Committee on Standards in Public Life
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international comparisons of public attitudes to standards in public life

New research published today by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, shows that the UK’s long-term decline in public perceptions of standards in public life is part of a broader trend across Western democracies.

Building on the data collected from the Committee’s UK surveys of the last 10 years, the European Values Survey, the European Social Survey and the Eurobarometer, the research examines European citizens’ perceptions of the probity of public officials, along with their levels of trust and confidence in a range of public institutions. The research finds that British citizens’ assessments of standards in public life are not unusual and they are rarely the most cynical. In fact British citizens’ perceptions and experiences of corruption are lower than those in most other European countries.

Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord (Paul) Bew, said:

“In recognising that the UK is not alone, I hope that we can begin a more informed and reasonable debate about public attitudes and expectations of those in public office. It is clear that current events both in terms of national scandals and economic events and the response to them play a part in informing citizens’ views of standards, probity and trust. Public perceptions of standards in public life have political consequences. It is important that public authorities and office holders remain alert to the fundamental role that high ethical standards play in the healthy functioning of society.”

Download the research here

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