Enhancing Public Governance: An Agenda for 2021 and Beyond
The public’s trust in government has been declining for decades. Restoring Americans’ trust in democratic government will be a long-term effort. This paper, and a companion piece, offer an agenda to help change the way we govern and engage as citizens. We see this as foundational to longer-term efforts to restore trust in government that has been frayed by performance failures and can, at times, itself become a barrier to effective governance.
In addition to the long-term trend of declining trust in government, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted near-term weaknesses in our governance structure to work collaboratively across agencies, levels of government, and sectors of society. The literature shows that collaboration is founded, in part, on trust.The pandemic’s exposure of this weakness gives us further reason to try to reimagine the way the federal government and its partners can jointly address large-scale challenges.
One way to restore public trust would be to develop new, more effective governance approaches to the biggest and most complex problems facing our country and society.