Behavioural insights


Case studies

Behavioural insights in practice


Increasing the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rate

An estimated 76% of Victorian adolescents receive the full HPV vaccination, below the estimated 80% immunisation rate required to reach herd immunity. Almost all parents consent to their child being vaccinated; however, up to 25% of adolescents who return a consent card don’t receive the necessary three vaccine doses.

A randomised controlled trial was undertaken in which parents were sent text messages reminding them of the school-based HPV vaccine clinics.

The reminders were associated with an up to 3.3 percentage point improvement in the HPV vaccination rate, delivering ‘herd immunity’ within the trial cohort. The finding suggests text message reminders are a cost-effective way to lift vaccination rates.

Graph showing Share of HPV un-vaccinated children

Citation: Tull, F., Borg, K., Knott, C., Beasley, M., Halliday, J., Faulkner, N. & Bragge, P. (2017). SMS reminders to parents for increasing adolescent HPV vaccination rates in a statewide secondary school vaccine program: a randomized controlled trial. Submitted to BMC Public Health

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Improving information sharing in the family violence system

Information sharing in the family violence system is essential to keep victim survivors safe and hold perpetrators to account. Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence found that information is not routinely or systematically shared in the family violence system, exposing victim survivors to risk of further harm.

To better understand the kind of decision making that results in information sharing, we undertook extensive research, including over 270 hours of observation and interviews with front line workers in the family violence system.  The ensuing report, Applying Behavioural Insights: Improving Information Sharing in the Family Violence System exposed contextual and psychological factors that influence the accessibility and sharing of information.

Findings from the report are being used to inform policy, process and cultural change around information sharing.  For instance, this research has been used to simplify the Ministerial Guidelines on how services should share information, to improve efficiency and reduce errors in workers’ decisions.

The report also demonstrated that incorporating behavioural insights upstream in the policymaking process has the potential to generate improvements that are broader than optimising the delivery of individual services alone.

Applying Behavioural Insights: Improving Information Sharing in the Family Violence System Applying Behavioural Insights: Improving Information Sharing in the Family Violence SystemPDF (4.68 MB)

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Improving immunisation data quality and data sharing by schools

Evidence based policy design is often limited by the quality of data available. Even where data provision is authorised, it is often under-reported or not up-to-date.

In the course of designing trials to support increased uptake of vaccinations, it was discovered that while Victorian schools are authorised to provide data to the Department of Health and Human Services for the purposes of encouraging take up of vaccination services, more than 50 per cent do not. School immunisation coordinators were sent behaviourally informed letters in which they were encouraged to formulate an action plan as to when and how they would provide the relevant data.

This intervention increased the data provided by schools by 31.2%.

Citation: Borg, K., Sutton, K, Beasley, M., Tull, F., Faulkner, N., Halliday, J., Knott, C. & Bragge, P. (2017). Using a behaviourally informed letter and action planning sheet to encourage schools to provide student and parent information to their local government immunisation provider: Findings from a double-blind  randomised controlled trial. Submitted to BMC Public Health

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Reducing barriers for Family Violence Intervention Order applications

The Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) court application process is paper-based and presents challenges for survivors of family violence, including stress, inconvenience, confusion and lengthy times to complete. Concurrently, increasing demand for FVIOs places pressure on court staff and the court system to manage and process applications.

A prototype online FVIO application was designed and trialled to make it easier for survivors of family violence to seek protection through the courts. The online application improved engagement between family violence victims and the courts, and more than halved the time for form completion and waiting for appointments.  

The online FVIO trial has been extended to seven sites, and is being further redesigned for progressive roll-out across Victoria’s Magistrates Courts.  The online FVIO is also being investigated for trial in the Federal Family Court and in other states.

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Encouraging the use of preferred payment channels

Transitioning Government communications to online channels and shifting Victorians to preferred payment methods helps reduce transactional costs.

The Land Tax Assessment Notice was redesigned to test the effect of three messages and inclusion of a BPAY View Flyer on customer payment behaviour. The trial found that customers who received a BPAY View flyer with the control letter were on average, 34% more likely to register for BPAY View than customers who received the control letter alone. This finding was statistically significant (that is, it is unlikely the result was due to chance). The redesigned notices also increased the proportion of customers using preferred payment methods (identified by the State Revenue Office to have the lowest administrative costs) by 9%. 

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