Behavioural Insights Unit set up with UK-based BIT

The Secretariat General of Supreme Council of Planning held on Sunday at SCP headquarters an introductory workshop for under-secretaries and CEOs of government and private sector companies on ‘Behavioural Economics’ applications. The workshop is one of the multiple activities organised by the newly established Behavioural Economics Unit at SCP.
The workshop gave an overview about of the unit’s roles and responsibilities and discussed future opportunities to collaborate with different entities to implement behaviourally informed trials.
This was followed by an introductory workshop on behavioural economics by the UK-based Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). The workshop discussed successful applications of behavioural trials in several domains, tools used in producing behaviourally designed policies that account for the impact of the surrounding environment on compliance and adherence. The workshop concluded by giving insights about evaluating the success of behavioural economics applications.
The establishment of Behavioural Insights Office comes as one of the outcomes of Oman Vision 2040. The Vision discussed in its conference held in January 2019 the importance of change management.
The unit would support Oman Vision 2040 in implementing change management using behavioural economics. Behavioural economics is one of the leading sciences in change management that uses psychology and economy principles to engineer choices and stimulate taking informed decisions. The Behavioural Economics Unit team comprises Omani and British experts in economy, policies, psychology and statistics among others.
Last November, the Sultanate represented by Supreme Council of Planning has signed in London an agreement with UK-based Behavioural Insights Team to set up Behavioural Insights Office in Oman. The agreement was signed by Talal Sulaiman al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary General of Supreme Council of Planning, on behalf of SCP and Dr David Halpern, CEO of Behavioural Insights Team on behalf of BIT.
Behavioural Economics Unit aims to improve the effectiveness of public policies through behavioural studies, facilitation and activation of public services rendered to the public. It enables citizens to take informed decisions through the engineering of different choices while at the same time maintaining the citizens’ right of choice. It seeks active collaboration with private sector in redesigning the choices and the surrounding environments in order to serve the public interest.
The unit will be set up in two phases where the first phase will focus on defining the unit scope of the work, development of vision, mission and objectives in addition to capacity building. The second phase will entail specifying and carrying out studies and experiments as well as measuring its economic impact.
Commenting on this, Talal Sulaiman al Rahbi said, “We are pleased to partner with BIT who is a leader in using psychology and economy to improve the quality of life for citizens and residents alike and exploit the aspired outcomes from the implementation of different policies and regulations. The impact of the human factor on individuals’ lives is clear to everyone. Through the use of scientific methodologies, we will be able to maximize the aspired potentials from the implementation of these policies by re-engineering the choices made to enhance the individual and community well-being”.
On his part, Dr David Halpern said, “We’re delighted to be supporting the Supreme Council of Planning in setting up what will be one of the first government entities in the region dedicated to behavioural insights. We’ve worked with governments to improve public services and well-being in dozens of countries around the world, and we’ll be bringing the same academic rigor and practical experience to the new SCP Behavioural Insight Office’’.