(2003), "UK. Research report on trust in public bodies", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 16 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2003.06216fab.004Download as .RIS
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UK. Research report on trust in public bodies
Research report on trust in public bodies
Keywords: Trust in organisations, Survey, Audit Commission
Research by MORI for the Audit Commission shows that staff providing public services are in general, trusted highly, but people are less trusting of the organisations they work for and this trust is declining.
The MORI research was carried out to inform the commission's wider work on corporate governance and involved a survey carried out among a representative quota sample of 1,708 adults aged 15 years+, face-to-face and in-home across 192 sampling points in Great Britain between 6-12 March 2003.
Trust in public organisations is driven by two major factors: the quality of service people receive, and whether they think organisations are honest and competent. Trust is increased when staff treat people well, when friends and family say positive things and when public organisations are seen to keep promises and learn from their mistakes. Trust is lost when the public believes they have poor quality leaders and managers, and when the organisation is not interested in people's views.
Across all sectors, people are generally positive about the quality of local services. Around 70 per cent of people rated the quality of service from local NHS hospitals as "good" and only 14 per cent said it was "poor". Police services were rated "good" by 60 per cent and "poor" by 15 per cent, and local authorities were rated as "good" by 40 per cent, and "poor" by 30 per cent of people. When asked how much they trust public agencies, NHS hospitals get the highest rating with 79 per cent trusting hospitals either "a great deal" or "a fair amount", compared to 74 per cent for police and 48 per cent for councils. People are divided on whether they trust councils: 48 per cent said they did not trust them very much or at all, compared to 24 per cent for police and 18 per cent for hospitals. Local hospitals get very positive ratings on the way staff treat people, and are seen as more likely than other agencies to be interested in the public's views. They are also seen as the most willing to learn from mistakes.
People are generally critical of the level of information provided by the public sector, the quality of leadership and management and public bodies' openness when they have made mistakes. There is also low public awareness of the role of watchdogs and regulators, such as the Audit Commission which commissioned the research.
Audit Commission Chairman James Strachan said: "Here is a clear challenge to public bodies to be seen as open, honest and willing to change. There is also a challenge to watchdogs and regulators. Strategic Regulation focuses on those areas of public service where the need for improvement is greatest. It also needs to find new and better ways of communicating with the public. This is increasingly critical with the public becoming less inclined to accept Government and public bodies' own reporting. Frank, independent reporting will be essential to measure both the capacity and the success of all the new organisations and public private partnerships now being created by Government."
Further information: The full report, Trust in Public Institutions and a briefing about it, Trust Briefing, can both be downloaded in pdf format from the Audit Commission Web site at: www.audit-commission.gov.uk/