PRESS RELEASE: Behavioural economics’ success achieved in pilot scheme for Kent Councils

The BDO Local Gov team recently carried out a successful behaviour change pilot with three councils in Kent using “nudge” techniques to influence customer behaviour and manage demand for council tax services.

We supported the Kent Customer Services Group to carry out a three month pilot, which used insights from behavioural economics to promote online services which would boost efficiencies in the Council and subsequently save money.  Working with the Councils, BDO developed simple, low-cost plans to encourage customers to either pay their council tax online or set up direct debits.

Andy Mahon, Local Government Partner, BDO said: “Using the knowledge that people’s decisions are influenced by the behaviour of their peers, we advised placing specific messaging on council tax correspondence to inform residents about how their neighbours were paying council tax. We also knew that people take the path of least resistance, so we looked to align the best path for the Council with the easiest path for the customer.”

As a result to the changes on messaging around direct debit payments, on participating council saw the number of people paying their council tax by direct debit increase in one month by 23% compared to the same month last year.

By making ‘online’ the easiest option for the customer, other participating councils saw an increase in the number of online payments by on average 30% over three months compared to the same time period last year.

BDO’s Andy Mahon continued:

“Managing customer demand is an important priority for local government at the moment, as Councils are continually being pushed to do more with less.  We are delighted that this behaviour change pilot has been so successful in such a short period of time.  This goes to show that behaviour change techniques play a vital role in managing customer demand and improving customer access provision for local authorities.”

The project was sponsored by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on behalf of the Kent Customer Services Group.  Ian Hirst, Programme manager responsible for business change at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said that “Councils in Kent are pushing forwards with the digital agenda, the success of this pilot project demonstrates the benefit of using a different mind-set to challenge established working practices.”


For more information about BDO’s behaviour change work, please contact

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Thoughts, reflections and ruminations from the BDOlocalgov team. We don't always agree with each other. We'd love to hear what you think.


Part of the Public Health Family

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.

Parenting And Stuff

Not a "how to be a great parent" blog

Government Digital Service

Putting the public first in delivering digital public services


Welcome to Shropshire Council's Graduate blog!

Random thoughts from a human being

The only thing I've consistently said is that I'm inconsistent.


A blog about all things musical, and a little more besides...


Photographs from my world.

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences


Mainly eating and drinking my way through London. Sometimes spontaneously. Sometimes with a spreadsheet of options mapped to occasion, season, acquaintance and mood.


A blog about work (#localgov), learning, family, friends, Shropshire, cake and things that are going on at Bentham Towers HQ.

Jon King

Musings from the world of public sector transformation - my views alone

Unsafe Spaces

Highlighting abuse and safeguarding issues in psychological therapies. Campaigning for stronger regulation in counselling and psychotherapy.

a day without OJ - A comms, digital & PR blog by Ross Wigham

"A day without orange juice is a helluva long day."

Stuart Mackintosh

Communications / PR / Marketing / Journalism / Family

The Local Government Officer

Certified as a true and accurate record

We Love Local Government

A blog looking sideways at life in local government

%d bloggers like this: