The Power of Collaboration in the Response to COVID-19
Sarah Pullen, Hub Development Coordinator, BSPHN.
The last 18 months have been a pivotal time for behavioural science. There has been an increased profile in the media, and stronger presence in government with it feeding into strategy, policy and practice. Also, there has been a growth in the number of job posts being advertised in both the public and private sector which ask for behavioural science and behavioural insights qualifications and experience.
However, behind the scenes the truly amazing thing to see has been the unity and cooperation of behavioural science and public health experts across sectors and settings, with so many people collaborating and sharing to support a joint cause.
The Behavioural Science and Public Health Network has hubs in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, Midlands, and South East. Each hub is led by a steering group with representatives from their geographical area; all of whom are passionate about the positive difference that can be made by utilising behavioural science within public health.
All four hubs hosted events, webinars and workshops during lockdown, and collated guidance and evidence to help shape the public health response to COVID-19. There have been contributions from a vast array of universities and Local Authorities, Public Health England, Health Education England, Health Psychology networks, community initiatives, service providers and the Behavioural Science Insights and Unit (BSIU). The events hosted included:
- North West: Making Sense of Behavioural Insights – Using behavioural insights to address Coronavirus vaccine hesitancy, 21st April 2021
- Yorkshire and the Humber: Supporting Covid-19 Vaccine uptake through Behavioural Science, 24th March 2021
- Midlands: Health Behaviour Change Competency Framework: Shaping a behaviour change competency framework tool for those involved with commissioning or delivering behaviour change interventions within clinical health services, 12st May 2021
- South East: Applying the Behaviour Change Wheel using the Achieving Behaviour Change (ABC) guide – Focus on Coronavirus Vaccine Uptake, 11th February 2021
- Universities: The Power of Behavioural Science in the COVID-19 Response, 2nd June 2021
Recordings and resources from these BSPHN events are available via the website. Additionally, over the last 18 months many resources have been created by organisations and experts, and a selection of them are shared below.
If you are interested in playing an active part in your local hub, want to explore setting up a new hub, or just want to find out more, visit the Regional Hubs page.
The momentum and interest in this field has grown, and I look forward to seeing how behavioural science will be applied in other areas to improve public health outcomes in the years to come.
COVID-19 Vaccination: Reducing vaccine hesitancy
Hertfordshire Behaviour Change Unit (2020). COVID-19 Vaccination: Reducing vaccine hesitancy – Review & Recommendations
The COVID-19 Communications Handbook
University of Bristol, January 2021. The COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Handbook – A practical guide for improving vaccine communication and fighting misinformation
Behavioural considerations for acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines
WHO report, December 2020. Behavioural considerations for acceptance and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: A Behavioural Lens on a Critical Problem
The BEworks Report "COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: A Behavioural Lens on a Critical Problem" details their exploration of scientific findings and behaviourally informed strategy recommendations.