Policy theme: Public Trust Lab

As part of our 2018 policy themes, we are exploring the issues of trust.

Public trust in authority is at a low ebb. The banking crash of 2008, the MPs’ expenses scandal and a period of extended austerity in public services have all contributed to a loss of faith in institutions, public and private. At the same time, local authorities are increasingly asking communities to step up to take responsibility for public buildings and to deliver services.

We are setting up an ongoing Policy Lab to work with experts in this field and innovative councils to explore how this might affect the future of local government.

  • What is the future of the relationship between councils and their communities?
  • What helps to build trust between councils and their communities? Where are the examples of best practice?
  • How do we effectively measure trust? And what difference does it make?
  • How does a better risk management approach support new ways of working?
  • How does devolution help or hinder better public engagement?

Some of the areas of public trust we wish to explore include:

  • Trust and transparency: a look at transparent government and use of data.
  • Trust and risk: the communication and understanding of insurable and non-insurable risk and political decision making.
  • Trust and voice: how does engagement and influence in local decision-making influence outcomes?
  • Trust and civility: has political discourse become too nasty? How does that effect the relationship between citizen and state? How has radicalisation to anti-democratic movements affected the polity?
  • Trust and governance: the UK is one of the most centralised states in the Western world? Does central government trust local government to get on with the job?
  • Trust and confidence: does local government trust itself? Does local government trust officers, councillors, and citizen volunteers with enough autonomy to work together to achieve objectives?

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Our policy themes