Focus: Trust and Public Administration


Trust and Public Administration

Trust is considered as a crucial issue at all levels of governance.

An effective democratic society depends on the confidence citizens have in their government for designing and managing public policies and public sector (citizens/users trust) but also on the trust that civil servants have in the public sector reforms (inner trust, within the public sector).

During the recent decades, with the economic and other crises and with the current developments in the governance systems, we observed a decrease of the trust in governments and in public administration. The distrust is alarming and questions the models of governance, the democratic system and calls for innovations to improve the performance, efficiency and effectiveness in responding to the citizens’ needs and to the challenges of our society. Restoring trust requests several measures/actions to strengthen the different dimensions of good governance: transparency, accountability and openness – ethics …

Indeed, the loss of trust in governments and their administrations has led us to question the essential issue of trust or the interest the citizens /users have in the capacity of governments to implement effective public policies to address their needs and societal issues.

The current distrust has also led governments to revisit policies to increase the level of trust that institutions / governments benefit from the public. Transparency, communication tools, new modes of participatory decision-making process and public policies design and implementation, consultation with citizens and users, use of social media, governments have implemented a variety of tools aimed at halting the decline of trust: the legal framework to increase the participation, measures reinforcing the implication of the citizens, strategy and policies to strengthen the trust have been multiplied with a diverse degree of success in different political, democratic and cultural contexts.

We have to address several key questions:

  • Is trust really essential to good governance?
  • What leads people either to trust or to distrust government?
  • How to improve trust and confidence in the public sector?
  • How to reinforce the inner-trust and the confidence of civil servants in public sector reforms?
  • Trust/distrust and transparency? What are the relations between these elements of good governance?
  • Public Administration and political leadership: building the relationships that make government and governance work?
  • Trust and national/territorial and local governance: How to ensure trust at all levels of governance?

 This focus will highlight the different aspects if this crucial issue of TRUST

 The 2015 International Congress of IIAS will address the main theme: Trust in Public Administration