Findings of the Opinion Poll "Trust in Governance 2016" presented in Tirana

Feb 9, 2017

Findings of the Survey being presented

The Institute for Democracy and Mediation presented today the findings of the Opinion Poll “Trust in Governance 2016” conducted during 12- 24 December 2016 across 61 municipalities of Albania. The Public Opinion Poll explores levels of public trust towards government institutions as well as citizens’ attitudes towards the performance of public institutions and service delivery. This Opinion Poll is conducted for the 4th consecutive year (2013-2016) based on a similar methodology, instrument and national coverage of 1647 surveyed citizens. This Opinion Poll is financially supported by the United Nations Development Programme in Albania.

Findings of the Opinion Poll show a relatively low level of trust towards public institutions, whereby only five out of thirteen (5/13) domestic institutions enjoy more than 50% of public trust. In an aggregate level, surveyed citizens are more trusting towards the Police (61%), Education system (59%), Religious Institutions (58%), Media (58%) and Armed Forces (55%).

The analysis reveals that over the past 4 years, that there has been an overall upward trend among the Albanian public regarding the extent to which they trust public institutions, notwithstanding the fact that administrative institutions are more trusted than representative ones.

74% of surveyed citizens assess television as their most used medium. 35% of surveyed citizens do not think that the information provided by media is accurate and truthful.

Those surveyed  rank the Judicial system as the most corrupt institution for 2016 (34% of respondents), followed by the Central Government ( 28% ) and by the Parliament (15%).

Concerning Justice Reform the public expressed hope in its potential, but concern about implementation. Even though 71% of surveyed citizens believe that if implemented accordingly, the Justice Reform will have a positive impact, only 46% believe it will be implemented correctly.

The UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Albania Mr. Brian J. Williams said: ”This year, the survey gives grounds for optimism, but also for concern.  Overall, trust in Albanian institutions is low. For half of the twelve selected public institutions, trust remains below 50%. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that, despite the low levels, the trend is for trust to be slowly increasing. For example, survey respondents reported encountering corruption less often than before.  Only 10% reported to have personally witnessed corruption at central government level, and 15% at the local level, compared to last year where these levels were respectively 34% and 41%. And in the area of judicial reform, great expectations for change have been raised with last year’s events, whereby 71% of the respondents believe that the reform has the potential for positive change, if implemented correctly”.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania Romana Vlahutin said :"71% of citizens believe that, if implemented properly, Justice Reform will have a positive impact. This is a great sign that citizens do understand what the reform is about and how it should make the quality of their life better. However, numbers also show that people are still very careful and waiting to see if they will be proven wrong in their fears that change is possible. 46% believe that Justice Reform will be implemented properly, while 42% think it will not… I understand the fear, and I understand the scepticism… But there is no place for fear, and there is certainly no chance to intimidate anyone who believes in the need that the people of Albania get the justice system and democracy they are entitled to”.

Experts at the launching event commented on the findings of the Opinion Poll, touching upon the main political, economic and social developments in the country and providing the necessary context for the audience to understand Opinion Poll findings. Discussions also focused on the trends of trust in public institutions in the last years, the establishment of the necessary mechanisms to strengthen the relationship between the government and citizens as well as the need to properly address the issue of corruption at all levels of society.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

TRUST PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS:

•    Religious Institutions enjoy the highest trust rating among domestic public institutions under the scale category “I have great trust”. 22% of surveyed citizens’ state that they have great trust at Religious Institutions. However, in an aggregate level (“I have great trust” or “Basically I trust”), surveyed citizens are more trusting of the Police (61%), Education system (59%), Religious Institutions (58%), Media (58%) and Armed Forces (55%).

•    44% of surveyed Albanians trust the Central Government, in comparison to 49% that trust their Local Government.
 
•    The Judiciary system (23%) and the Political Parties (23%) are the least trusted institutions in Albania. Parliament (27%) ranks as the third least trusted institution.
•    Even though 71% of surveyed citizens believe that if implemented accordingly, the Justice Reform will have a positive impact, just 46% of citizens believe that the Justice Reform will be implemented correctly in comparison to 42% who do not hold the same opinion.

•    35% of surveyed citizens do not think that the information provided by media is accurate and truthful. 74% of surveyed citizens assess television as their most used medium.

•    Supranational institutions/organizations such as EU (80%), NATO (79%) and UN (79%) continue to rank as the most trusted institutions in Albania, enjoying the trust of roughly 4 in 5 surveyed Albanians. These institutions also enjoy the greatest proportion of citizens expressing great trust (in a range of 34-36%).

TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY:

•    The view that the central government is transparent is held by 39% of surveyed citizens as compared to 61% of them who do not agree with this statement. At the level of the local government, 43% of respondents believe that their Municipality is transparent.
•    36% of surveyed citizens perceive the government to be accountable for its actions, against 64% of respondents who disagree. At the level of local government, 33% of respondents believe their Municipality is accountable.
•    63% of surveyed citizens believe that the State Audit Office holds the central government into account.

 

CORRUPTION IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS:

•    The Judiciary system is ranked by the surveyed citizens (34%) as the most corrupted institution for 2016. The central government ranks second (28%) followed by the Parliament (15%).
•    For 2016, 26% of surveyed citizens declared to have paid a bribe to public officials at central level as compared to 29% of citizens at the local government. Asked on the reasons, 58% of them declared to have been explicitly asked by government authorities, 20% gave the bribe as a gratitude for the received service, whilst 22% as an incentive in order to receive better services in the future.

CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT:

•    79% of surveyed citizens perceive not having sufficient opportunities to participate in decision-making/consultation processes with institutions at central level, as compared to 67% at the local level.
•    7% of surveyed citizens and the central level and 19% at the local level have been invited to participate in consultation processes during 2016.
•    For 2016, 22% have attended a demonstration/rally or signed a petition.
•    77% of the respondents declare willingness to engage in voluntary work for the benefit of the community.

SATISFACTION WITH PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY:

•    Citizens are mostly satisfied with the supply of drinking water (72%), police services (66%) and cleaning services (offered at local level) (61%).
•    On the other side of the spectrum, more than half of the citizens are not satisfied with employment services (78%), with judiciary services (66%) and with social welfare services (60%).  
•    Only 28% of surveyed citizens trust that the institutions which offer public services pay attention and properly address the complaints coming from citizens, as compared with the majority (or 46%) who do not believe so.
•    42% of surveyed citizens are aware of the existence of a website of their respective municipalities. However, out of them, the majority or 59% do not use the webpage and only 34% of them are informed about electronic services provided by their municipalities.


GENDER AND SOCIAL INCLUSION:

•    48% of surveyed Albanians believe that there is equality between men and women in the Albanian society. This belief is shared by only 37% of the female population, as compared to 55% of the male population.
•    59% of surveyed citizens hold that men and women have the same access to public services. This belief is shared by only 55% of women, as compared to 63% of men.
•    As regards women in local decision-making, only 24% of the surveyed citizens claim to know that there are more women in their respective Municipal Councils, as compared to the majority of them (or 57%) who are not aware of the gender composition of their Municipal Councils.