November 7, 2023  3:40 PM – 4:05 PM GMT+0
Inspiring & Interacting

Trust in government goes both ways

Governments operate from a place of mistrust. By default, we treat everyone we serve as if they are trying to defraud us, until they prove to us that they are “safe” by performing certain behaviours. Guilty until proven innocent. We make them jump through complicated hoops to access services that should be available to everyone. We are gatekeepers of so many things: They can’t get the money until they do the forms. They can’t access the information until they prove their identity. They can’t have the tax credit until they show the receipts.

What if we defaulted to trusting people? Maybe governments need to show trust to gain trust, because trust goes both ways. We can’t treat everyone like a fraudster and then be surprised when people turn against us.

As a long-time user researcher and service designer, Martha has learned a lot about people's perceptions of government and has some ideas on how we can move the dial on trust. It's not going to be easy or comfortable - it involves shifting power, taking risks and asking hard questions - but it could change everything.

Lead Service Designer
BC Public Service
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