Policing in a Behaviour-Smart Place

I’ve made a rod for my own back in saying that my aim is to help develop ‘behaviour-smart places’, haven’t I? I really should start to flesh this out beyond the local government world.

This is my first attempt. A short, imperfectly formed vision of how a Police Service could become behaviour-smart. It is based on a few things that struck me during a recent workshop with staff from a police service and its Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC’s) office.

The big question, then: what would a behaviourally-smart police service look like in ten years’ time?

In a nutshell, at a strategic level, it would be serious about taking an evidence-based, behavioural approach to policy; and it would have developed practice drawing on insights from behavioural sciences.

The detail of this would depend on what the fundamentals of the service are. My starter for ten is that the societal value of a police service centres on social capital, on which it depends, and which it creates. Without ‘policing by consent’, we don’t, effectively, have a police service; and the loss of social capital creates unsustainable demand for a wide range of local services – in social care and health as much as in policing and the legal system.

So my hunch is that the evidence-based police service of the future will, first, identify the behaviours that underpin social capital and policing by consent – and those which undermine it. Second, it will have a detailed understanding of these, informed by data and observation. This list would be much more nuanced than whether or not a crime is being committed. It will develop models and metrics to identify and enumerate the impacts and outcomes of these behaviours, and related costs: what demand is created? If we were doing this today, we’d call it a ‘behavioural audit’, I think.

Third, it will have a culture of experimentation, employing design thinking, comfortable with failing quickly and randomised control trials (RCTs).

So far, so pie in the sky.

What could research, insight and engagement teams – and Chief Constable’s Offices – do now to start down this road? I’d suggest that they:

  • build the ability and confidence to research and discuss behaviours in a smart way, in particular:
  • – identifying the triggers and contexts that drive behaviour and suggesting ways of addressing them that draw on evidence from elsewhere; and
  • – starting to describe behaviours to officers in this way (while drawing less on, for example, qualitative evidence, in which people often post-rationalise their actions);
  • use insights from behavioural science in the short term to carry out experiments that, though they may not be fundamental to the service’s success, help build understanding of behavioural insights and their use within the service;
  • start to use some behavioural metrics based on observation (so, if you want to track behaviour on Bonfire Night, select a random sample of events, decide what the target (non-) behaviours are and how to identify and enumerate them – then report back and track over time. This should provide much better information than a survey to assess awareness of your campaign);
  • oh, and wean yourself off of communications work predicated on ‘educating the public’ or ‘changing people’s minds’. We don’t need to change people’s minds; we need to make our target behaviours easy and normal.

This leaves a lot of things unsaid and unconsidered; in particular, how to take place-based approaches with other parts of the local public service and other sectors. And how to phase out unproductive approaches. But I hope it’s a start.

I can see that things have moved on in the decade since I headed up MORI’s Crime & Policing research. But I don’t think that change is yet fast enough to cope with the need to manage demand and maintain/increase social capital in the face of growing inequality, unless the police service is able to reframe its approach to behaviour. We now know that people are much less in control of their actions than we would all like to think, so processes and communications which assume the discredited ‘rational actor model’ of behaviour have to be updated. I think I’m saying here that there is a chance we can do it strategically.

Can’t argue with conclusions of @greenallianceUK @mrskumquatkid report on #localgov & climate change

I recommend this report as an overview of the current state of play in local government on climate change strategy and action. Download it for free from the site linked below. It doesn’t make for happy reading, suggesting a retrenchment overall, with few authorities seeing the arguable additional ‘localist’ freedoms as an opportunity to move action on carbon and climate up the agenda.

I like that Green Alliance (author Faye Scott is @mrskumquatkid on Twitter) seed the report with reminders that local action needs to be about building resilience and making the transition to a low carbon economy and society. Sounds like one of my blogs. But I’d like to see more recognition from them that this will require a major focus on lifestyles and (in carbon terms) acting on consumption emissions. Local government is free to ignore these, and nearly all authorities do; the report contains just two explicit references to local authority interest in the consumption perspective.

So, on the gloomy side: there is a downward trend, and many authorities aren’t hitting the low bar that has been set. On the plus side, the green shoots of local interest in consumption metrics. I hope Green Alliance and others will encourage these.

Amplify’d from www.green-alliance.org.uk

Is localism delivering for climate change? Emerging responses from local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and neighbourhood plans

This report explores the impacts of the coalition’s localism agenda on climate change action. It asks:

– Are local authorities continuing to work on climate change?
– How is action being encouraged?
– What potential do local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), local nature partnerships (LNPs) and neighbourhood plans have to strengthen local action on climate change?

Based on extensive interviews and two surveys, the report finds a three-way split between local authorities. A third are maintaining their action on climate change, a third are narrowing their work and a third are opting out of action altogether. Overall, the results suggest that climate change work has narrowed, is very weak or absent in 65 per cent of local authorities.

The full report can be downloaded above, or read the executive summary 

Read more at www.green-alliance.org.uk

@theneweconomics points the way to reshaped economy & finance system, and I wonder what #localgov needs to do

I like this article by NEF’s Tony Greenham very much, because it explains what those who think the financial system is broken should be for, not just what they’re against.

You could give these ideas a number of different narratives, with pretty much the same result. I’d speak of a more localised economy and of the lower use of natural resources that would result from these measures.

Again, I’m struck that this is at the heart of shaping the places of the future and that therefore – in its long-term thinking, once it has dealt with the short-term financial issues – local government needs to be working out its role in this brave new world. Not to mention what it can do in the meantime, in the absence of central government action.

Amplify’d from www.neweconomics.org

The global economy is broken. Here’s how to fix it

Andy Wimbush

Tony Greenham
Head of Finance and Business

The system is broken, here’s how we fix it. Don’t tinker with ringfencing banks. Break them up as the first step to creating an effective local lending infrastructure. This is not pie in the sky. This is what the German banking system looks like. Its local public savings banks have supported small businesses and ordinary people throughout the recession, where big banks run away at the first sign of trouble. No annual pantomime of Project Merlin is required for our industrial competitors.

Don’t create new money just to feather-bed bankers and enrich the wealthy. Create new money to create new jobs and new wealth. Use quantitative easing directly to fund the renewal of our infrastructure, to build the new green economy, eradicate fuel poverty, reskill the unemployed and tackle the climate crisis at the same time.

Don’t let people become the slaves of distant creditors. It’s time to talk of a massive relief of debt. The UK’s problem is not really the public deficit that so obsesses the chancellor, but private household debt and the daunting treadmill that awaits a generation of young people burdened by student fees, relentless rents and a housing market that is still in the realms of fantasy.

Don’t wait for money to trickle down. Experience shows that, left to its own devices, it will flood upwards. We can start by setting up local barter currencies in every city that help new enterprises use wasted land, buildings, resources and people. Ultimately we need more dispersed ownership and control of the nation’s natural, human and financial capital. We need to restore large sections of the financial industry to the mutual ownership that served this nation so well until the scandalous smash-and-grab raids of demutualisation in the 1990s.

In short, we need to reassert the public interest. It turns out that, as a governing principle for the financial system, greed is not good. Financial plutocracy must give way to financial democracy – banking as if people mattered.

Read more at www.neweconomics.org

How can #localgov encourage #collcons? (blog archive)

The consumption-based carbon footprinting work I’ve been involved in in Greater Manchester and West Sussex has identified the aspects of our carbon footprint that policy-makers have not addressed. It’s half of our footprint, and it’s overwhelmingly the supply chain carbon resulting from our (over-)consumption of goods and services.

So the question I’m keen to get local authorities addressing is: how can we and our partners create the conditions where the sort of enterprise thrives that will reduce this footprint and at the same time improve wellbeing, social capital, sustinainability, etc?

To illustrate this, here are seven US initiatives in collaborative consumption. There are UK examples too, of course, but Brainpickings just sent me a link to this. Q: How to encourage this sort of stuff in localities, amid the white noise of the ‘growth agenda’?

Amplify’d from www.brainpickings.org
30 AUGUST, 2010

Inconspicuous consumption, or what lunching ladies have to do with social web karma.

Stuff. We all accumulate it and eventually form all kinds of emotional attachments to it. (Arguably, because the marketing machine of the 20th century has conditioned us to do so.) But digital platforms and cloud-based tools are making it increasingly easy to have all the things we want without actually owning them. Because, as Wired founder and notable futurist Kevin Kelly once put it, “access is better than ownership.” Here are seven services that help shrink your carbon footprint, lighten your economic load and generally liberate you from the shackles of stuff through the power of sharing.

NEIGHBORGOODS

The age of keeping up with the Jonses is over. The time of linking up with them has begin. NeighborGoods is a new platform that allows you to do just that, allowing you to borrow and lend from and to your neighbors rather than buying new stuff. (Remind us please, what happened to that fancy blender you bought and used only twice?) From lawnmowers to bikes to DVD’s, the LA-based startup dubs itself “the Craigslist for borrowing,” allowing you to both save and earn money.

Transparent user ratings, transaction histories and privacy controls make the sharing process simple and safe, while automated calendars and reminders ensure the safe return of loaned items.

Give NeighborGoods a shot by creating a sharing group for your apartment building, campus, office, or reading group — both your wallet and your social life will thank you.

UPDATE: Per the co-founder’s kind comment below, we should clarify that NeighborGoods also allows you to import your Twitter and Facebook friends from the get-go, so you have an instant group to share with.

SNAPGOODS

Similarly to Neighborgoods, SnapGoods allows you to rent, borrow and lend within your community. SnapGoods takes things step further by expanding the notion of “community” not only to your local group — neighborhood, office or apartment building — but to your social graph across the web’s trusted corners. The site features full Facebook and Meetup integration, extending your social circle to the cloud.

You can browse the goods people in your area are lending or take a look at what they need and lend a hand (or a sewing machine, as may be the case) if you’ve got the goods.

Growing one’s own produce is every hipster-urbanite’s pipe dream. But the trouble with it is that you have to actually have a place to grow it. And while a pot of cherry tomatoes in your fire escape is better than nothing, it’s hardly anything. Enter Landshare, an innovative platform for connecting aspiring growers with landowners who have the space but don’t use it.

Though currently only available in the U.K., we do hope to see Landshare itself, or at least the concept behind it, spread worldwide soon.

LANDSHARE
SWAPTREE

swaptree is a simple yet brilliant platform for swapping your media possessions — from books to DVD’s to vinyl — once they’ve run their course in your life as you hunt for the next great thing. Since we first covered swaptree nearly three years ago, the site has facilitated some 1.6 million swaps, saving its users an estimated $10.3 million while reducing their collective carbon footprint by 9.3 million tons.

Inspired by the founders’ moms, whose lunch dates with girlfriends turned into book-swap clubs, swaptree makes sure that the only thing between you and the latest season of 24 is the price of postage.

GIFTFLOW

Most of us are familiar with the concept of regifting. (No disrespect, but the disconnect between good friends and good taste is sometimes astounding.) Luckily, GiftFlow allows you to swap gifts you don’t want for ones other people don’t want but you do. The platform is based on a system of karmic reputation, where your profile shows all you’ve given and taken, building an implicit system of trust through transparency.

So go ahead, grandma. Hit us with your latest sweet but misguided gift. Chances are, there’s someone out there who’d kill for that kitschy music box.

ZIPCAR

We’re big proponents of bikesharing but, to this point, the concept has failed to transcend local implementations. While some cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Denver are fortunate enough to have thriving bikesharing programs, we’re yet to see a single service available across different locations. Until then, we’d have to settle for the next best sharing-based transportation solution: Zipcar, a 24/7, on-demand carsharing service that gives its members flexible access to thousands of cars across the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Zipcar has been around for quite some time and most people are already familiar with it, so we won’t overelaborate, but suffice it to say the service is the most promising solution to reducing both traffic congestion and pollution in cities without reducing the actual number of drivers.

SHARE SOME SUGAR

Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor. More than an Outkast lyric line, this is the inspiration behind share some sugar — a celebration of neighborliness through the sharing of goods and resources. Much like SnapGoods and NeighborGoods, the service lets you borrow, rent and share stuff within your neighborhood or group of friends

Read more at www.brainpickings.org

Pick your own definition of Sustainable Development! #localgov #nppf

So the Localism Bill will not define ‘Sustainable Development’. We can’t pretend we didn’t see this coming. But it’s still a shocker, for many more reasons than I’ll go into here.

Let’s just think about one: what it reveals about what we mean by ‘localism’. The (New) Localism that I understand would accept the universal definition of Sustainable Development (which we have basically had since 2005’s Securing the Future) and make decisions locally informed by this, and by local circumstances.

In contrast, what we’re heading for is local government, in effect, being free to (in fact, being obliged to) define ‘sustainable development’ itself. As well as the additional burden, and the additional complication and contestability this adds to planning decisions, it will legitimise decisions based on prioritising economic growth at the expense of social and environmental sustainability.

As they say on message boards, *facepalm*.

Amplify’d from www.lgcplus.com

Legal definition of sustainability ruled out

The government has been accused of “paying lip service” to protecting the environment after refusing to define in law what ‘sustainable development’ means.

Joan Walley MP (Lab), chair of the environmental audit committee, said her committee had been “fobbed off” after ministers refused to act on one of its key recommendations.

Changes proposed in the localism bill will introduce a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, meaning that councils default answer to planning applications should be ‘yes’.

In a report in March, the committee called for the bill to include a definition of the term ‘sustainable development’ and for it to include “the five recognised principles of sustainable development”.

However, in its response to the report, published on Monday, the government said the measures would not be necessary as the new National Planning Policy Framework would outline “the key principles that should underpin every aspect of planning”, making a legal definition unnecessary.

Read more at www.lgcplus.com

#climate and #carbon can be at the heart of what #localgov does. Here are some new approaches.

Here’s the full version of an article I wrote for the recent SOLACE Foundation Imprint on Local Government and Climate Change. My chapter (theme: new metrics, new thinking) had to be edited at the last minute, so a useful graphic, and the summary, were missing from the published version. This version, I think, tells the story a bit better.I’ve embedded the full article below. Have a look, and let me know what you think.

#localgov and #carbon – why it’s about #behaviourchange and #infrastructure

By me, from my old-fashioned website.

I did this diagram with Ian Christie that lots of people have found helpful. So I wanted to share it more widely. So I built an article for a SOLACE Foundation Imprint around it.

But the article was on hold for a year, and I had to put in a more recent diagram. So I’m sharing a cut of the original article. One year late. But I still think it’s helpful.

(By the way, the real thing is out next week; I’ve developed some of the thinking below).

Amplify’d from web.mac.com

shaping low-carbon communities (the pre-mix)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Next week, SOLACE will be publishing its latest Foundation Imprint on climate change. This will include a chapter of mine which focuses on consumption-based metrics and carbon budgets. It’s more intuitive, more fun and more of an opportunity for local government than you might think.

The thing is, all the contributors first wrote their chapters a year ago. So when publication was back on, a lot of time had passed, and I made plenty of amendments, to include the most up-to-date thinking and approaches. This meant that, regrettably, I removed a section that I really wanted to see the light of day, particularly the diagram that Ian Christie and I worked on together to help decision-makers get a clear perspective on carbon, and help them take a broader perspective. So here it is, instead:

“It pays to go back to first principles to see what emissions targets really mean for a local authority, because it makes us raise our sights from the processes that were put in place to enable authorities to respond to the demands of the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan and the previous government’s performance framework. I have often argued that local government needs to avoid treating climate change as ‘just another agenda’, on a par with the dozens of other agendas we work on. There are a number of reasons why this is important, not least the consequences of failure.

One approach that can help raise members’ and officers’ sights – and help establish a place-based understanding – is to visualise the emissions in the authority area. This can be done in a number of ways; the diagram below shows one way, focusing on responsibility. It seeks to outline who is responsible for the emissions in the locality. For the sake of readability, it exaggerates the size of the council’s own emissions and those of public sector partners: typically, an authority will be directly responsible for 1-2% of emissions and the total impact of the local state (including what it procures) is a little over 10%. So Zone B in the diagram represents nearly 90% of emissions.

Emissions in a place: who’s responsible?

Emissions in a place

Having a place-based understanding of emissions helps in a number of ways. Below are a number of reflections from recent discussions with leading members and officers.

Leadership

Many readers will be well versed in the principles of adaptive leadership. At an organisation level, this makes sense in dealing with emissions reduction: it hasn’t been done before; relying purely on technical solutions would miss many important aspects; and serious innovation and realignment is needed. But the diagram above shows how the leadership required needs to be projected to the community level. SOLACE Enterprises’ Leading On Climate Change, a course which sets out to develop the new types of leadership skills required to address climate change, focuses on how ‘community-wide adaptive leadership’ can work. There is already some excellent community engagement in places (some Transition Towns, for example), but people involved often feel marginalised. One of the challenges right now is to join up the people who already want a low-carbon place to happen; Islington’s Climate Change Partnership is a good example.

Infrastructure, behaviour change and capacity

Zone B of the diagram is difficult territory for local government (despite some successes addressing emissions with businesses, landlords, community groups and others), but in some respects simplifies the challenge: we do not have the technology to enable us to maintain current lifestyles and reduce emissions at the required rate. So we need to see both major behaviour change and major change in infrastructure, to enable low-carbon choices to be made.

The infrastructural challenge is starting to be grasped. For example, feed-in tariffs for PV panels make it possible to construct financial packages which are beneficial to residents and authorities, as well as the banks. Developing the skills and capacity on which a low-carbon economy can be built is an urgent part of the challenge, being grasped now in London, Greater Manchester and elsewhere.

On behaviour change, however, we are at a fork in the road in local government. There is plenty of good work leading behaviour change towards low-carbon lifestyle; in West Sussex alone, there are around ten pro-environmental initiatives supported by the County Council. And there is plenty of theory and research now being produced, such as the recent Mindspace report. But hardly anyone in local government has behaviour change in their job description, and there is very little practice transfer or sharing of evidence. So we can either begin to professionalise local government’s work on behaviour change, setting up the networks and capacity building that will enable us to be more effective and scale our efforts, or we can continue to leave it to the wilful individuals who currently take the lead.

Resilience

In my view, the perspective we get from this sort of analysis is timely. The sort of solutions we need to put in place to enable genuinely low-carbon living in our localities are completely consistent with the solutions we are now developing to deal with rapidly reducing funding for public services.

With radically reduced resources, through place-based budgeting and other innovation, local government is in the process of re-designing services to support resilient communities, individuals and families – the big society. I see very little difference between the reality of a sustainable, low-carbon community and the sort of resilient community described by those re-designing local services. For example, a resilient community will be sheltered from food and energy insecurity, will have strong capacity and social capital, and waste little. That sounds like a low-carbon, sustainable place.

These are the places of the future. In local government, we can help create them.”

Read more at web.mac.com