Those who don't read the Observer should read this article.
Now, I start out by loathing the very notion of the "nudge unit" as a sinister way of manipulating people's thinking to suit the government. However, the exercise described here appears to be based on sensible psychological insights (otherwise known as common sense) and designed to help and support rather than manipulate. Notice that the trial was with people who hadn't been out of work very long, and that the emphasis in the article is on getting people to write down their commitments and express themselves about a traumatic event. But the real benefits (which the comments under the article pick up) are summed up as, "The unit made three changes to the way jobseekers in Loughton were treated: the amount of paperwork was reduced at the first meeting so that the claimant could talk about getting back to work from day one; the conversation was focused on what jobseekers would do for the next fortnight and they were encouraged to make written commitments; and advisers at the centre were told to build the confidence and wellbeing of those still claiming after eight weeks, rather than treating them as failures." (My italics)
I can remember a time when schemes like New Deal were promoted as being about helping to build people's confidence. The Work Programme put paid to any such soft-headed notions. Mark Hoban thinks the trial describes an "innovative approach". No, Mr Hoban, it's a very old-fashioned approach which your department seems to have forgotten.