Europe: Spotlight on Trust

The Rand Europe Spotlight on 2013 is a bit broad, bit the theme, “Building Trust in Policymaking,” is certainly relevant to civic engagement:

The relationship between citizens and public bodies relies on trust: we trust them to make good decisions on our behalf and implement them well. But public faith has been severely shaken in recent years. A global barometer of trust in institutions found that only 48 percent of people trust governments to do what is right, and that only 16 percent trust them a great deal…

The projects featured this year highlight three different ways in which policymakers can gain trust:

  • Working across boundaries to anticipate new strategic challenges.
  • Using robust methodologies to ensure that policy is grounded in sound evidence.
  • Providing effective, adaptive local delivery. (3)

 Two sections are especially relevant to public servants in local government. One is “Grounding Policy in Evidence”: 

Tight budgets, rising expectations and greater focus on accountability all add to the pressure on policymakers to show that their decisions are informed by sound evidence – whilst also addressing local needs, values and agendas.

But what constitutes evidence? While the tide of information increases daily, public [skepticism] of official figures is also high. Timeliness, relevance and data integrity are essential to build trust and refute the old charge of: ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics.’ (15)

The other is “Earning Trust at Delivery”: 

At an individual or community level, all policy is personal. Whether policies are delivered directly by central government or local authorities, or through private or third-sector providers, good relationships are essential. Trust is created by getting the details right for successful local implementation. (23)

You can download the ebook at the Rand website here.

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