Behavioural Insights Team, also known as the Nudge Unit, is set to become a profit-making joint venture. The UK government, which currently owns the team, will retain a stake, while employees will own over half the shares. The remaining stake will be held by the innovation charity Nesta. The Nudge Unit uses insights from behavioural psychology to improve government policy and services. It has already achieved considerable success, including a significant increase in tax payment rates.

The move to a mutual joint venture is part of the government’s wider mutualisation agenda. It aims to combine the innovation and efficiency of the private sector with the social commitment of public service. The Nudge Unit will continue to serve UK government departments and local authorities, but will also offer its services internationally.

The decision has been criticised by some who argue that the government is selling off a valuable asset. However, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude defended the move, stating that it will allow the Nudge Unit to expand its work both at home and abroad. He added that the government will continue to benefit from the team’s expertise through its retained stake.

The Nudge Unit’s work has been praised for its innovative approach to public service reform. Its methods have been adopted by governments around the world, including the US and Australia.

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