Emergency Behaviours

CSaP Policy Challenge


Behavioural insights into emergency planning and response

The key question motivating this policy challenge is, ‘how can government better understand how the public behaves in an emergency situation?’

By understanding how behaviours vary depending on the type of emergency and actors, it will be possible to improve current planning and respond more effectively in an emergency.

The UK Government has identified a gap in their understanding of the extent to which behavioural sciences could make a significant difference in responding to a national emergency.

In this Policy Challenge, CSaP brings together GO Science, the Cabinet Office, and the Home Office with academics from a range of disciplines from architecture, economics, education and engineering to behavioural science, medicine, public health and security.

GO-Science was a key partner in the Policy Challenge "Behavioural insights into emergency planning and response". They have since used insights from the workshops and briefing as the basis on which to build a checklist for emergency response planners and managers. To date, they have trialled it with one topic, space weather, and plan to trial it more widely in 2015 with different risks.

Liz Surkovic, Deputy Director, Science in Government - Global Issues, said “The behavioural sciences provide vital insights into handling the range of hazards and threats Government plans for, from Ebola to flooding. CSaP's Policy Challenge provided important stimulus for the development of a behavioural science checklist, which enables risk holders in Government to incorporate behavioural science advice into their em

ergency planning.”

The Policy Challenge briefing was launched on 10 April 2014. The Policy Challenges Briefings have a specific remit to encapsulate the insights provided by an interdisciplinary group of researchers on some of the policy problems that senior decision makers face. The briefing, with links to research recommended by our panel of experts, can be viewed and downloaded here.