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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.

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What drives public trust? Identifying the policy levers

This chapter presents a framework for understanding trust built around two fundamental building blocks: competency and values. A competent government provides accessible, efficient and citizen-oriented public services that effectively address the needs and expectations of people and evolve as those needs and expectations change. A competent government will also ensure a high degree of reliability and predictability, minimizing uncertainty in the economic, social and political environment of its citizens. A government is values-based when it promotes integrity through the alignment of public institutions with broader standards of conduct and undertakes to safeguard the public interest, mitigate corruption and strive to ensure fairness in both the processes and outcomes of public policy. A values-based government will also demonstrate a high degree of transparency and inclusiveness.

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