India considers non-personal data sharing regulation

India is considering taking steps to allow citizens and organisations to harness companies’ anonymised, non-personal data, after a committee recommended that such a move would boost domestic SMEs’ competitiveness and enhance government. The Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework was formed last September by the country’s IT Ministry and comprises experts from government, […]

New Zealand launches government algorithm standards

New Zealand has produced a set of standards designed to guide government use of algorithms and to improve data transparency and accountability, in what it claims is a world first.   The Algorithm charter for Aotearoa New Zealand, which was launched last week, aims to give citizens confidence that data is being used safely, responsibly […]

Four US State Department aides subpoenaed in investigation into watchdog firing

House Democrats have subpoenaed four senior aides to secretary of state Mike Pompeo, accusing them of stonewalling an investigation into president Trump’s firing of State Department inspector general Steve Linick. The House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the subpoenas to Brian Bulatao, the undersecretary of state for management, deputy assistant secretary of state Mike Miller, former […]

UK appoints head of merging foreign and aid departments

Sir Philip Barton has been appointed permanent under-secretary at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Barton will head up the new department, which is to be formed next month after prime minister Boris Johnson announced in June that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DfID) – which manages […]

Australia’s digital ID project delayed

The Australian government’s plan to integrate its myGovID digital identity with the myGov service platform has been delayed, after a trial uncovered usability concerns.  The digital ID will replace myGov’s existing two-factor authentication system, allowing citizens to verify their identity when applying for passports, driver’s licences, Medicare cards and other documents, as well as to […]

UK unions resist ‘back to work’ push

UK civil service unions are challenging the government’s policy of pulling home-working staff back into their offices, with leaders suggesting that it is more interested in restoring city centre economies than protecting employees’ health. Last week civil service chief operating office Alex Chisholm sent a letter to all permanent secretaries, calling for an “acceleration” back […]

Oxford University launches AI and good governance commission

The Oxford Internet Institute has launched a new commission to advise world leaders on effective ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in public administration. The Oxford Commission on AI and Good Governance (OxCAIGG) will bring together academics, technology experts and policymakers to analyse the AI implementation and procurement challenges faced by governments […]

OPM obstructive in politicised hiring probe, says investigator

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has repeatedly failed to comply with record requests during an investigation into the alleged politicisation of appointments, its inspector general has said. In a letter to legislators sent last week, acting OPM inspector general (OIG) Norbert Vint accused the OPM of “a pattern of delay and non-responsiveness”; having missed […]

Select committee ‘astonished’ by UK’s failure to plan for pandemic

The UK government failed to consider in advance how it might deal with the economic impacts of a pandemic, rushed its response to COVID-19, and must “ensure it doesn’t repeat the same mistakes” in the event of a second wave of infections, the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said. In its report, […]

New Zealand enshrines civil service principles in law

New Zealand has passed a new “citizen focused” public service legislation bill which aims to encourage collaborative working to help tackle the country’s most pressing challenges. Minister of state services Chris Hipkins said the new Public Service Act, which replaces the State Sector Act 1988, will deliver the most significant change in the public sector […]

UK’s Cabinet Office wins back government data brief after two-year hiatus

Responsibility for the UK government’s use of data has been moved back to the Cabinet Office from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday. In a written statement to Parliament on the last day before summer recess, Johnson wrote that the change, which is effective […]

Council of Europe starts work on legally-binding AI treaty

The Council of Europe is working on a future legal framework to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) across all 47 member states. The Council’s Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) held a three-day meeting on 6-8 July attended by around 150 international experts. The purpose of the meeting was to draw up […]

Trump nominates controversial new candidate to lead OPM

The White House has put forward a controversial new candidate to run the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees HR across the federal government. On Monday Trump formally announced his intention to nominate John Gibbs, a political appointee currently serving as acting assistant secretary for community planning and development at the Housing and Urban […]

COVID shines spotlight on how UK civil service must change, says Cabinet Office non-exec

The response to the COVID-19 crisis has shown some of the very best of the UK civil service but has also “highlighted some serious shortcomings and some real problems,” according to Baroness Simone Finn. Finn, who was appointed as one of four new non-executive directors to the UK Cabinet Office by minister for the Cabinet […]

COVID-19 and Brexit driving need for major civil service reform, says UK Cabinet Office perm sec

The combination of the pandemic, Brexit, ‘levelling up’, ‘net zero’ and other pressing agendas are driving a need for big reforms in the UK civil service, Cabinet Office permanent secretary Alex Chisholm told an online audience of civil servants today. Together, he said, they comprise “if not a burning platform, then certainly a very warm […]

Hong Kong officials to be required to swear pledge of allegiance

All civil servants in Hong Kong employed after 1 July will be required to make a declaration to uphold the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, following a meeting of the Legislative Council Panel on Public Service on Friday last week.  The report from the meeting […]

US lawmakers defend federal workers’ rights, but pay hike remains 1%

A House of Representatives panel moved to protect US federal employees from the Trump administration’s efforts to cut benefits and curb collective bargaining rights last week, but has not improved on the 1% pay rise proposed for 2021. The Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) subcommittee voted to recommend the appropriations bill legislation – which […]

Australia considers bar on offshoring of personal data

The Australian government is considering legislating to ensure that all sensitive government data is held in Australian data centres owned by domestic companies, minister for government services Stuart Robert said last week. Speaking at a National Press Club lunch, Roberts said that government is examining data sovereignty requirements and how to reassure the public that […]

EU and UK prepare for paperwork and delays on new Brexit border

The EU has published sector by sector guidance for businesses in both the UK and on the European mainland, detailing the changes that will be necessary when the Brexit ‘transition period’ comes to an end at the end of 2020. The document, which was published last week, came as the latest round of talks on […]

UK urged to create ‘net zero’ development bank

The UK government should create a ‘net zero’ development bank and pledge £5bn (US$6.3bn) to local energy projects, according to a new report backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The report comes from UK100 – a network of more than 100 local government leaders – and is sponsored by BEIS […]