Today, 13 July, the OECD presents the results of its first survey of the drivers of citizens’ trust in governments and public institutions. The event was opened by the Secretary-General of the OECD and the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, with a contribution by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mariana Vieira da Silva.

Covering 22 OECD countries and more than 50 thousand people, the survey sought to gauge the levels of citizens’ trust in governments and public institutions, and included questions on satisfaction with public services and evaluation of the Executive’s performance in key areas such as climate change, automation and digitalisation, among others.

As the national interlocutor with the OECD on issues of public governance, the Competence Centre for Planning, Policy and Foresight in Public Administration – PlanAPP has produced a report which organises the main results for Portugal within the framework of the countries participating in this survey.

Generally speaking, Portugal is in step with the other countries. The provision of public services is perceived positively and citizens’ satisfaction with the NHS and the education system is slightly higher than the average of the countries involved in the survey. In administrative services, the comparison with other countries is unfavourable.

The Police are the most trusted institution (Portugal: 71.8%; other countries: 67,1%) and political parties the least trustworthy (Portugal: 20,9%; other countries: 24,5%). Portuguese trust in the media is highlighted in a positive way (Portugal: 48,3%; other countries: 38,8%).

In comparison, however, the Portuguese have lower levels of trust in some public institutions, namely, Public Administration (Portugal: 54,2%; other countries: 63%) and, more markedly, the Courts (Portugal: 42,1%; other countries: 56,9%).

With regard to the drivers of trust in public governance, reliability is the value that gathers the most positive responses (Portugal: 53,9%; other countries: 47,7%) and integrity is the most negative aspect (Portugal: 29,6%; other countries: 37,6%), with politicians being the group with the most negative assessment. Only 27.0% of respondents consider it likely that politicians would refuse “revolving door” offers in exchange for political favours.

The Portuguese survey also included an exclusive set of questions suggested by PlanAPP on the importance of science in public policy decision-making in Portugal. The results show that citizens believe scientists should be heard more on issues such as climate change (64.8%), renewable energy (58.6%) and sustainable development (53.6%), while for the majority of respondents (52.2%) the degree of scientists’ involvement in policy making is low or non-existent.

Read PlanAPP’s report (document in Portuguese).

Watch, or watch again, the official presentation session of the OECD report Building Trust to Reinforce Democracy