Behavioural Insights Unit

The NSW Behavioural Insights Unit (BIU) uses the latest research about how people really think and act to help NSW Government agencies deliver better services to citizens

Woman looking at computer screen

Contact us

Want to get in touch? We'd love to hear from you.

Email us here and we'll get back to you within two business days.

Contact us form

Sign up to our newsletter

We provide tips and the latest results on using behavioural insights, and upcoming events and workshops for NSW public servants to support NSW citizens.

Sign up

About us

Our mission is to work with NSW Government agencies to improve the effectiveness of public services and public policy.

We combine evidence from behavioural sciences and behavioural economics with the experience of service agencies and customers to identify and evaluate what works, when and why to change behaviour.

Our behavioural approach can be applied in a range of different situations to solve diverse challenges.

You can read the most recent Behavioural Insights Unit report (PDF, 3.65 MB).

How we can help you

There are four main ways we help NSW Government agencies.

  1. Rapid advice: We rapidly review policy or service-delivery proposals and test underlying behavioural assumptions against evidence or NSW practice experience. We run a regular Behavioural Insights Clinic to tease out and pressure test behavioural challenges or you can contact us for a tailored service.
  2. Improve the customer experience and reduce sludge: Sludge is excessive or unjustified frictions that make it difficult for customers to achieve their goals. We have a sludge audit tool we use with agencies to identify and rapidly resolve behavioural barriers that get in the way of good customer experience and the NSW Customer Commitments.
  3. Build and test behavioural interventions: We work with agencies on major priorities (like the NSW Premier’s Priorities) to build and test better ways to change behaviour and improve citizen outcomes. We use the most rigorous methodology we can, often randomised controlled trials (RCTs), to determine whether the intervention works and how it can be implemented.
  4. Behaviourally-smart NSW Government: We grow NSW public sector confidence and capability to use behavioural sciences and economics to improve citizen outcomes. We do this by providing guides to applying behavioural insights, supporting behavioural champions in agencies, sharing information on how NSW is applying behavioural insights and other activities.

Recent examples of our work

We have a track record over the past ten years of driving better customer experience and improved outcomes in key Government priorities.

COVID-19 clinic

COVID retesting

12% more people intend to get tested if they experience COVID symptoms


COVID self-isolation

29% fewer people breaching self-isolation after COVID tests


Licence applications

32% fewer follow-up support requests for trade license applications


Education - rural

Three times more teacher applications for rural & remote schools - more than 100 placed


Education - Apprentices

16% fewer apprentice and trainee dropouts - 7:1 return on investment



34% fewer missed hospital appointments



25% fewer no-shows of DV defendants at court

Cancer scan


27% more women reapplying for leadership roles - Gender gap in reapplication reduced from 45% to 4%



More free trees given out and time taken for applications reduced by 73%

Latest blogs

man looks at mobile phone while sitting in front of laptop
When facing a stressful event such as preparing for an evacuation, customers absorb information differently. These tips help customers get the information they need.
Three men and two women sit at a table watching another woman who stands and points at the group notes on a wall
Having an inclusive and diverse workforce ensures better customer service, greater innovation, and better outcomes for the New South Wales public.
Online meeting
COVID-19 restrictions saw us learn new ways to reach customers, and deliver services. In 2020, we shifted our engagement to online methods. See what we learnt on how to approach digital customer consultation for behavioural change.

Guides and research

Top of page