17 November 2013

The OECD Policy Forum on Restoring Trust in Government met on 14-15 November to explore measures to counter the declining public confidence which citizens have in their public administrations – including legislators, judges, police and civil servants.

The Forum was the occasion for launching the 2013 (3rd) edition of Government at a Glance.  This is a collation of statistics relating to good government measures across the OECD.  Previous editions have been among the most frequently sold and downloaded of all OECD materials.

This edition argues the need for governments to be more inclusive, transparent, receptive and efficient.  Among other things this needs trustworthy institutions which gain public trust because of the quality of the services they deliver and the openness and transparency of the way they operate.

The importance of trustworthiness of course is nothing new.  That is the characteristic which underpins the State Services Commissioner’s expectations of all who work in the State Services. Trustworthiness is something which we can all shape.  The only way we can influence the public trust in government is through the trustworthiness we exhibit.  The 2013 State Services integrity survey getting under way this week is a measure of the trustworthiness that State servants see in their agency and their colleagues.

The importance of trustworthiness was the theme of Dame Onora O’Neill’s TED talk earlier this year.

The indicators in Government at a Glance provide international comparisons and trends in eight broad areas: strategic governance; public finance, budgeting practices; public sector pay and employment; women in government; public procurement; open and inclusive government and quality and accessibility of public services.

The New Zealand statistics included in the report are generally among the OECD ‘leaders’.

Trust in Government is assessed as improving 2% since 2007 from 59% to 61% – (whereas the OECD average declined  5% over the last two years).

New Zealanders are 10% more satisfied with government  than the OECD average. Their confidence in government is 61% (whereas the OECD average is 40%).  The components are:

  •  Police 83% (OECD 72%),
  •  Education 71% (OECD 66%),
  •  Health care system 83% (OECD 71%)
  •  Justice system 58% (OECD 51%)