Policy paper

Fraud, error and debt: behavioural insights team paper

The behavioural insights team has published a paper on fraud, debt and error.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Behavioural Insight Team Paper on Fraud, Error and Debt

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email publiccorrespondence@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


The Behavioural Insights Team has published a paper on fraud, debt and error. It represents a completely new way of doing policy: by actively testing ideas with public bodies, the team has been able to demonstrate effects that, if rolled out, could save hundreds of millions of pounds.
This latest paper sets out some of the most effective actions which public bodies can take. Many of these are simple and highly cost effective.
For example, the project demonstrated that by making simple changes to tax letters, explaining that most people in the local area had already paid their taxes, repayment rates were boosted by around 15 percentage points.
If rolled out nationally, this would advance over £160 million of cash flow by around six weeks each year.

The paper also presents the preliminary findings from eight randomised controlled trials which BIT has run with a range of organisations - from local authorities to HMRC. 

Published 6 February 2012