Potential for controversy
“Framing is crucial when engaging the public with behaviour change”
“Policy-makers know that attempts to change citizens’ behaviour may well be controversial. This is particularly true given the emergence of new evidence about how people act, and new ways of applying this evidence.
The most obvious point to remember is that framing is crucial when attempting to engage the public with behaviour change. As Gillian Norton has pointed out, ‘talking about behaviour change is a sure fire way of making sure it doesn’t happen’.18 Across government, many of our interviewees have argued that ‘behaviour change’ is an unhelpful term. “Behaviour”, in particular, has negative and paternalistic associations.
Of course, there are good reasons why public acceptability should not be the only condition for going forward with behaviour change. Richard Reeves has recently proposed tests of legitimacy, autonomy and effectiveness for health-related behaviour change.
Furthermore, it may be that government needs to take a lead on issues despite public opposition, since these public attitudes may actually shift in response to the introduction of the policy.”
(contains facts, not gossip)