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1
Trust and
Public Policy
How Better Governance Can
Help Rebuild Public Trust
Highlights
OECD Directorate for Public Gover...
Trust plays a very tangible role in the effectiveness
of government. Few perceptions are more palpable
than that of trust ...
2
Public institutions across all areas of public
policy have a strong incentive to inspire
public trust: high trust is ass...
3
Strengthening and joining up
tools to fight corruption
There is widespread anger over persistent
problems of corruption,...
Improving public services, in terms of access, quality and responsiveness,
plays an important role in strengthening trust ...
0%
20%
40%
80%
100%
60%
Public
transportation
62.6%
National
government
Minimum
43.4%
Judicial
system
53.5%
Local
police74...
7
Citizens expect their
money to be well managed
Sound use of public money is another
important domain in which trust can ...
8
100%
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
55%
50%
60%
65%
70%
75%
80%
85%
90%
95%
Confidence in national government (2015)
Freedomofm...
The private sector works to
build trust every day
The private sector has shown that with
the right groundwork and preparat...
A recurring theme of the report is the close
parallel between what public institutions
are starting to do today to build t...
10
odicals and statistical databases.
How’s Life in Your Region?
MEASURING REGIONAL AND LOCAL WELL-BEING
FOR POLICY MAKING...
For more information, contact:
Trust and public policy:
Andrew.Davies@oecd.org
Public sector integrity:
Janos.Bertok@oecd....
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Trust and Public Policy: How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust - OECD

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Highlights brochure from the OECD publication "Trust and Public Policy: How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust", which examines the influence of trust in policy making and explores the steps governments can take to strengthen public trust. oe.cd/trust-and-public-policy

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Trust and Public Policy: How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust - OECD

  1. 1. 1 Trust and Public Policy How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust Highlights OECD Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development
  2. 2. Trust plays a very tangible role in the effectiveness of government. Few perceptions are more palpable than that of trust or its absence. Governments ignore this at their peril. The erosion of public trust has been a recurring issue for many years, but came firmly to the forefront of public debate in many OECD countries with the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis and ensuing recession. Those events profoundly shook the public’s confidence in institutions, and people’s trust in public institutions has fared especially poorly. Against a background of perceived inequalities in income and opportunities, high unemployment and job insecurity, resistance to globalisation and concern over global pressures such as migration and climate change, restoring this trust is essential. Restoring Trust In Government DEU -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% ISL ISR AUT SVK JPN CHE GBR CZE Percentage points change since 2007 Level of trust in 2015 GRC IRL KOR NZL HUN POL OECD EST DNK TUR CHL FRA ITA USA AUS SWE NLD NOR CAN LUX BEL MEX FIN ESP PRT SVN 1 Fig. 1 Trust in government has been declining, often from a low starting point OECD Trust Database, Gallup World Poll 2015
  3. 3. 2 Public institutions across all areas of public policy have a strong incentive to inspire public trust: high trust is associated with cooperative behaviour, while low trust is associated with resistance, even to things that seem to be in the person’s overall best interest. But what can governments actually do to rebuild trust? Extensive research suggests that attention to two fundamental principles can help. First, competent execution of public mandates and, second, a values-driven approach to decision-making are keys to strengthening trust between government and citizens across a wide range of the most hotly debated areas of public policy today, such as taxation, migration, pensions, infrastructure, energy, financial market regulation and environmental policy. Two keys to public trust: competence and values 1. Competence - Ability of governments to deliver to citizens the services they need, at the quality level they expect Government mandate involved Key elements Overall public policy objective Provide public services Access to public services regardless of income, place of residence. Quality and timeliness of public services. Responsiveness Anticipate change, protect citizens Effective management of social, economic and political uncertainty Consistent and predicable behaviour Reliability 2. Values - The principles that inform and guide government action Government mandate involved Key elements Overall public policy objective Use power and public resources ethically High standards of behaviour and clear accountability. Commitment to fight corruption. Integrity Inform, consult and listen to citizens Giving citizens useful information on what government is doing. Engagement opportunities that genuinely influence policy choices. Openness Improve socio-economic conditions for all Pursuit of socio-economic progress for society as a whole. Consistent treatment of citizens and businesses. Fairness Competent execution of public mandates and a values-driven approach to decision-making are keys to strengthening trust between government and citizens across a wide range of the most hotly debated areas of public policy today, such as taxation, migration, pensions, infrastructure, energy, financial market regulation and environmental policy. Source: Adapted from review of the literature Fig. 2 Citizens’ trust is derived from an assessment of the competence and values of their public institutions
  4. 4. 3 Strengthening and joining up tools to fight corruption There is widespread anger over persistent problems of corruption, tax evasion, regulatory capture and other signs of weak respect for rule of law among political elites. This has led to calls for stronger measures to manage political financing, lobbying, post- public employment and conflicts of interest. Four policy levers are particularly powerful in influencing trust: 1) clear and transparent definition of and adherence to integrity principles, including equal treatment and enforcement; 2) capitalising on critical opportunities to demonstrate integrity in practice, such as large public infrastructure projects and major events; 3) political leaders leading by example (with regard to asset disclosure, transparency, etc.); and 4) development and application of common standards and behaviours at all levels of government, given that state and local authorities often interact more closely with citizens than do central government civil servants. OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity This new OECD instrument is designed to strengthen the effectiveness of a public integrity system, identifying new risks and closing gaps. Thirteen principles are organised in three pillars: A. Building a coherent and comprehensive public integrity system involves: 1) demonstrating political and management commitment; 2) establishing institutional responsibilities for the public integrity system; 3) developing a strategic risk-based approach; and 4) setting high standards of conduct. B. Cultivating a culture of public integrity by: 5) promoting a whole-of-society approach; 6) investing in integrity leadership of public managers; 7) promoting a merit-based professional public service; 8) providing information, training, guidance and advice for public officials; and 9) supporting an open organisational culture responsive to public integrity concerns. C. Enabling effective accountability by: 10) applying a control and risk management framework; 11) ensuring effective enforcement responses to integrity violations; 12) reinforcing external oversight and control; and 13) encouraging transparency and stakeholders’ engagement at all stages of the political process and policy cycle.
  5. 5. Improving public services, in terms of access, quality and responsiveness, plays an important role in strengthening trust in government as service performance, citizen satisfaction and public trust are closely connected. Better understanding citizens’ needs, experience and preferences can result in better targeted services, including for underserved populations, often through relatively minor and low-cost refinements. High-quality public services contribute to broader sentiments of trust 4 Trust and public service delivery: the case of access to justice Justice is an area of public policy that exemplifies the need for a strong trust relationship between public institutions and citizens. Trustworthiness is grounded in understanding users’ legal needs and justice pathways, and the ways to respond to these needs through a continuum of legal assistance and justice services. Integrating legal and justice services with other social services (e.g. health, employment), establishing simple gateways (“one-stop shops”) and providing targeted and timely legal assistance services to those facing the most severe problems will maximise social return on investment. Expanding ICT-enabled justice services and processes further helps meet specific needs (e.g. remote communities) and address new policy challenges (e.g. self-representation). Finally, developing transparency and outreach measures (e.g. legal empowerment) will support the development of legal capabilities and address the calls for greater openness in the justice sector overall. When trust breaks down: an example from education Trust is an important ingredient in education reform, involving a complex interaction among parents, teachers and the education ministry. Whether it is designing a new curricula and selecting teaching materials, adjusting school hours, upgrading school inspection or introducing rankings, trust is a prerequisite for effective reform. According to OECD, Education Governance in Action, avoiding a breakdown in trust depends on promoting open dialogue, clear accountability and providing capacity building support.
  6. 6. 0% 20% 40% 80% 100% 60% Public transportation 62.6% National government Minimum 43.4% Judicial system 53.5% Local police74.9% Education 68.5% Health care 70.5% OECD average Maximum 5 Fig. 3 Citizens appreciate the public services they receive from government more than government itself Fair process is as important for citizens as outcome Citizens’ perception of fairness, in process as much as in outcome, is a critical dimension of trust. People must feel they have a real voice, be treated with respect, and receive necessary explanations. Positive perceptions of fairness lead to greater acceptance of agency decisions, better compliance with regulations, and more co-operative behaviour in dealing with agents of the government. The reverse also holds: some citizens will even prefer negative consequences for themselves, such as financial penalties over compliance, if they perceive that they have been treated unfairly. In general terms, low trust generates extra transaction costs for citizens, businesses and government.
  7. 7. 7 Citizens expect their money to be well managed Sound use of public money is another important domain in which trust can be easily lost. Governments need to ensure that the budget decision-making process itself is open and provides for an inclusive, participative and realistic debate on budgetary choices, not simply provide access to information once spending decisions have been made. Current tools to promote fiscal transparency include the Citizen’s Budget, which presents key public finance information in a way accessible to a general audience, and independent bodies responsible for oversight of fiscal policy (Independent Fiscal Institutions or IFIs). Restoring trust through openness From law-making to budgeting and service delivery, efforts to embed greater openness send a clear signal of a government’s commitment to invest in trust while also having a positive impact on the quality of the policy decisions made. The current move towards concepts of ‘Open Government’ and the even more ambitious ‘Open State’ are positive signs that governments are trying to strengthen the dialogue with citizens, even if in some cases this openness can illuminate facts that can generate distrust. Guaranteeing freedom of the media is another sign of an approach to openness that helps to build trust. 6
  8. 8. 8 100% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% 55% 50% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% Confidence in national government (2015) Freedomofmedia(2015) Importantly, countries are increasingly supporting some of the key elements that provide the foundation for transparency. For example, the figure below illustrates how access to information (ATI) laws have grown within OECD countries over the past half-century. 2001-2016 1991-2000 1981-1990 1971-1980 1961-1970 Before-1960 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Fig. 4 Freedom of media and confidence in national government are closely related Fig. 5 The number of OECD countries with law on access to information continues to grow Source: Gallup World Poll, 2015. Source: OECD (2009), Government at a Glance 2009, OECD Publishing, Paris. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1787/9789264075061-en, updated by the author. 7
  9. 9. The private sector works to build trust every day The private sector has shown that with the right groundwork and preparation, the behaviour of individuals can be strongly influenced by perceived trustworthiness. Companies understand that there are two separate dimensions at play: cognitive (rational or experience-based) trust and affective (emotional) trust. They therefore tend to use an integrated approach in establishing trust with their different stakeholders. While the emotional dimension can be linked to (e.g.) brand loyalty, the rational will place the premium on such attributes as reliability and quality. For a public institution, developing a reputation for reliability and quality (perhaps not an emotional attachment) will bring tangible benefits (such as easier acceptance of new services, procedures or regulations). 48 68 59 41 38 37 18 42 26 35 20 12 Behaviours for Distrusted Companies Percent who engage in each behaviour based on their level of trust in a company Behaviours for Trusted Companies #1 Refused to buy products/services Criticized companies Shared negative opinions Disagreed with others Paid more than wanted Sold shares Chose to buy products/services Recommended them to a friend/colleague Shared positive opinions Defended company Paid more Bought shares most trusted content creators: Friends and Family #1most trusted media source: Online Search Engines Fig. 6 Building and retaining trust is a commercial imperative for the private sector Edelman (2016), Edelman Trust Barometer – Financial Services Results 8
  10. 10. A recurring theme of the report is the close parallel between what public institutions are starting to do today to build trust, and the ways that private companies routinely use trust to attract and retain customers, through deliberate and well-thought out “trust strategies”. Perhaps the most important lesson is that trust is not only an indicator of success, it is, more significantly, one of the ingredients that makes success – for a business or for a government – possible. Building trust through direct experience: the case of driverless cars By many accounts, we are on the cusp of a new era. Boston Consulting Group expects the autonomous vehicle (AV) market to reach a value of USD 42 billion by 2025.Yet, trusting our lives to a device that must make life and death decisions with near-perfect accuracy in an unpredictable world and at high speeds represents a quantum leap in the trust we must lend to technology. Property owners, bicycle riders, pedestrians, and all other users of public roads will need trust to coexist with this new technology. Gaining the trust of society is recognised as one of the main hurdles to wider adoption of this new technology. Carmakers are working intensively with users to earn trust through direct experience. While most are initially apprehensive about the car’s ability to manoeuvre correctly, test subjects generally see that the car makes the correct decision time and again. Users quickly learn to trust the technology and the carmaker on the basis of direct, but limited, experience. Trust is essentially about inferring future behaviour or events despite incomplete information. Most people have already taken this step with e-commerce and, according to many experts, will soon take this step with autonomous cars. 9
  11. 11. 10 odicals and statistical databases. How’s Life in Your Region? MEASURING REGIONAL AND LOCAL WELL-BEING FOR POLICY MAKING FOR POLICY MAKING s that influence people’s well-being vices, pollution and public safety. ple live and work can have a greater egions, by looking at some of g, education, health, access to he disparities in material conditions han they are across different y a better air quality than fifteen egions in terms of many well-being egional level and guidance for all at the specific needs of different OECD regions and cities. compare performance across nd cities vailable on line) How’sLifeinYourRegion?MEASURINGREGIONALANDLOCALWELL-BEINGFORPOLICYMAKING 8-92-64-21121-6 04 2014 03 1 P 9HSTCQE*cbbcbg+ Open Government The GlObal COnTexT and The Way FOrWard OpenGovernmentTheGlObalCOnTexTandTheWayFOrWard RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL ON BUDGETARY GOVERNANCE Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate Consult this publication on line at http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264249455-en. This work is published on the OECD iLibrary, which gathers all OECD books, periodicals and statistical databases. Visit www.oecd-ilibrary.org for more information. OECD Public Governance Reviews Financing Democracy FunDinG OF POlitiCal PaRtiEs anD ElECtiOn CamPaiGns anD thE Risk OF POliCy CaPtuRE OECD Public Governance Reviews Financing Democracy FunDinG OF POlitiCal PaRtiEs anD ElECtiOn CamPaiGns anD thE Risk OF POliCy CaPtuRE Contents Part I. Funding of political parties and election campaigns, risks of policy capture and policy options Chapter 1. Addressing the risks of policy capture Chapter 2. Promoting a level playing field through balanced funding Chapter 3. Increasing transparency and accountability through disclosure of political party and election-campaign funding Chapter 4. Fostering a culture of integrity among political parties, public officials and donors Chapter 5. Ensuring compliance with political finance regulations Part II. Country case studies Chapter 6. Canada Chapter 7. Chile Chapter 8. Estonia Chapter 9. France Chapter 10. Korea Chapter 11. Mexico Chapter 12. United Kingdom Chapter 13. Brazil Chapter 14. India isbn 978-92-64-24944-8 42 2015 26 1 P FinancingDemocracyOECDPublicGovernanceReviews Consult this publication on line at http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264255388-en. This work is published on the OECD iLibrary, which gathers all OECD books, periodicals and statistical databases. Visit www.oecd-ilibrary.org for more information. ISBN 978-92-64-25537-1 42 2016 12 1 P The Governance of Regulators Governance of Regulators’ Practices ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND CO-ORDINATION Good regulatory outcomes depend on more than well-designed rules and regulations. They also require bodies to administer these rules to ensure that the right policy outcomes are realised. Regulators are at the delivery end of the policy cycle, where they oversee sectors and markets that provide essential services to citizens. The governance of regulators helps ensure that regulatory decisions are made on an objective, impartial and consistent basis, without conflict of interest, bias or improper influence. This series brings together research and recommendations on what makes “world class regulators”, drawing on the experiences of more than 70 regulators from network sectors, including energy, communications, transport and water. http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/ner.htm Contents Chapter 1. The governance of regulators: overview and trends Chapter 2. Regulators’ practices Chapter 3. Australian Energy Regulator and Australian Competition Consumer Commission’s Telecommunications Regulation Chapter 4. Portugal’s Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority Chapter 5. The UK Office of Rail and Road Chapter 6. Mexico’s key sector and regulatory reforms GovernanceofRegulators’PracticesACCOUNTABILITY,TRANSPARENCYANDCO-ORDINATION The Governance of Regulators Governance of Regulators’ Practices ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND CO-ORDINATION Further reading OECD Guidelines on the Measurement of Trust OECD is preparing a set of OECD Guidelines on the Measurement of Trust. These Guidelines are modelled on the OECD Guidelines on Measuring Subjective Well-Being released in March 2013, and aim both to fill gaps in the available statistical data for measuring well-being in OECD countries and to support and to complement the analysis of what drives trust. In addition, the Guidelines will provide advice for data users on methodological issues associated with the use of trust data. In particular, it is envisaged that work would include the development of a series of prototype question-modules that could be included in various types of household surveys.
  12. 12. For more information, contact: Trust and public policy: Andrew.Davies@oecd.org Public sector integrity: Janos.Bertok@oecd.org Open government: Alessandro.Bellantoni@oecd.org Access to justice: Tatyana.Teplova@oecd.org www.oecd.org/gov

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