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Who we are

The Team outside Number 10

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) is a social purpose company. We are jointly owned by the UK Government; Nesta (the innovation charity); and our employees.

BIT started life inside 10 Downing Street as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences. Our objectives remain the same as they always have been:

  • making public services more cost-effective and easier for citizens to use;
  • improving outcomes by introducing a more realistic model of human behaviour to policy; and wherever possible,
  • enabling people to make ‘better choices for themselves’

We do this by redesigning public services and drawing on ideas from the behavioural science literature. We are also highly empirical; we test and trial these ideas before they are scaled up. This enables us to understand what works and (importantly) what does not work.

Our staff have either a strong academic grounding in economics, psychology, or randomised controlled trial design; or a background in government policy-making.

Our Academic Advisory Panel includes Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge; former Cabinet Secretary Lord Gus O’Donnell (the panel’s chair); and senior academics from leading UK Universities.

BIT’s company Board is chaired by Peter Holmes. The Cabinet Office representative is Janet Baker, and the Nesta representative is Helen Goulden. David Halpern (our Chief Executive) and Owain Service (our Managing Director) also sit on the Board.

We also have two overseas offices. One of these is in Sydney, Australia, and is headed up by Rory Gallagher who is our Director of International Programmes and leads BIT’s work in Singapore. Our second office is in New York, and is led by Elspeth Kirkman, who is working across US cities as part of our programme of work with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

If you are interested in finding out more about the team, feel free to get in touch.

Or if you’d like to find out more about our policy work, you can find out more about the team’s work on the publications part of our website or you can sign up for our newsletter.


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