UK Government

Central Office of Information: COI seeks experts to help Government address behaviour change challenges

Press Release   •   Dec 01, 2009 09:29 GMT

The Central Office of Information (COI) is looking for experts in behaviour change theory and/or behaviour change models to form part of its first-ever Approved Supplier List (ASL) on behaviour change.

The Central Office of Information (COI) is looking for experts in behaviour change theory and/or behaviour change models to form part of its first-ever Approved Supplier List (ASL) on behaviour change.

The move comes as COI publishes new guidance on behaviour change for government and public sector communicators

Communications often plays a pivotal role in helping to tackle some of society’s most difficult and costly problems, from climate change to stopping smoking, and effective and efficient interventions require a deep understanding of the target audience.

The successful applicants would work alongside COI and its government and public sector clients to harness such insight on a wide variety of policy and communications challenges.

COI hopes to attract applicants from a range of academic and practitioner backgrounds, including behavioural psychology, behavioural economics, sociology and anthropology.

These individuals or organisations may be generalist or expert in specific fields such as health, transport and environment. However, regardless of primary specialism, applicants should ideally have interdisciplinary experience or be willing to work across disciplines, as the ability to objectively review evidence and models from different disciplines is vital.

The tasks required from successful applicants will include:

·        Technical Expertise – this could include evidence of academic qualifications; employment record; advisory positions and demonstrable knowledge of behaviour change models;

·        Previous Experience – including a significant track record of effectively selecting and using behaviour change models;

·        Practical Expertise in Specialism – with a minimum of 2 detailed case studies including post-project evaluation;

·        Quality of Thinking – examples of published papers; academic profile; public, private and voluntary sector experience;

·        Value for money.

Sean Larkins,Deputy Director of COI Strategic Consultancy  said:

“Much of what COI does – encouraging people to give up smoking, take more exercise or reduce their carbon footprint, for example – involves influencing human behaviour.  We’re looking for people with exceptional knowledge in areas such as behavioural economics and social psychology to help us create even more compelling, effective and cost effective public communication.”

The ASL is expected to be available for use by the end of 2009.

All suppliers interested in applying to the approved suppliers list should go to and register their interest.

Questions about the approved suppliers list can be sent to


Notes to editors

·        COI works on behalf of government departments and the public sector, to communicate issues that affect the lives of every citizen - from health and education to benefits, rights and welfare.

·        COI's strategic consultants and analysts develop insightful, innovative, practical and effective marketing strategies and solutions. The team offers advice at the early stages of a project, before implementation begins, and helps develop the knowledge, understanding and insight that underpin the strategy.

·        ASLs support existing supplier frameworks by providing additional specific or academic skills that may not ordinarily be found in framework agencies.  The application process is open-ended (there is no date for applications) and can be added to at any time.

·        The new guidance on behaviour change and communications can be downloaded from the COI website at


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