Research undertaken by the Behavioural Insights Team to assess how engagement with, and by, families works during the process of transition back into civilian life and where it could be improved, highlights the need for more accessible and inclusive support…

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) conducted 53 interviews with families, and serving and ex-Service personnel to understand what the barriers and facilitators are for families when engaging with transition support, and how best to utilise behaviour and social sciences to overcome these barriers and encourage behavioural change.

The content from the interviews contributed to the following recommendations included in the report:

  • To reduce information overload: Break transition into smaller, more manageable steps to achieve long-term goals. Encourage follow through, set deadlines and send useful tips and reminders.
  • To involve the family in transition: Ensure that information and support are accessible to families and use inclusive language.
  • To link with social networks: Tap into existing social networks or generate new ones to encourage knowledge sharing and support.
  • To continue support after transition: Recognise that transition does not end at the point of leaving. Provide access and signpost to support. Follow up with regular check-ins.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The recommendations the Behavioural Insights Team has presented in their report are as a result of their engagement with families, and serving and ex-Service personnel. We now look to find effective ways of embedding the necessary behavioural changes in individuals and organizations.

“This research has the potential of achieving great impact on the support offered to families in the transition process and their engagement with it. We hope the MOD, and organizations providing transition support, incorporate these recommendations into their transition procedures.”

The year-long project was funded by the Forces in Mind Trust and is the first in a two-phase project, with findings influencing a pilot project which would be the second phase.

Victoria Fussey of the Behavioural Insights Team said: “The move to civilian life can be hard for people leaving the Forces, as well as their families. Through this project, we’ve gained a better understanding of how they experience transition and suggested ways that designing services based on this understanding and the science of human behaviour and decision making can be used to improve the process.”

You can read the full report here.