The Six Trust Elements

Internationally there is a consensus 2 about the way organisations can build up the public's trust. Trust must be earned. It is quickly spent if an agency does not do a good job. Doing a good job means working professionally and with integrity. This behaviour must be institutionalised. Agencies must want integrity and explicitly state that integrity is a priority.

SSC promotes six trust elements that are necessary to achieve this 3 :

1. Agencies have standards of integrity and conduct.

2. Agencies promote the standards of integrity and conduct.

3. The standards of integrity and conduct are integrated into the behaviour of State servants.

4. Managers model the standards of integrity and conduct in their behaviour.

5. Consequences for behaviour that breaches the standards of integrity and conduct are known by State servants.

6. Agencies act decisively when breaches occur.

The Survey measures the trustworthiness of State servants.

SSC also conducts the Kiwis Count survey, which measures the public's levels of trust and satisfaction with agencies delivering public services. Kiwis Count responses from late 2009 showed higher levels of public trust in agencies delivering public services than in 2007.

The Auditor General is using data gathered by the Survey to measure achievement in building trust in the public sector 4 .

2 Trust in Government - Ethics Measures in OECD Countries, OECD 2000.

3 The six elements are drawn from Stuart C Gilman and Jeffrey Stout, Assessment Strategies and Practices for Integrity and Anti-Corruption Measures, Comparative Overview, OECD 2005,

4 Controller and Auditor General, Annual Plan 2009/2010,

Last modified: