Strengthen citizens’ trust in public administration

To improve public administration´s image, it is important to rebuild the trust in it. The citizens’ cooperation seems essential to achieve public purposes. The lack of trust can make the formulation and implementation of policies more difficult or even impossible. Relevant factors that influence citizens’ trust is the administrations´ integrity, as well as its performance. Transparency and public participation can be helpful possibilities to increase the trust in government and administration.[1][2][3]

The need has not been validated in the qualitative interviews, but seems to have relevance for the public sector due to the findings of the desk research. This need is a key in the policy formulation phase, because only with the trust of the population, problems can be understood consequently right and the necessary policies can be developed.


[1] Grimmelikhuijsen, S., Porumbescu, G., Hong, B., Im, T. (2013), The Effect of Transparency on Trust in Government: A Cross-National Comparative Experiment, Public Administration Review, 73(4), 575-586,
[2] Wang, X., Van Wart, M. (2007), When Public Participation in Administration Leads to Trust: An Empirical Assessment of Managers´ Perceptions, Public Administration Review, 67(2), 265-278,
[3] Olabe, P. B. (2017), Responding to citizen´s need: Public services and trust, in: OECD, Trust and Public Policy. How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust, OECD Publishing, Paris, 47-65,
Type of content: Needs
Type of need: Strategical need
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Trust in government can increase also thanks to co-creation especially if the citizens perceive that their contribution and feedback has been taken into account. In that respect, it is crucial to inform the citizens ex post on how the insights they provided have been used.

Trust is a two way street. When mid-level governance suggests ways to increase trust of citizens towards the top-level government it usually does so by suggesting ways to give the impression of transparency and the involvement of the citizens in public deliberation and policy making. Most of these efforts become quickly devaluated, because they have no impact in actual governance. They only act as pacifiers or scream rooms, where no one is actually listening. 

When talking about trust, building it should start from top-governance by allowing better control of the policy making process by the citizens, and since governments wouldn't want this, it's citizens who are able to demand it, through their vote. Middle management doesn't have the power to enforce it. How educating citizens on what to demand from their governments can be done is the real question that needs to be asked, especially when governments would rather restrict it.

The educational aspect must be concidered in questions of trust and societal or political interaction. Thank you for your impulse.

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