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Disease Control

Question for Cabinet Office

UIN HL11919, tabled on 8 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the role of behavioural science in driving personal responsibility to ensure (1) continued hand hygiene, (2) social distancing, and (3) mask wearing; and what plans they have to launch public information campaigns to underline those messages and promote hygienic behaviour as a life-long habit amongst the general population to support future pandemic preparedness plans and public health strategies.

Answered on

22 January 2021

Behavioural science has been fully embedded in Covid-19 communications since the start of the pandemic. The evidence-based principles from this field have been applied across all key campaigns, such as ‘Hands Face Space’ and ‘Stay Home, Protect NHS, Save Lives’. Behavioural science support during the pandemic has been provided by internal government teams and academic experts, including those who are members of SPI-B.

Hand hygiene, social distancing and mask-wearing remain a core pillar of the on-going campaign. However, the communication response to the pandemic must be flexible and reflect restrictions aimed at the immediate threat level. This is now at the highest level, and national ‘Stay Home’ communication addresses the most pressing behavioural challenge. Life-long hygiene habits are important and are being factored into future plans, however, message discipline is imperative so we must prioritise the urgent and immediate ‘Stay Home’ behaviours.

Answered by

Cabinet Office