ADD2199 Research into behavioural motivations for volunteering

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
28 February 2018
Decision by: 
Laura Cordingley Nee Brown , Assistant Director, Team London

Executive summary

Team London, The Mayor’s social action and volunteering team, are carrying out pilot work regarding the reward and recognition of volunteering, and how volunteering can become a cultural norm for Londoners. We are working in partnership with v•inspired, an organisation who support young people in taking up social action and volunteering activities.  We wish to work with the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to use their workshop methodology to explore the behavioural insights of volunteering and social action. This will help form recommendations of how to shape pilot work and what data to gather.



That the Assistant Director of Team London approves:

1.    Expenditure of £3,000 to run 2 workshops on behavioural insight around reward and recognition, social action and volunteering using the BIT’s specialist experience and methodology;

2.    Expenditure of up to £10,000 to cover up to 12 days follow on work post the workshops, to develop methodology and challenges and recommendations about future approaches post pilot; and

3.    A related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts and Funding Code to seek competitive tenders for the services set out at decisions 1 and 2 above.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1       Team London are delivering a pilot programme with v•inspired, an organisation who support young people in taking up social action and volunteering activities. This pilot looks at the reward and recognition of volunteering and social action activity for young people. The programme seeks to understand motivations and behaviours related to volunteering, enabling us to increase volunteering levels amongst those who have not previously volunteered and particularly target those from more diverse and deprived backgrounds.

1.2    The research for which this ADD seeks expenditure approval will enhance our Young London Inspired Programme (MD2171). The programme contains three complementary streams which will create accessible, supported pathways from which the young people of London will engage with social action and volunteering. These streams create a pathway for involvement for young people, embedding volunteering from school age, cultivating their abilities to participate or self-organise a project and gain funding for it, and for this journey to be rewarded and recognised for activity.
1.3    Between January 2018 and the end of June 2018 v•inspired will complete pilot work to develop and test reward and recognition mechanisms associated with volunteering. As approved in MD2171 Team London is contributing £50,000 to help fund development activity. 
1.4    Team London has successfully used incentivisation for its Team London Ambassador programme and Major Events programme including items like pin badges, event day t-shirts, uniform items for example backpacks, jackets and hats along with spice time credits and the opportunity to attend the annual celebration networking event. This scheme works well to engage and retain up to 65% of our volunteer database annually. However, the programme is for volunteers aged 18+ so there is a distinct gap between the existing data that we have around this type of volunteering opportunity and the wider view of how to incentivise younger people and those from more diverse groups to volunteer.
1.5       There is also a lack of an evidence base regarding complementary behavioural insight research for the rewards and recognition programme (for ages 10 to 20). This work will help to build this evidence base so that ways to explore behavioural psychology approaches to reward and recognition can be built into our pilot approaches and improve outcomes.
1.6    The procurement process required for a call off from the RM6004 Behavioural Insight framework Fifth of February 2018 (the “Framework”) requires that the GLA seek a minimum of 3 quotes, complete a Request for Proposal (RFP), create evaluation criteria and assign 3 people to evaluate the proposals submitted by the members of the framework.  However, after an examination of other research teams/methodologies on the Framework, it is apparent that the BIT is the only organisation to offer this depth of experience.  The BIT was set up by the Cabinet Office to specifically provide this expertise to central government and other public bodies and as such no other organisation exists who can supply this research.  For this reason, we will use an SSJ on this occasion.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    This proposal concerns the use of two workshops which will be delivered by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). The workshops will aim to identify potential areas for behavioural interventions within v•inspired’s existing - and in development - online system for matching young people to volunteering opportunities.

2.2    The following outputs will be produced;
•    A set of behaviourally informed interventions that could be implemented in the volunteer recruitment and retention pipeline.
•    A prioritised list of these interventions, and ideas for how they might be evaluated.

2.3    Workshop Content

The workshops will focus on BIT’s two frameworks, EAST and TEST. EAST (Easy, Attractive, Social, Timely) is rooted in the academic literature, and introduces the different concepts that underpin behavioural insights.  BIT will give examples of where these approaches have been used to address specific public policy issues, with a particular focus on their work in social action. The TEST (Target, Explore, Solution, Trial) methodology is a framework for applying and evaluating the use of behavioural science in public policy, which will be explored through a series of examples. Both frameworks will then be applied to generate ideas for interventions in the volunteer recruitment and retention pipeline. There will also be a component on the recruitment and retention user journey.

2.4    Post Workshop Activities

Upon completion of the workshops and subject to the identified next steps, we may wish BIT to provide additional support for follow up work. If this is required then we will commission up to 12 days consultancy support for follow up activities such as;
•    Support on trial design
•    Support on trial implementation, including building randomisation into the online platform
•    Support on intervention design 
•    Statistical analysis of trial data

2.5    The BIT are the only organisation that are endorsed by Cabinet Office and the Lottery to carry out this kind of behavioural insight analysis and are on a government framework to provide such services to public bodies on an exclusive basis.  However we will be requesting an SSJ from TfL’s procurement team in order to enter into contract with BIT.

Equality comments

3.1    As noted in section 1 above, the aim of the programme is to support and encourage all young people in London to take part in volunteering and social action. The programme will specifically target young people with protected characteristics including race and sexual orientation. A key goal of this programme is to advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it. In particular it will target young Londoners from more diverse and deprived backgrounds who might experience significant barriers to participating in social action and volunteering, look at how to overcome these barriers and motivate and reward young people in ways that support them to grow.

3.2    Equal Opportunities are enshrined within Team London’s programmes. Team London volunteering programmes and projects aim to ensure that all Londoners can access volunteering opportunities. They seek to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and indeed by doing so support other Londoners equally throughout the city. The BIT work uses behavioural science and randomised control methods in order to ensure that barriers and behavioural characteristics of all groups are equally understood and can be worked through to ensure equality of access and opportunity. This workshop approach is a further element of our efforts to ensure that equalities issues are worked through and understood. 

3.3    Our projects promote: equal life chances; the reduction of barriers to social mobility; and seek to enable and demonstrate improvements in social integration and effective community engagement. This programme will involve working with young people, under-represented and disconnected Londoners to connect them through volunteering, with education, training, the world of work and other opportunities to enhance their life chances and improve social mobility and social integration.

3.4    The established Advisory Board for Team London ensures we have the voice of all relevant parties shaping the future of the programme to ensure it is relevant, efficient and delivering the best volunteering related outcomes for Londoners. 

3.5    Our work also embraces London’s diversity by connecting Londoners from a variety of demographical and geographical backgrounds, including those with protected characteristics together in support of commons causes. 

3.6     Our work also embraces London’s diversity by connecting Londoners from a variety of demographical and geographical backgrounds together in support of common causes and events.

Other considerations



Risk Description

Mitigation/ risk response


Contracted organisation does not meet the agreed upon programme outcomes

The risk is low and will be mitigated through close contact. The contract delivery partner is an expert in its field and is highly regarded. It has been devolved from central government to become an independent body and is still regulated by the National Audit Office.


Financial Mismanagement

The likelihood of over-spend or other financial misconduct is low, and will be mitigated by close budgetary management on the behalf of the GLA project manager, and payment will be dependent on results.


Data Protection

BIT will be bound by a confidentiality agreement with their work with us and v•inspired and no personal or sensitive data will be made available in a way that would contravene data protection and/or GDPR requirements


Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

4.1    The Young London Inspired programme will work with communities and civil society groups across London to encourage active participation in community and civic life from young Londoners. The workshops will enable us to understand more about how to encourage more young Londoners to get involved in volunteering for, and connecting with, others in their community. Volunteering and social action inspires young people to foster valuable life skills by becoming active citizens in their local area, and bringing communities together in a way that is now more important than ever. We will also be making reference to the other programmes within the GLA that are looking at behaviours (e.g. Love London card) and ensuring that any cross policy area findings are shared with the relevant teams.

Impact Assessments and consultations

4.2    We consult relevant groups and stakeholders when undertaking any new programmes. We have scoped out existing reward and recognition programmes working across London, explored the ideas in a roundtable with voluntary sector organisations and think-tanks and are using a test and learn approach to this work so that we can adapt and flex the work as we go.

4.3    There is an established Advisory Board for Team London to ensure we have the voice of all relevant parties shaping the future of the programme to ensure it is relevant, efficient and delivering the best volunteering related outcomes for Londoners. 

4.4    The #iwill and SUTS board will require monitoring and evaluation of impact and proactive working with the independent #iwill learning hub which is being established. There will be distinct programme strands to look at the individual outcomes and outputs and we are working with the Intelligence Team to establish an overall measurement framework for the programme. There is a programme advisory board drawn from across the GLA and external organisations. 


Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure up to £13,000 to fund the delivery of two behavioural insight workshops and 12 days of post workshop activities.  

5.2    This expenditure will be funded from the 2017-18 Microgrants & Support programme budget within the Team London and Sports unit.

Planned delivery approach and next steps




Procurement of contract [for externally delivered projects]

February ‘18


February ‘18

Follow up days to look at findings, carry out analysis etc

March ‘18

Delivery End Date [for project proposals]

March ‘18


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