NGOs not immune from declining trust in UK institutions

Written by Matt Ritchie

Trust in non-governmental organisations has fallen in the UK alongside a growing global mistrust of society’s major institutions, according to new research.

PR firm Edelman’s annual global trust barometer found trust in NGOs had fallen 4 per cent to 46 per cent in the UK. Trust in the media fell 4 points to 32 per cent, while trust in government remained unchanged at 36 per cent. Trust in business fell one point to 45 per cent.

NGOs remained trusted worldwide, with 53 per cent of respondents trusting these organisations to do what is right. However, this score had fallen from 55 per cent the previous year, and trust in NGOs declined in 21 countries.

The Trust Barometer, which surveyed more than 33,000 in 28 countries in October and November last year, found global trust in all institutions declined.

Business remained net positive at 52 per cent. The media and government were distrusted overall on 43 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. Trust in the media fell the most with a 5 per cent drop.

The study found 53 per cent of respondents believed the current overall system has failed them —believing it is unfair and offers little hope for the future. Just 15 per cent felt the system is working, and around one-third were uncertain.

The gap between the trust held by the “informed public” – affluent university educated people aged 25 to 64 who consume large amounts of media – and that of the mass population has widened to 15 points. The biggest disparities were in the US at 21 points, the UK at 19 points, and France at 18 points.

The mass population in 20 countries distrusts their institutions, while institutions are mistrusted by the informed public in just six countries.

“The implications of the global trust crisis are deep and wide-ranging,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman. “It began with the great recession of 2008, but like the second and third waves of a tsunami, globalisation and technological change have further weakened people’s trust in global institutions. The consequence is virulent populism and nationalism as the mass population has taken control away from the elites.”

Access the survey results here.

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