In all of those surveys over the years that have declared Danes among the happiest people on Earth, one thing that is frequently mentioned is a high level of trust in both fellow citizens and public institutions.
But a newly-released survey of over 9,000 Danes conducted by analysis firm RepTrak shows that Danes are much less trusting of institutions than they once were, and when it comes to some elements of the public sector, there is hardly any trust at all.
Danes are least fond of Immigration Services (Udlændingestyrelsen), which was the poorest-rated institution of the 40 covered by RepTrak. Danes also gave the thumbs-down to tax authority Skat, the Tax Ministry, the Employment Ministry and state-run transportation companies DSB and Banedanmark.
“Particularly those elements of the public sector that have a monopoly on the service they provide are poorly led and bad at reaching out to Danes,” marketing specialist Gunnar Ørskov told Politiken.
The institutions most trusted by Danes were the Danish Consumer Ombudsman (Forbrugerombudsmanden), the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman, the police and the court system.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the long list of food safety scandals that have been so prevalent over the past months, the Danish Food and Veterinary Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) was also among the top ten most trusted institutions.
Ørskov said that most trust issues can be attributed to poor leadership within the institutions.
“An organisation has the image it deserves. And if it’s bad, it is usually a leadership problem. The employees are walking showcases and if they feel poorly treated or that leadership doesn’t value their work, then they certainly aren’t out there telling good stories about their workplace,” he told Politiken.