NEWS6 February 2014

Cabinet Office ‘nudge unit’ spun-off as ‘social purpose company’

Charities Government News UK

UK — The Behavioural Insight Team (BIT), originally formed within the UK government’s Cabinet Office, has been spun-off as a “social purpose company”, with backing from innovation charity Nesta.

The new venture has three owners: the employees, led by CEO David Halpern (pictured), the UK government, and Nesta – which won “a highly competitive process to become the team’s join venture partner,” according to a blog post.

BIT was established in 2010 with the remit of applying the insights of behavioural economics and psychology to public policy. It was dubbed the ‘nudge unit’ in reference to the book Nudge, co-authored by Richard Thaler, who is an academic adviser to the team.

Since launching, according to Nesta: “The team has received an increasing number of requests to apply its knowledge to public policy problems both here in the UK and overseas. Through the joint venture, there is huge potential for the team to grow and work with governments – at city and national level – and charitable and commercial organisations with a social purpose, both in the UK and internationally.”

Nesta is reported to be providing £1.9m-worth of financing and services to BIT and will eventually house the company in its London offices.

For more on the work of the nudge unit, click here.