Trust and Public Policy

How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust

image of Trust and Public Policy

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. Yet, public trust has been eroding just when policy makers need it most, given persistent unemployment, rising inequality and a variety of global pressures. This report examines the influence of trust on policy making and explores some of the steps governments can take to strengthen public trust.


Trust and access to justice

Justice is an area of public policy that exemplifies the need for a strong trust relationship between public institutions and citizens. This chapter looks at how trustworthiness is grounded in an understanding of users’ legal needs and how to respond to them 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 improve openness.


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