ACSS subgroups

Details of Advisory Committee for Social Science subgroups including membership, meeting papers and minutes will be published here.

Working Group: Applying behaviour science

Applying behavioural science to help deliver public policy has become increasingly popular across UK Government. Centred around making public services more cost-effective, improving outcomes and assisting better choices, Departments have looked to apply this branch of the social sciences to help deliver its priorities.

Within the FSA, applying behavioural science to improve our impact in influencing consumers’ and business’s behaviours is identified as a key strategic objective in the FSA 2015-2020 Strategic Plan . In the last two years we have been building internal capability and worked with other government departments and external organisations, including academic institutions, to access relevant expertise and knowledge on how best to apply behavioural science in our engagement with:

  • Consumers to ensure food is safe and is what it says it is
  • Regulators of food businesses who are responsible for complying with food safety regulation .

Work is now underway to review the progress we’ve made and scope out new work in line with emerging priorities. The purpose of this working group is to help assure best practice and outcomes in the application of behavioural science to the upcoming work of the FSA.

Working Group: Risk communication

It is often the role of Government bodies to communicate to influence behaviour or empower choice through communicating the evidence base and assessment of risk of certain choices, Once we leave the EU and responsibility for risk assessment devolves to the FSA/FSS, it will be more important than ever to have a robust framework for the communication of food risk.


  • Gap analysis of the Science Council principles, and advice on how best to turn them into a workable framework.
  • Academic support on a review of existing and recent risk communications frameworks for UK Government, understanding their evolution, how they are used, and what are the learning points one might take forward
  • To gain the best possible advice on a draft risk communications framework and how we can make this most usable

Working Group: Food and You

Food and You is the FSA’s flagship consumer survey, gathering robust and representative evidence on UK consumers’ reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food safety. The survey is conducted on a biennial basis and is administered to a cross-section of adults (over 16 years old) across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. To date, four waves of data have been published and results from Wave 5 will report in Spring 2019.

Between August 2015 and March 2016, the FSA commissioned an independent evaluation of the first three waves of Food and You. The evaluation was designed to establish the effectiveness and impact of the survey and provide recommendations for future waves. It was recommended that ‘a review should be undertaken to consider the purpose and value of Food and You, with consideration of questions relating to the methodology, scope and focus of the survey’. As such, the Food and You Review Working group has been established to review Food and You and advise on the future direction of the survey. Specifically, the Working Group has been asked to:

  • Conduct an in-depth review of the ‘Food for you’ survey.
  • Investigate how stakeholders used past research and help them identify their needs for future research.
  • Assess the pros, cons and value for money of different methodological approaches.
  • Provide recommendations for Food and You by the end of March 2019.