will only be a skin-deep study of the real values and emotions of people in the country.

“A Well-being Index should not only tell us how happy or unhappy people are, it should also give us the pointers as to how we can directly improve things, in the way that values based segmentation already does within behaviour change interventions by understanding people’s current direct needs at that point of time for them.

In these difficult financial times if it important that an Index contributes to improving things rather than just be an interesting academic exercise. In other words we need an index that will be of use to the advice the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insight Team produces as well as to local authorities who will, within two years be responsible for delivering public health outcomes.

“The Cabinet Office’s own “Mindspace” report draws from current behavioural theory. What this tells us is that one cannot achieve a successful behavioural outcome without addressing two questions for the individual you are targeting. They are:

  • Ability: “Do I have the ability to continue, start, adapt or stop this behaviour”? e.g. skills, tools, finance, time, physical and mental effort, knowledge and physical access
  • Motivation: “What’s in it for me, or for people like me, to start, adapt or stop this behaviour?”

“Public Health and Well-being strategies tend to aim to focus on the first question – ability. This approach relates to tackling and supporting the ability of people to utilise the service or behave in the desired way by providing support or making information as accessible as possible. In other words much of the effort has gone into building mechanisms that enable people to take part or access information without understanding how this  varies between individuals. Understanding how different individuals are likely to respond will make communications more effective, achieve better outcomes and be a better use of resources. Addressing motivation is likely to be far less expensive than all the resources used to address deficits in ability.

“The Department of Business and Innovation and Skills recently commissioned as part of its “Sciencewise Expert Resources Centre” a report by the well-known environmental campaigner Chris Rose entitled “Consultation and Communication in relation to motivational needs“. Since with behaviour change we are increasingly recognising the importance of motivation, it is surprising that ONS is not drawing from that knowledge base too.

“Segmentation based on geo-demographics and lifestyle surveys such as MOSAIC and ACORN tell you “how” people behave and we now have lots of data at each Regional Health Observatory telling us “where” and to what intensity. However when it comes to motivation we need to understand “why” people behave the way they do and that is why understanding motivations is important to any national well-being index. That requires as Chris Rose argues an understanding of the values in a given community which is often reinforced by the social networks and types of social capital that people have.

“Values are one’s judgements about what is important in life and the lens that you look through when you view and try to make sense of the world.

“Our values are derived from our unconscious motivation to satisfy a range of needs as we navigate our way through day-to-day life. A need is something that is necessary for us to meet if we want to live a physically and emotionally healthy life.

“Needs can be objective and physical, such as food and water, or they can be subjective and psychological, such as the need for security or self-esteem. 

“The key thing to understand is that it is from our ‘dominant need’ that our values – what is most important to us – are derived. And when faced with a decision it is these values that provide the unconscious ‘frame’ that kicks in and sets the context before we actually take action. 

“Once we understand values, we understand what makes people tick. And we can start to understand how they might perceive services, how to deliver them in an in an empathetic way that matches their values and, crucially, how to motivate them to do things.

UK-based values segmentation data is based on 37 years of data collected via the British Values Survey of 8,500 people in a nationally representative survey. The information gathered is an information source for the global academic network that has built the World Values Survey, led by Professor Shalom Schwarz.

“The resulting values based segmentation gives us three principal values groups:

  • Sustenance Driven “Settlers”: motivated by the core needs of safety, security and belonging. Home, family and immediate neighbourhood are important, and the wider world often feels threatening. Change is often seen as negative.
  • Outer Directed “Prospectors”: motivated by the need for self-esteem and the esteem of others. Job progression, money and social status are important to them and although usually optimistic, they can worry for example about their status or the perceive declining quality of an environment.
  • Inner directed “Pioneers”: motivated by ideas, aesthetics and personal development. Interested in new information and often the initiators of change. They tend to have large social networks, but individuality is more important than following the crowd.

“Applying these three core values groups help us understand how various people make sense of the world, what motivates them to act, and therefore means we are able to more effectively craft information, messages – whether verbal or written – and interventions which resonate with these motivations.

“A well-being index that takes account of values that are mapped across the globe and have been for many years, will also add to the effectiveness of this project.

We hope that what finally emerges from the consultation is a wide-ranging set of well-being measures that are not just an academic exercise or useful for a politicians soundbite, but which can also drive public policy and contribute to improving public health at the local level.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

Further reports from the World Social Marketing Conference

April 13, 2011

As we reported yesterday, TCC has been in attendance and made presentations on research findings in a number of policy areas at the World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference.

Rachel Ward, TCC Director of Health sent this report on the second and final day’s events:

“Underlying much of the talk and many of the presentations at the conference was a debate about what social marketing is, what it isn’t, what we think it should be, whether we think the commercial marketing language is useful or a hindrance, whether the concepts are too easily simplified.

“In particular Prof. Alan Andreason talked through his work on looking to reposition social marketing, Dr Craig Lefebvre talked about honouring people in our approach and not referring to them as targets.

“It’s a debate that any new field will go through – and some old fields continue to have even after hundreds of years of existence. And they are good questions to ask as we continue to evolve as a discipline (or a movement as SM has been referred to over the past two days). But, as Nancy Lee said yesterday morning, surely what matters is the impact – where’s the beef in what we’re doing?

“If we’re having an impact for good – making a dent in the universe and doing something that has soul (as Dr Lefebvre said in his keynote) – I’m not sure it matters all that much what banner it comes under or how we get there. The great thing is that we’re learning from each other – and from across the world – and if we continue to do that, we can only get better at what we do.”

TCC associate Nick Pecorelli added:

“I absolutely loved what Carol Bryant had to say. Amongst her roles she co-directs the Florida Prevention Research Centre at the University of South Florida. They develop and evaluate community based approaches to social marketing.

“Their method is to teach community groups to apply social marketing principles and practices so that they can design, implement, and evaluate public health programs and policies themselves.  Each of the four projects they have helped establish is now self funded.

“What I particularly like about it is that by teaching communities to look at Return on Investment, and to conduct systematic insight,  they are able to get them to identify projects that make sense rather than those that are demanded by a vocal minority, or even worse those that policy makers decide are a good idea.”

We understand that all the presentations from will be up on the WSM website in 7 days time and the keynote speeches have been recorded to appear online too.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

TCC at the World Social Marketing Conference

April 12, 2011

TCC is playing an active part at the second World Non-Profit and Social Marketing Conference, presenting papers on our current work in a number of important areas of public policy affecting health and local government as well as contributing to the development of social marketing and behaviour change theory and practice.

Much of the background to all this work can be viewed in the postings on this blog and on the TCC website.

Rachel Ward, writing at the end of the first day of the Conference, reported on the following:

“Jay Berndhart, key-note session one spoke about social marketing 2.0. He said that collaboration is making something better over time, the more people take part in it the better it gets.

“Nadine Henley, keynote session one, spoke about why we should focus on positive social marketing rather than negative social marketing – she used the recent Australian government speeding campaign ad (which apparently has gone viral) as an example about successfully using a mix but the positive messaging winning out.

“In the debate at the end of the day about whether the 4P’s marketing mix (Product, Promotion, Price and Place) should still be a key element of social marketing, Clive Blair Stevens said that we shouldn’t forget that social marketing isn’t just ‘good’ marketing, the social means something – e.g. everything that we learn from behavioural economics.

“The National Social Marketing  Centre (NSMC) took people through their new VfM tools, that we recently blogged about as well as reporting on lots of great social marketing experiences from across the world – Japan, Australia and the U.S.

“One of the highlights for me was listening to Gerard Hastings. Amongst some great stories about Nelson Mandela, nuns and teaching on the West Bank, he said that the inspired social marketer is the one who allows the person to become the hero of their own story. A good mantra to have I think.”

We hope to report further on the conference in a future blog posting.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

Gaining more insight into social mobility

April 7, 2011

The debate over the Government’s social mobility strategy seems to have got bogged down over the issue of which ministers benefited from assistance in becoming interns when they were young. The reality is this is pretty irrelevant when the report itself shows that one in five young people between 18-24 are NEETs. Perhaps the issue shows more the preoccupations of those in Westminster and even those on the internet. Internships will not on their own resolve this substantial challenge!

If this issue is to be taken forward there needs to be some long-term consensus. The document along with the Child Poverty Strategy, that was published at the same time, recognise this to a degree:

  • The impact of place on people’s life chances
  • The need for early intervention and the acceptance of many of Graham Allen MP’s recommendations
  • The need to intervene to tackle barriers at key points of people’s lives
  • The recognition that local pilots will lead to innovation and develop new knowledge

However the outcomes framework being developed still seem focused on tackling this in very process-oriented way around addressing “ability“, rather than seeing that in behavioural terms that “motivation” counts too. It also does not address the impact that various combinations of values and social networks have on reinforcing positive or negative behaviours. Thus it is not a significant advance as it could have been.

It is thus worth revisiting our blog posting from August last year, which addressed this issue in more detail. It said:

“The recent appointment of former Labour Minster Alan Milburn to be an independent expert reviewer on government progress over social mobility is welcome as it creates the opportunity to build on the report he published under the previous government. Social mobility is an inter-generational issue that requires long-term commitment from governments, so the greater the consensus the more likelihood of some change occurring.

“At the same time it also needs to be recognised that the financial situation means it will be more difficult to deliver expensive changes at least in the short-term, whatever the level of consensus.

“Is there another approach that could be piloted as part of the review into this?

“Behaviour Change theory often stresses the importance of the need to address issues around both personal “ability” and “motivation”. Naturally the focus in public policy in the last century or more has been on providing support to help people develop their “ability” (eg universal education) and of course there may be more that still needs to be done in this field as books such as the Spirit Level would argue. The Capabilities Approach of Amartya Sen also quite naturally focuses on tackling the inequalities around how the state or society contributes to ability.

“However increasingly the other half of the behaviour change equation, “motivation”, is moving out of a past cul-de-sac of American business management and self-help books and is beginning to be recognised as a collective action problem for society to address. The argument is quite simple, and makes a practical use of the current understanding of how the brain works and the two independent systems within it: the emotional side and the rational reflective or conscious system. If we just invest in supporting abilities we do much to support the part of us that is the rational, however we then do not address the issues around our emotional selves.

“Behaviour Change campaigns in areas like public health and the environment already recognise the importance of addressing both aspects of human behaviour.  However in other areas of public policy there is still the danger that however much we invest in improving “ability”, if we do not address the challenge of demotivation then the gap in a range of inequalities (from health to social mobility) could continue to widen.

“Much of the early debate in this field has been around the Happiness agenda of Richard Layard, which has already led to much more resources being invested in support for talking therapies in mental health provision. Government’s have also increased the number of “personal advisors” and advocates in a number of fields from education to employment, but there has been no joined up approach to this across Government. The current financial situation may hold back further significant development here for the next few years.

“How might one develop new approaches to supporting social mobility in the short-term?

“One approach for future pilots might be to draw from the specific field of social marketing within behaviour change. Before one can develop new proposals for intervention, there needs to be a gathering of insight using newer forms of segmentation that give a greater understanding of levels of motivation and self-efficacy within the community. Only then can more targeted interventions be delivered to the right people, to enable motivations to be supported that then make the important continuing investment into developing ability all the more effective.

Hopefully the ability to pilot local initiatives that follow this approach might contribute to finding new ways to support those communities where the local social capital comprises social networks that are inward looking and are certainly not type that tend to help ministers of the future get intern jobs, but more seriously may well hold back many people with potential.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

Social Marketing and Value for Money

April 4, 2011

The National Social Marketing Centre (NSMC) today launched the first of a series of Value for Money assessment tools for social marketing. The first one on smoking is here.

It has been successfully piloted with a smoking social marketing project in North West England. Pilots for obesity, breast-feeding and alcohol projects are currently in progress. A bowel cancer project pilot is about to begin.

The NSMC argue the tool will have two important uses:

  • It will help commissioners plan for proposed social marketing and behaviour change programmes by estimating the likelihood that they will provide value for money.
  • It will also evaluate whether social marketing and behaviour change interventions were value for money on completion.

Where the tool seems to go beyond previous measurements on Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is through including wider societal costs as well. NSMC make the point that, “designers of stop smoking programmes will be able to find out the money saved by individuals from stopping smoking, the cost to the local fire service, the extent of gains to employers from reduced employee absences, and so on.”

The other reason for its importance is that it has been developed with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Health England and a consensus on the methodology has been reached across these organisations and NSMC , so it will be the most credible assessment tool to date.

The tool is released at an important time. The consultation over the Public Health White Paper has just concluded. TCC’s detailed submission to that is available here. This made the case for taking account of people’s motivational values when developing public health programmes.

The Public Health Outcomes Framework that is likely to emerge will require serious evidence in order of local authorities to secure extra resources via the Public Health Premium, “which will reward progress on specific public health outcomes”. The detail on how this will work is dependent on the outcome of the consultation, but the documents do say: “Driven by a formula to be developed together with key partners, the premium will represent a new approach to fighting health inequalities. The intention is for the formula to recognise that disadvantaged areas face the greatest challenges, and will therefore receive a greater premium for progress made.”

If this new process is to work, then those working in the field of social marketing will need clear and widely accepted tools to measure outcomes to contribute to the progress required. This new tool from the NSMC is thus an important contribution to improving measurement and we look forward to seeing more tools being developed for specific public health challenges.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.