Salzburg Global and The Volcker Alliance Join Together to Host Session on Improving Governance

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Sep 18, 2013
by Louise Hallman
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Salzburg Global and The Volcker Alliance Join Together to Host Session on Improving Governance

Session ‘Restoring the Public's Trust: Delivering on Public Policy Goals’ starts this Sunday

Thomas Edison once said: “Vision without execution is hallucination.” For too long, governments across the world have lacked the “nuts and bolts” needed to execute their visions for good governance. Inefficient and ineffective policy delivery has fostered growing public distrust in government.

Democratic societies can only flourish if their citizens are fully engaged. Citizen engagement hinges on people’s trust and confidence in their governments and the institutions that administer public funds and implement policies.

Across the world we see signs of this confidence waning – from corrosive cynicism and low turnout at the ballot box, to peaceful demonstrations and bloody riots in the streets.

From a systems perspective, how far do these trends reflect the perception of poor execution of public policy – in areas such as financial regulation, education, health care, welfare, infrastructure, prevention of corruption – rather than ideological differences about priorities?  

The Volcker Alliance, founded in 2013 by former head of the Federal Reserve and former economic advisor to the Obama administration, Paul Volcker, seeks to rekindle the intellectual, practical, and academic interest in the implementation of policy – the “nuts and bolts” of governance – and ultimately serve as a catalyst for sustained government improvement.

Starting on Sunday, September 22, 2013, for four days at Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria, Salzburg Global Seminar and The Volcker Alliance will jointly convene an international gathering of top practitioners and thinkers to address fundamental challenges for governance now and in the next quarter century.

This program, entitled ‘Restoring the Public's Trust: Delivering on Public Policy Goals’, will combine in-depth presentations from experienced leaders, knowledge exchange between regions and practical case studies, and focus on searching for clear implementation strategies adapted to the central policy issues of the future.

Chaired by Volcker, who is returning to Salzburg Global for the fourth time having most recently chaired last August’s session on ‘Financial Regulation: Bridging Global Differences,’ the session will bring together a group of 41 specially selected politicians, senior public servants, researchers and academics, as well as representatives of the corporate and private sector, to look at how organizations like The Volcker Alliance can improve the effectiveness of public policy execution.

Participants will spend the three days identifying: the most pressing areas of need; the primary challenges to successful policy execution and trust; the most promising levers of change and priorities for investigation and cooperation.

Topics for discussion include:

State of the World, Government, and Governance

What can we learn from past government endeavors (in areas such as financial regulation, education, preventive public health, assistance, infrastructure, anti-corruption control, and others) about key factors influencing progress, problems, and trust?

Using Case Studies to Identify Factors Affecting Government Effectiveness and Trust

What are the most important management factors contributing to improvement and trust in government performance? What are the most important factors inhibiting improvement and trust? Which of those factors can be influenced by the Volcker Alliance and other interested organizations? Which are likely to have the highest payoff if influenced?

The Role of Research

How important is research for improving government effectiveness? How important is its translation and dissemination to practitioners? Are there gaps in current research methods and findings related to public management? What are the barriers to better public management research? Can government or private partners provide incentives or mechanisms to stimulate more useful research?

The Role of Education and Training

How important is better education and training to improving policy creation and execution? Are there gaps in the content or delivery of current courses of study related to public management that need attention? What should the curriculum look like for future policymakers and public managers? Are there shared areas of concern across countries that could form the basis for collaborative action?

Priority Levers of Change

What are key leverage points for improving the odds of government success in the next quarter-century? What actions can organizations outside of government take to improve and increase trust in government effectiveness?

Priorities for Initial Action and Foundation Building

Based on the levers of change identified as potential priorities in the prior session: what are the projects and/or action steps the Volcker Alliance and other organizations can take to make an impact in these areas? Are there actions that can produce “early wins”? How do we lay a foundation for systemic change, including framing and marketing the work and accomplishments? What steps can participants take to move this agenda forward?  

The Salzburg program will conclude on Tuesday, September 24.