Council tax arrears collections – The Behaviouralist

Posted on 3rd April, 2018

The Problem:

Late and non-payment of council tax impacts the ability of councils to deliver crucial front-line services. For LBE every 1% of households who don’t pay their taxes represents £1.4 million in lost revenue. There are also additional costs in pursuing late payments (printing and postage, staff time, legal costs) therefore ensuring households pay their council tax is a priority.


The Behaviouralist worked with LBE to conduct a field experiment with ~17,400 households who were in council tax arrears. We adjusted the design and copy of the Council Tax letters based on cutting edge insights (nudging) from behavioural science. Three versions of the arrears notices were developed; applying three heuristics or biases to the copy: social norms; omission commission and a message encouraging direct debit payment.

Read more: Arrears Collection – Council Tax – The Behaviouralist