Where do we start the conversation on trust?
We’ve written quite a lot about trust and e-government over the years. Where have we got to?
It’s clear that up to a certain – pretty senior – level this is a conversation that makes Whitehall uneasy. At the same time it is absolutely clear that among an enlightened few, including those advising the very top government the growing trust problem is recognised and people are sending out feelers to find new ways forward. What can we offer?
And I’ve been trying to word a reply that didn’t pollute his blog with a rant, because I do want to offer “some constructive, positive and practical suggestions” that don’t alienate anyone.
But – sadly – I’m finding it very difficult, if not impossible, so I’ll put some thoughts down here.
First, I can’t see how much more the public can offer – we need movement from those in power.
Second, it seems to me that those in power must stop playing at freedom and democracy and actually work at it. This means:
- genuinely listening to the people, instead of (for example) pretending to have consultations where the outcome has already been decided;
- building a genuine consensus, instead of only accepting that there is consensus when it agrees with your position;
- being open and accountable as much as the private sector at the very least, and hopefully much more so;
- respecting due process, the rule of law, our traditional liberties, our courts, and the laws you introduced that are of genuine value (eg FOIA, HRA);
- respecting (also) or at least not being arsey with those who give up their valuable time to offer well-intentioned and usually well-founded advice;
- and stop being so dishonest!