Podcast transcript (Nudges for Social Good) – Wirral Council: working with community champions during the COVID-19 pandemic

Transcript of episode 16 of our behavioural insights podcast – Nudges for Social Good – in which Nicola Jones and Rory McGill of Wirrall Council discuss their behavioural insights trial working with community champions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rhian Gladman: Hi, and welcome to the latest episode of the Nudges for Social Good podcast from the Local Government Association. My name's Rhian Gladman, and I manage the behaviour change programme here at the LGA. And as you know, the aim of this podcast series is to really de-mystify behavioural insights, and help councils to share their learning from their practical projects, that you can then pick up and try within your own council. We understand that our councillors and our officers are very busy at the moment, and so what we want to do here is to provide some key practical learning points from councils across the country that you can then use and try within your own area. Okay, so, today, slightly differently from our usual podcast, we have two speakers today on our podcast, which is fantastic. So, I'm joined today by Nicola Jones and Rory McGill from Wirral Council. Thank you guys for spending the time with us today. 

Rory McGill: Thanks for having us. 

Nicola Jones: Yes, great to be here. 

Rhian Gladman: Good stuff, good stuff. So, what I'll probably start by doing is if you could just introduce yourselves and your role at the council, that would be a great place to start. Nicola, can I start with you, please? 

Nicola Jones: Yes, so, my name's Nikki Jones, and I'm one of a senior managers within the public health team in Wirral. I've worked in Wirral for over fifteen years now in the public health team. Very much my background is around working with the local community, voluntary and faith sector, and local communities. I've used insight a lot over the last seven years to help, sort of, guide our public health programmes and the way we work. So, really interested in, sort of, the voice of the community being heard, and really understanding people's behaviours. 

Rhian Gladman: Brilliant. And thanks for your time today, Nikki, really appreciate it. Rory?

Rory McGill: Yes, hi, I'm Rory McGill. So, I'm a consultant in public health, currently based at Sefton Council, but I completed my training at Wirral Council and was directly involved with the project that we're going to discuss today. But in a previous life, before training to be a consultant, I did a PhD in Psychology, and so I see that behavioural and social science is a way to merge the two skill sets. And as a result, I'm the chair of the North West Behavioural Science and Public Health Network also. 

Rhian Gladman: Excellent stuff. Welcome both, welcome both. So, I guess the key place I always start with these conversations is what was the behaviour you were trying to change in your project? 

Rory McGill: So, I think the behaviour that we tend to illustrate our shared approach with this is self-isolation support with the Community Champions programme. But I think actually, if we take a step back and we talk about outcomes and behaviours, and identifying the differences between them both-, because I think the Community Champions programme is a really good practical example of showing something that can be used to look at a lot of different behaviours that you're wanting to change, but you can do it in a way that's informed by the behavioural and social science. So, what I mean by that is it was developed at pace, and as a result of that, you know, we didn't have time at the time to be doing a full com-b analysis and understanding what interventions we'd want to develop using things like the transtheoretical framework, and TDF, and all that. So, what it meant was that we were able to pull our resources together and do things informed by broader principles of behavioural science. So, what I mean by that is the broader principles of things like addressing uncertainty, so, just making sure that we are really clear and consistent in whatever comms that we were putting out. And again, illustrated with that self-isolated example, because at the time, if we cast our minds back, this was-, and correct me if I'm wrong, Nikki, I think it was about September last year that we were rolling the Community Champions programme out, so we didn't really have a lot in the way of a non-behavioural intervention. 
So, the thing in our back pocket was behavioural insights and social science. So, making sure that we were really clear in everything that we were saying, and coordinating amongst all the different cells that were involved. Because Wirral Council, like, I'm assuming, most councils, if not all across the country, were operating in that cell format and structure in their response to the pandemic. So, it's really important that whenever you have a really different way of working, to make sure you're unifying that response, and making sure that you're engaging with communities in an appropriate way. So, I'm sure we'll get into the self-isolation example in more detail, but I thought it just worth to mention that those broader principles, I think, are quite useful for local authorities. Because they made it a bit more pragmatic in terms of, you know, I think a lot of people get a bit apprehensive when they think, 'Oh, we need to do an intervention informed by behavioural and social science,' but actually, there are ways to do it that mean it's really based and embedded within the local evidence base. 

Rhian Gladman: I think that's a really important point to kick us off with, Rory, so thank you for that, around, yes, that maybe it's too complicated and what does it mean, and what can we do with it? You know, the situation, as you've described, within the pandemic, where you needed to try things quickly and respond to emergency situations, really, in your local community, that you were able to crack on and try something. So, the specific project, Nikki, the specific behaviour you were trying to change was?

Nicola Jones: So, we were trying to increase adherence to the restrictions, and increase people's knowledge in terms of what the restrictions were. We know through the pandemic, you know, information was coming thick and fast from the government, things were changing really rapidly, so we wanted to ensure that the key messages were getting to the right people at the right times. And I think just building on that point Rory's made, I think as a council we were quite well placed, because back in January we'd been involved in the repatriation of British nationals from Wuhan, so we were almost a bit ahead of the game when COVID-19 hit. I think the other thing that's really helped us is, like I said in the introduction, we'd done a lot of work in the past, sort of, six to seven years with local communities, so we had those networks already established, we had those key contacts. So, we were able to get the Community Champions up and running really quickly, and we were able to get those key, sort of, messages out around adherence to guidance, restrictions, etc. So, we were just really trying to make sure that people understood what the guidance was and were adhering to those restrictions and guidance as it was coming. 

Rhian Gladman: So, in terms of obviously you started working with us on the LGA's Behavioural Insights Programme, and it was a really key project for us because obviously councils across the country were struggling with this challenge as well. So, how did you go about gathering your insights and your research?

Rory McGill: So, we formed a local engagement group with engagement officers, and we also had... and I'll let Nikki talk about the Community Connectors, because that's something Nikki's really closely involved with. But I suppose if you think about it in two different strands, so, we had a proactive and reactive method of collecting information. And what we did was we would have briefing meetings every week, and we would look at the local epidemiology and understand what our local intel, what our quantitative information was telling us. You know, where were we having pockets of outbreaks? In what demographics? In what parts of the borough? And then within that, the more reactive sense of our engagement was that our engagement officers would then carry out some targeted insight collection. So, that would be surveys, and focus groups, and we were able to then after a 2-week cycle, embed whatever they found via our comms teams, but also double-check then in a few weeks' time to see if any changes had been made in the local epidemiology. So, one example of that more reactive work was we noticed that we didn't have a high uptake of testing in men in the borough, so whenever we did this piece of work, while we did uncover some barriers to that, we actually saw an increase in testing just by the virtue of carrying out the work. So, I think it says something about how important and valuable engaging with communities is, because if people feel heard, they're more likely to engage with what's happening at that local level. But then I think that that sits within this wider picture of engagement, and inside collection with the Community Connectors in that more proactive sense. 

Nicola Jones: Yes, so, the connectors, we have a team of over 40 community connectors who are employed by a local third sector organisation in Wirral. And their role is to go out and door knock, and do that direct engagement with local communities. So, they have been doing a number of tasks throughout the pandemic, supporting people to isolate, and do things like dog walking, prescription pick-ups, all the practical things to support people to isolate. But more critically it's been that insight-gathering, like Rory said, that's allowed us to, sort of, really tailor our comms messages, because we really understand in terms of people's thoughts around the restrictions, thoughts about behaviours. So, they've been that direct contact and been able to engage with people and ask them, 'Well, you know, when you've been contacted by Test and Trace, have you actually adhered to that? You know, are you following the guidance?' So, we really had that, sort of, direct link with the community, which has been invaluable in terms of so it's not just about us giving messages out and getting those key messages to communities, it's been a two-way process. And I think that's what's really been invaluable with the Community Champions programme, is that insight-gathering back in, which has allowed us then to tailor our comms messages specifically for our local residents. 

Rhian Gladman: I think, yes, really important. And again we've spoken on the podcast before about the importance of the messenger around behavioural science, like, who is delivering those messages, and that peer-to-peer messaging clearly in this case is working really well. So from a really practical point, the Community Connectors, I'm just thinking of other councils who might be listening in thinking, 'Ooh, how do we organise that then?' I know that you've got the third sector party providing it, but is it, like, on a ward-by-ward basis or, how geographically have you sorted it out across your borough?

Nicola Jones: So there are currently four Connectors per ward area, that's how we... and this programme has developed. So it was originally commissioned in 2016 and we only started with fourteen Community Connectors. So that was mainly based on the east side of the borough, so, sort of, far more deprived areas, to really target our inequalities in the borough. But actually we had the programme independently evaluated by John Moores University. And the outcomes that it showed, not just in terms of health but right across the whole system, so, you know, impacting on children and families’ outcomes, impacting on housing, all the other areas across the council in terms of measuring that impact. We were able to get some more funding, so we doubled capacity in the team, and then, again, through COVID-19 and the work that they've done, we've been able to double capacity again. So, like I say, we've got over 40 Connectors, so it's approximately four per ward. 

Rhian Gladman: And so you had the Community Connectors there pre-pandemic working on various things, and so you had that, sort of, infrastructure ready to go when the key messages of the pandemic hit. And it's the two-way thing around, actually you were getting insights from them in the community, those qualitative insights which then informed your comms, but then they were the, sort of, voice of the council in the community, is that correct?

Nicola Jones: Yes. So it was that two-way, so they could get those key messages back out. We developed, sort of, a crib sheet for them to use as well, so when they were out in the communities, if they were asked any difficult questions or needed to direct people they had a crib sheet. But also we've got the Community Champions, so, like, where we said, we've got over 600 local residents signed up as well to be that conduit to getting those key messages out. Luckily we'd done quite a big piece with residents around a bit of insight gathering in January 2020, and what that work told us was actually community anchor organisations are best placed to get those key messages out, rather than it coming from the council. So, again, just really using our community volunteer and faith sector as well to get some of those key messages out, because the big thing that we've learnt is obviously trust is a big issue with residents, and actually they are more likely to trust some of those organisations than some of our statutory agencies. So actually really using our networks and contacts to get those messages out. 

Rory McGill: I think that's a really good point as well, Nikki, around that more specific humanitarian response that we undertook at the time. So, whenever we were developing these messages and collecting information via Connectors and Champions we were filtering that through specialist boards of people who were representative of different groups, so we had a BAME sub-group for example, with local leaders attached to local anchor institutions. And that way we were really trying to make sure that what we were saying was going to land well with local communities. And having that feedback loop of being able to see changes in your local epidemiology was quite rewarding. But I will say as well, and it sounds so stupid and practical, but I think it really works that there's already an established brand for those Connectors, but also they tend to be very visible in communities, they've all got orange t-shirts, everybody knows that that's your Community Connector, and they tend to be someone that's from your area, from your street, so that trusted messenger, it's just the backbone for all of that work. And I think that Wirral has such a strong history of taking the time to work within the realms of social and behavioural science and having that underpin what gets carried out within communities, and that just made that transition a bit easier. But I don't want to say that it was an easy transition, because everything was happening at pace, as it still is but, yes, the infrastructure was there. 

Nicola Jones: I think the other thing about the Champions, because through this LJ (ph 14.32) work we have done some sort of insight gathering from the Champions around their role, so that was with the 600 local residents, around how much did they value their role as a Champion, did they think it's been effective. And the feedback we got was really positive in terms of how much they valued being a Community Champion, having a sort of, role in COVID-19 in terms of being that conduit to get those key messages out. But also some really practical things that we're going to take forward, so things like wanting more formalised training around the role, you know, things like if they could have a lanyard so people in the community could identify them as a Community Champion and know that they could be a point of contact for information. And, you know, the whole point of the evaluation, yes we want to evaluate the effectiveness of the Champions and the impact it's had on behaviours, and then look to take that forward in terms of other behaviours and other areas of work that we can use the Champions for. We don't want them just to be around COVID-19, we're keen to really have some legacy to this programme. And that's why it's really great that we're able to work with the LGA and do this evaluation of the programme, you know, to really roll it out in terms of business as usual as we move forward.

Rhian Gladman: Are there any, sort of, early plans for what next for the Community Connectors and the Community Champions? Any, sort of, ideas that the council is thinking through around what next they could do?

Nicola Jones: So, pre-COVID-19 the Community Connectors were very much, like I say, door-knocking. And what they do is, they work with that individual, they don't do for that individual, they hand-hold for that individual and encourage them to do for themselves, to address any issues that are affecting their health and wellbeing. So that could be if someone wants to go into volunteering, someone wants to go into employment, but for another individual it could be actually they haven't left the house for over ten years and actually just getting them to go to the gate is a big step for them, and just getting them out into the community. They also do a lot of work in terms of community development, getting new groups established, you know, addressing social isolation. So we're keen to, sort of, move them from that reactive that they've been doing through the pandemic, back to a bit of business as usual. So really getting back out into the, you know, the heart of our communities and really working with individuals, which they've had to do a bit at arms length through the pandemic. I think for, you know, the Champions, in Wirral we've got a big regeneration programme that's going to be happening and we're really keen, as a council I think, to maybe use those Community Champions to get some key messages to our community around some of our regeneration projects moving forward, and really do look to do that engagement. The other thing that we're looking to do is to have an insights team, based within the public health team, so we're just working with HR to get those job descriptions evaluated, but really looking at having that insights team based within the team. Because I think what the pandemic and this work has really shown us is how valuable insights are in terms of that behavioural science moving forwards. So we're really excited to have that team up and running. And that will be not just working across public health, it's working across the whole of the council. 

(TC: 00:18:00)  
Rhian Gladman: Yes, so that's fantastic. You're going to have that resource, that dedicated resource, as you say, not just within public health but across the council, as well as having the community resource with the Community Connectors and the Champions. I mean, a thing that jumped to mind really there was the link between climate change engagement and the role these guys could be playing, maybe in that, in some of those messages out there, as the trusted messenger within the community to maybe encourage a behaviour change in relation to what's the local community's role in terms of climate change? So, just a quick idea there, I'll leave you with that one. That's great, great stuff. So where we've got to is, we've got a clear behaviour identified, you know, encouraging adherence to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, and using your clear messenger of Community Connectors and the Community Champions. So, bearing that in mind, what was the intervention that this project has come up with?

Nicola Jones: So the idea is that we're going to implement, like I say, some training package for people in terms of a bit more training around some of the guidance. Obviously it's been a bit tricky, is what I would say, because the guidance has changed so much, probably since May time, so actually, you know, some of the adherence and the guidance that we would have looked at is actually not relevant anymore, because the government aren't saying that that is the sort of behaviours that we need to follow any more. So that's where it's been a bit tricky, probably the timing of this, is what I would say. But we are going to look to implement some training around, sort of, the basic behaviours that we still want people to follow. So, sort of, basic, I would say, health protection, so face, hands, face. All those key public health messages that isn't just around COVID-19 I suppose, it could be around a lot of public health interventions. So I think we're going to (TC 00:20:00) look at implementing a training package, and then maybe having an enhanced training package for a cohort of the Champions as well. 

Rory McGill: And in terms of the interventions that were developed during that, kind of, initial response there was the Wirral InfoBank, and that was a digital space in a portal that people could access to get sources of support from everything. Because if you think about the range of behaviours, and lifestyle impacts that the pandemic had on individuals' lives, it really did range from things that we never even thought of at the beginning. There were two prongs to that, one was that it was a signposting resource for people to be able to access support, but also it was a way for us to monitor the metrics, to see what people were needing support with, so that we were then able to tailor our existing interventions to make sure that we were matching the need. And I see that as a resource, as Nikki said, that has sustainability and longevity beyond the pandemic, because we're always going to need to be able to signpost to services in local areas. And if people can already have a step up on that, and know what it is that they are already looking for within that resource. And it is a very easily navigable space as well, which makes that, I think, quite a coup, in terms of the Wirral COVID-19 response because I don't see that happening a lot elsewhere, that InfoBank space. I think it's great. 

Rhian Gladman: Would it be okay for us to have the link to that in the show notes?

Nicola Jones: Yes, of course. 

Rhian Gladman: I think it would be great. So we can, you know, divert other councils to have a look at that, and see what they could adapt and use to set up their own potential InfoBank as well. So, excellent, well, we'll do that.

Nicola Jones: The Community Connectors service the InfoBank, so they do all the upkeep to that, you know, they are out doing the asset mapping as well currently to recognise what new things have started during COVID-19, and other things will have gone, obviously. So they are doing the asset mapping and they deal with all the upkeep of that system as well. 

Rhian Gladman: Great stuff. So sustained by the Community Connectors, and it continues to evolve in that way. And it's, I guess, that real time at the community level information. 

Nicola Jones: Yes. 

Rhian Gladman: Great stuff. Back to the training. So the intervention of the training package. So who will the training package be for?

Nicola Jones: It will be for the Community Champions and the Community Connectors.

Rhian Gladman: So a training package for all of them. And then you mentioned an enhanced package for a smaller cohort?

Nicola Jones: Yes. Just so we can measure the impact. 

Rhian Gladman: Okay. So, my next question really was, how are you planning to measure the impact of that intervention?

Nicola Jones: So we're just currently undertaking a baseline survey with, sort of, a general public survey around behaviours. We are then going to implement the training and then repeat the survey. 

Rhian Gladman: Unfortunately Rory was unable to attend this second part of the podcast. So we will pick up where we left off, with Nikki. So Nikki, in terms of the results of the intervention, what were the findings?

Nicola Jones: Yes. So we had some really great feedback, particularly from the Community Champions programme. So we found that almost 45 per cent of Community Champions had been a Champion for over eighteen months across the evaluation. So that indicated to us that there was a really high level of commitment to the programme, and wanting to be those Community Champions. Many told us they had become Champions to combat that misinformation, receive and share information about COVID-19, and help to reach hard to reach groups, to make sure they had the right information, and to support local businesses. When we asked around, sort of, what communication channels they used most effectively for that many said they used email and face-to-face as ways of communicating that information to the community. We also-, which was really positive, was that just over a third of Champions felt that their role really motivated the community to change their behaviour to some degree. So we were really pleased that Champions, sort of, valued the role and felt like it was a really meaningful role. We did the baseline survey with the general public in Autumn 2021, and then we obviously repeated that in Spring 2022. There was an apparent drop in awareness of the Community Champions programme between those times. It was a drop of 13 per cent. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that COVID-19 has changed over the nature of this evaluation, and that's one of the things I would say. We have had to, sort of, adapt the evaluation as we've gone along, given the change in restrictions. I think people's enthusiasm for COVID-19 has waned over the period of this evaluation, so we weren't that taken aback, I suppose, by, sort of, that lack of awareness around the Community Champions being that communication channel for COVID-19. What was also great was Community Champions really wanted to remain as Community Champions going forward with the programme, and I'll go on to talk a little bit more about that. 
But with a focus around maybe some different behaviours. So some suggestions were around mental and physical health, asylum seeker support and support for families in poverty. So I think there are some real, sort of, big topics for public health coming up, that we can really use the Champions for going forward. We had also asked, around some of the COVID-19 protective measures, and I think it's fair to say across all the measures we'd seen a decline between the baseline survey in Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022. And I think, again, changes in legislation, you know, different information coming out, with COVID-19 being less prevalent all factored into that. So we'd seen people saying they weren't adhering to social distancing, they weren't wearing masks outdoors, they weren't using the hand gel, although they were continuing to wash their hands and cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. One thing that stood out was people were testing a lot less, that had gone down from 66 per cent to 46 per cent, and again the barriers that were highlighted for that is now that there was a cost involved with testing people, again, because of some of the social and economic factors, didn't want to pay for tests, and also people saying that they only wanted to test if they were ill. So all valuable insight that we've gathered which we can really take forward. I presented this to the Health Protection Board in Wirral yesterday and they were really keen, so some of the lessons we can learn for the wider health protection system around this as well, going forward. So that's really great. The third element that we evaluated was, we distributed some campaign material through the Champions, and wanted to really test the effectiveness of that as an intervention. Only nine per cent of respondents recalled seeing the campaign, and 72 per cent said they had no recall at all, which was slightly disappointing, I think it was fair to say. 
But again I think a lot of that is to do with the-, people are tired of taking precautions, tired of worrying about COVID-19, you know, there was definitely feedback around there was information overload around COVID-19, so people were just switching off from that. And I think there's something around the Champions themselves, you know, ensuring that they are still active Champions, which is probably something we will look to do moving forwards. You know, are they still forwarding that information on, are they still speaking to people around COVID-19. And I think a big lesson learnt from this is the change in nature of the pandemic. We've definitely seen that, sort of, span out throughout this evaluation, in terms of enthusiasm and people's interest in COVID-19. In terms of what we've learnt, I think what we've learnt is there has been some real shifts in attitude towards COVID-19 and COVID-safe behaviours, and people definitely feel less at risk. There have been many social and economic changes that have contributed to people's changing attitudes. Some members of the public have taken, sort of, a defensive stance against the government recommendations after being confused about the changing rules during the pandemic, and this misinformation during the pandemic has led to a lack of trust. And that information overload has caused the public to disengage from some of the messaging around COVID-19 and COVID-safe behaviours, such as mask wearing or vaccination for travel, with them not being mandated, therefore likely to care a lot less. But I do think what it has told us is, if that enthusiasm is there like it was at the start of the pandemic then there is absolutely a role for COVID Champions in terms of an intervention for behaviour change as we saw at the start of the pandemic, in terms of getting those key messages to our hard-to-reach communities. It absolutely was effective but less so effective now that interest has waned. In terms of next steps for the programme-, 

Rhian Gladman: Sorry Nikki, to interrupt. So it's that point around, almost, the fatigue has set in.

Nicola Jones: Yes, it is yes. 

Rhian Gladman: Rather than at the start when there was high energy, everyone, you know, wanted to do these things, the COVID Champions and (TC 00:30:00) that tool to communicate with your local residents worked really well because there was that energy there, and it's more the national context and the wider context, rather than the COVID Champion role in itself, that has changed things. Is that a fair summary?

Nicola Jones: Yes, that's absolutely correct. And I think, you know, it's that common goal as well. At the beginning of the pandemic it was, sort of, the one thing everybody was focused on, whether that was the Champions or the general public. But actually things have moved on now, you know, people have almost gone back to the way life was, and COVID-19 just isn't as prevalent in people's minds, whether that's through them wanting it to be, or through them just not wanting to hear about it anymore. But that's absolutely correct in terms of what you're saying. That fatigue, I think we've definitely seen that throughout the evaluation. 

Rhian Gladman: And you mentioned there about, in terms of the Champions, they had a couple of suggestions of what next you could do with them. So I guess that's my next question really, is, what are the next steps for the council for this project?

Nicola Jones: Yes. So, we're really keen to develop the programme now going forwards. So there is a programme aware... to help boost uptake to the programme, but also to do a segmentation of Champions by their desired interest or area. So, for instance we might have climate change Champions, we might have mental health Champions, we might have digital Champions. But we are really keen to really understand where that interest and passion lies within those Champions. Because, like we've just spoken about, we know if we can capture that then that's where we get the most effective use of the Champions in terms of that distributing key messages and information to the public. The second development we want with the programme is to make it a lot more interactive. At the minute it feels very much, as a council, we are just giving information out, and we want to make it a lot more interactive, so that we can feed that insight back in from our Champions around those areas of interest. So we spoke about maybe having an online forum, or WhatsApp groups for each of the segmented interest or area. So we are really keen to develop it in that way, and really integrate it, because obviously public health have driven this from a COVID-19 perspective. But really look to integrate the Champions programme across the wider council and partners work, so really linking it up. For instance we have a climate change Cool Wirral strategy, so we are really keen to link up the climate change Champions, for instance, with that work programme. So it's not just belonging to public health, but the rest of the council feel the benefit of using that as a key engagement tool. And then the final thing was, in public health we've just recruited to a qualitative insight team, which we're really pleased with. You know, we are really keen to build on the behavioural insights work that we've done, and the Champions programme will move into that team, and be used as a key engagement tool, again for that insights team, and thinking about that more interactive two-way process. 
We're really excited to have this new team and this new resource, and I think it is really going to be invaluable going forward. 

Rhian Gladman: Nikki, has something come up about the cost-of-living crisis, has that come up as a theme that the COVID Champions could potentially pivot into?

Nicola Jones: Yes it is. And it's one of the key areas of work for the new qualitative insight team. So that's something that we've picked up as part of their work programme. But absolutely, so the families living in poverty was one of the big things that came out that Champions were really keen to explore further. 

Rhian Gladman: Yes. Definitely, definitely a really huge issue at the moment. So it will be interesting to see what way the council goes with that definitely in the future. So, thanks so much for that Nikki. I mean, what we like to finish the podcast episodes with is, you know, for those busy council members and officers out there who have been listening in, thinking, 'How do we implement something similar in our own council?' So I like to ask all our speakers, really, at the end of the podcast, to say, 'What are your top three tips for another council looking to implement a similar type of project?'.

Nicola Jones: I think number one would be, take the time to build those relationships with communities. It can be time consuming, but I think you will really reap the benefits of taking that time to build those relationships and those networks. I think the second thing is, really listen, and when I say listen I mean really listen to what people are telling you and be prepared to act upon that. And I think the third thing is always remember to say thank you, because a lot of the Champions are volunteers, so they are not getting paid to contribute. So always, I think that always goes a long way with people, just that acknowledgement and thank you. And, this is probably a fourth one, sorry, is to feed back as well what you've done as a consequence of listening to people. So, 'You told us this, and this is what we've done as a consequence.' Because I think a lot of the time we ask people a lot, but we don't always do that feedback loop, and I think that's really important to our communities. 

Rhian Gladman: Brilliant thanks. I'm going to take your third tip there, Nikki, and thank you for your time today in sharing the story of the behavioural insights work you have been doing in Wirral, wish you all the best with the new insights team and look forward to seeing the future of the work that you do at the council. Thank you again for your time.

Nicola Jones: Thank you. Thanks for having me. 

Rhian Gladman: And thanks to all of you for listening to the latest episode of the Nudges for Good podcast. What we would like is a bit of interaction really with you guys, I guess, the listeners, so please do feel free to email us at [email protected]. If you would like to suggest any topics or any particular speakers that you would like to have featured on the podcast we'd love to hear your suggestions. Thanks again for listening, and please do share the podcast with your colleagues and friends.