Inside: Doing development differently, modal shifts, Henry the Eighth.  View this email in your browser

Trust me, I'm a policymaker

“Trust plays a very tangible role in the effectiveness of government” finds a new report for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Yet “public trust has been eroding just when policy makers need it most”. Why’s this?

  1. Weak economic growth across the global economy, affecting incomes, employment and inequality.
  2. Evidence of “weak respect” for the rule of law in the form of “corruption, tax evasion and regulatory capture."
  3. Lack of faith in the ability of government to manage global challenges including climate change, geopolitical tensions, migration, and terrorism.

Trust is a matter of both competence and values. It’s not assured solely if governments demonstrate capacity and judgement in delivering public goods. Instead, the authors assert that the “underlying intentions and principles” guiding government are just as important. So how can governments prove their intentions are good? The OECD point to four policy levers.

  1. Defining principles and adhering to them.
  2. Seizing the opportunity to demonstrate integrity, “such as large public infrastructure projects and major events.”
  3. Senior politicians leading by example.
  4. Setting out common standards and expected behaviours at all layers of government.

In the second category, the UK is singled out for praise for the organisation of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Spelling out policy objectives, consulting widely, and creating a standard code pre-empted risks to the procurement process. Instead of the mismanagement and occasional corruption that frequently derails such events, the games passed in a warm glow of medal victories and flying NHS beds. The National Audit Office congratulated the organisers and 69 per cent of respondents to a BBC/ComRes survey thought that public money had been spent wisely. As for leading by example, the OECD nod to the 2014 Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act - although its reception has been less universally positive than the Olympics, especially if you are a charity.

But trust is built and eroded day-by-day. As Paloma Baena Olabe writes, the literature suggests that “positive individual experiences of citizens with government agencies aggregate into a society in which government is respected as a competent and trustworthy ‘partner’ of citizens in their daily lives.”

Quick Reads

800-1,000 statutory instruments will be needed to ‘correct’ legislation carried into UK law via the Great Repeal Bill, according to the government’s white paper. Scrutinising it will either drain away valuable debating time in parliament, or exacerbate technical treatment of matters of policy. Hansard Society

No rulebook. What’s the road back to normal for central banks? Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum

Start small. In theory, more decentralisation means more policy innovation - as long as you have enough expertise to experiment. Democratic Audit

Climate control. Around four-fifths of the UK’s environmental protections are in EU law - can we set in place a long term plan for our own climate progress? Green Alliance

Standoff in Stormont. Is there a new role for Ireland in supporting a return to devolved government for Northern Ireland and avoiding direct rule from Westminster? Constitution Unit


51 per cent of people of colour born in the UK think the justice system is discriminatory, and that may be distorting judicial outcomes for them. Centre for Justice Innovation

Going it alone. Changes to provision and costs of family law mean a quarter of divorcing couples handle separation themselves - yet the forms are a maze, and some parts of the process are seen as “useless administration”. Citizens Advice

Front-loaded. Additional NHS funding in the 2015 Autumn Statement has largely been swallowed up by the cost of a growing population - providers’ finances have actually got worse. The Health Foundation

Modal shift. Private cars in London are leading to significant deaths from air pollution and economic costs from congestion. Are new models of shared transportation - plus the bus - the answer? Institute for Public Policy Research

Done differently. The UK’s Department for International Development has led the way to a more locally-focussed, iterative and concrete approach to development. But most of the innovation has happened in Nigeria, Nepal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. Why? Overseas Development Institute

See also

£350 million. Here are all the promises and predictions made by either side of the referendum campaign, usefully digitised by LSE Digital Library

Beta look. The UK Parliament takes the first step towards a new website. Parliamentary Digital Service

Think Tanks

Hive mind. An interactive game based on reaching the Sustainable Development Goals taught development buffs about policy tradeoffs. Overseas Development Institute

Where next? In developing countries, think tanks can support “politically smart” policy change - but they will need to “think systemically and act entrepreneurially” to break out of the constraints of the traditional model of influence carried over from the West. Royal Society for the Arts


Communications Manager. Demos. London. Salary not listed. Apply by 3 April.

Communications Officer (Press and Public Affairs). The Electoral Commission. London. £28k. Apply by 10 April.

Impact and Evaluation Analyst. Citizens Advice. London. £30+£4k Apply by 11 April.

Senior Policy Advisor. Committee on Standards in Public Life. London. £31-38k. Apply by 13 April.

Cities and Local Growth Unit Communications & Briefing Advisor. Department for Communities and Local Government. London. £32-36. Apply by 14 April.

Select Committee Media & Communications Officer. House of Commons. London. £30k. Apply by 17 April.

Operations Director. Centre for London. London. £40-50k. Apply by 18 April.

Senior Policy Adviser. The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed. London. £30k. Apply by 18 April.

Co-director. Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). Sheffield. Salary not listed. Apply by 20 April.

Senior Consultants. New Philanthropy Capital. London. £35-40k. Apply by 25 April.

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Compiled by Tom Jeffery
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