Trust in government up 15 points to 35pc – Edelman survey

Overall trust in government in Ireland has risen 15 points to 35pc over the last year, while trust in banks has risen by three points to 9pc, according to the Irish findings of the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer.

The survey of trust in institutions across 25 countries and 30,000 people reveals that globally, trust in government now stands at 43pc, down 9pcc. This is the largest global fall in government in 12 years.

Overall levels of trust in Ireland improved very marginally over the past 12 months, rising two points to 41pc. While Ireland was previously the least trusting country globally, trust is now lower in Germany, Spain, Japan and Russia.  At 32pc, Russia is the least trusting country in the survey.

The survey finds that seven in ten Irish people don’t trust government leaders to tell them the truth. Some 65pc of people in Ireland think that the country is on the wrong track. Twelve percent believe government is effectively managing the economy; 10pc believe it is listening to citizens’ needs and feedback; and 14pc believe it is delivering national training programmes that will deliver jobs. Just 3pc believe government should provide money to business when it experiences a financial crisis.

Trust in business in Ireland fell by three points from 46pc last year to 43 percent this year, while globally there was a three points decline to 53pc. The energy industry experienced a sharp decline in trust, dropping from fourth to eighth most trusted, while the brewing and spirits industry rose from eighth position to fourth overall. Trust in the banking sector rose by three points to 9pc, but it still the lowest global trust level in any industry.

The majority of Irish respondents (74pc) said they believe it is important for companies to be involved in tackling social and environmental problems.

Businesses are seen to not be meeting public expectations across the EU. Twenty-seven percent believe that businesses listen to customer needs and feedback, while only 20pc said the treat employees well.  Nineteen percent believe businesses communicate frequently and honestly, 20pc feel they have ethical business practices and 19pc believe businesses create programmes that positively impact the local community.

CEO credibility in Ireland increased 1pc to 33pc but still lags the global average of 38pc.

Trust in media dropped three points to 35pc, despite a global trend that showed an overall increase in trust in media, from 49pc in 2011 to 52pc in 2012. Traditional news sources (newspapers, TV, radio), as well as online search engines, are the most trusted sources of information, while content-sharing sites and social networking sites are the least trusted sources of information. The survey also finds that 64pc of people in Ireland need to hear something between three and five times before they will believe it.

Globally, trust in NGOs is down three points to 58pc, but this is still the most trusted of institutions. In Ireland, 53pc of respondents trust NGOs.

Mark Cahalane, managing director of Edelman Ireland said trust in Ireland is at a critical inflection point.  “Citizens seek leadership, clarity and solutions and don’t believe any institution is delivering on these expectations.  The clear message for government is that it is perceived not to be getting its message through or listening.

“The big message for business is to generate trust by moving beyond a purely operational focus to engage with society and deliver solutions which benefit all stakeholders.”