Quote of the week
“In countries most hit by the crisis, the people have lost trust in their institutions to actually help them and solve their problems.”
— Martine Durand, OECD
It should come as no surprise that citizens who suffered the most in the 2008 financial crisis have a diminished faith in government. With that goes a growing lack of political engagement, according to a recent OECD report.
Mind you, you don’t need to be a citizen of Greece to feel badly toward the public sector. The report notes that in the United States the percentage of people who trust the federal government went down from 50% in 2009 to 35% in 2012.
In Canada, Elections Canada tells us that voter turnout is declining and other organizations report that civic engagement – people’s involvement in the political process – is down, too.
All this suggesting that, for government, there is a crisis of credibility and relevance.
It would be easy to blame it all on the political class, and who can deny they need to take some blame for encouraging cynicism in our political process; read Susan Delacourt’s new book, Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them.
As public servants, do we just shrug and turn away? The answer, I will suggest, is a definitive “No.” Although the final decision-making buck does not rest with us, we play critical roles in ensuring that the public interest is known and considered by decision-makers and in fostering – through collaboration – meaningful engagement with the Canadians who want to be consulted and involved in the issues of the day.
Both will build trust in government with citizens.
All this to say that the public service and public servants need to change in response to changing times.
CGE is hosting its annual Leadership Summit in February. It will look at how our public service is changing for the future and how we, as public servants, will need to change with it.
There will be an examination of the latest change initiative from the federal government, Blueprint 2020, and a look at how as public servants we can make sure at the end of the day the continued relevance and credibility of the public sector.
Find out more about the Summit and register at http://cgeleadershipsummit.ca/