Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development

Trust in Government - Reliability



Governments have an obligation to minimise uncertainty in the economic, social and political environment. The financial crisis and other recent disasters have raised questions over the level of citizens' trust in governments to protect them against natural disasters and economic crisis.

The crisis demonstrated that governments were ill-prepared in reacting to rapidly occurring and overlapping crises and not flexible enough to respond effectively. There was also a shortage of analytical data to guide them. Government action has been seen to be disjointed, lacking direction and the capacity to make sense of complex issues.

Reliable policymaking requires developing a long-term vision for the public sector. The vision includes strengthened planning functions and improvement of monitoring, including specialised evaluation units and more regular reporting by departments on progress in implementation.



Sound fiscal management is a key element in restoring trust. The budget is a central policy document of government, showing how it will achieve its annual objectives.  The budget is a contract between citizens and state, showing how resources are raised and allocated for the delivery of public services.  Such a document must be clear, transparent and credible if it is to command trust and to serve as a basis for accountability.

The Principles of Budgeting Governance can be used to guide and inform budgetary processes and reforms. countries that organise their budgetary affairs on the basis of these governance prinicples are best placed to meet citizens' expectations for sound, stable and effective public governance.  More information on budgeting and public expenditure.


One of the most important responsibilities of any government is to ensure the security and safety of its citizens and to protect the institutions that sustain confidence, good governance, and prosperity. Goverments must make pro-acive efforts to mitigate known risks and to prepare for the unknown.

The issue of how governments prepare for such events has broadened from a national or regional public policy concern to a global challenge. The concept of global shocks describe the cascading of risks in health, climate, social or financial systems that touch many countries simultaneously. The global interconnectedness of OECD and global partner economies could make these global shocks more likely to happen.

OECDs work on Risk management analyses the latest public policies, tools and practices of governments to address major risks. Through the sharing of country experiences, analyses are developed to draw-out criteria for the effective governance of large scale hazards and threats. More information on risk management.


Public investment shapes choices about where people live and work, influences the nature and location of private investment, and affects quality of life. Poor investment choices waste resources, erode public trust, and may hamper growth opportunities.

The OECD has developed 12
Principles for Effective Public Investment (pdf) to help governments at all levels assess the strengths and weaknesses of their public investment capacity, using a whole-of-government approach, and set priorities for improvement.



‌‌Trust: budgeting 80x80‌‌   The draft Principles give practical guidance for designing, implementing and improving budget systems to meet the challenges of the future. Read more


Trust: Investing together 80x80


Almost two-thirds of public investment is undertaken by sub-national governments and major projects often involve multiple government levels. Read more


Trust: risk management 80x80  

This report considers how the growing interconnectedness in the global economy could create the conditions for rapid and widespread disruptions. Read more


Trust: g20 framework 80x80  

A report to help finance ministries and other governmental authorities in developing more effective disaster risk management strategies. Read more