Former world leaders call for G20 to coordinate corona response

In an open letter to G20 leaders, 92 former presidents and prime ministers have urged coordinated global leadership in the fight against coronavirus. “We are writing to call for immediate internationally coordinated action – within the next few days – to address our deepening global health and economic crises caused by COVID-19,” the letter, published on 6 April, […]

Trump fires inspector general who alerted Congress to Ukraine scandal

In a controversial move, president Trump has fired the inspector general who alerted Congress to security service concerns over his conversation with the Ukrainian president, sparking the bid to impeach Trump. At the same time, the president announced his nominee for the newly-created role of special inspector general for pandemic recovery at the Treasury. Michael […]

India launches apps to track corona cases and tackle misinformation

The Indian government has launched a coronavirus tracking app, two weeks after it created a WhatsApp chatbot – designed to provide citizens with information about the pandemic – which has so far been used by 20 million people. The new tracking app, called Aarogya Setu – which translates as ‘a bridge of health’ – has […]

Oxford University launches global corona policy tracker

The University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government has created a tool that tracks and compares government policy responses to the coronavirus crisis worldwide.    The aim of the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) is to help researchers, decision-makers and citizens explore how governments are responding to the crisis, understand the factors behind different […]

NHS commissions ‘big data’ platform to tackle corona

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is to launch a digital platform using big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud computing to help in the fight against coronavirus, enlisting tech giants including Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. The project aims to gather, process and analyse data from a range of sources, providing government and health […]

Australian Public Service swings behind working from home amid redeployment drive

The Australian Public Service (APS) is to begin a “deliberate and phased” approach to working from home, public service commissioner Peter Woolcott said on Tuesday. The move follows reports of anxiety among public servants who are still working in government offices, despite prime minister Scott Morrison encouraging people to avoid the coronavirus by working from […]

Federal bodies win $340bn in US corona stimulus package

President Trump has signed into law a $2.2 trillion (€2 trillion) stimulus package aimed at propping up the US economy amid the coronavirus crisis. The unprecedented cash injection includes $340bn (€310bn) in emergency spending for government agencies, though various attempts by Democrats to add additional protections for federal employees were knocked back. The package was […]

Redeploy civil servants to trace coronavirus cases, says former UK health secretary

The UK’s former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has said that civil servants should be redeployed to carry out ‘contact tracing’ in a bid to find and isolate people with coronavirus before they transmit the infection to others. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Hunt – who was the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care […]

New UK Cabinet Office chief revealed

Alex Chisholm, permanent secretary at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is to replace Sir John Manzoni as UK Cabinet Office permanent secretary. But in an apparent downgrading of the post, Chisholm will not also take on Manzoni’s title of chief executive of the civil service – instead having the role of […]

Governments turn to AI in fight against coronavirus

Countries around the world – including the US, South Korea and Taiwan – are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The technology is being used to speed up the development of testing kits and treatments, to track the spread of the virus, and to provide citizens with real-time information.   […]

Ex-UK PM Gordon Brown calls for global government to tackle coronavirus pandemic

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has urged world leaders to create a temporary form of global government to deal with the coronavirus crisis.   Brown said the proposed global taskforce should oversee and support the development of a vaccine and the production and distribution of medical equipment, and help to deal with the economic fallout […]

White House requests $46bn emergency funding package for federal agencies

The White House has requested US$46bn (€43bn) in emergency funding for federal agencies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. If approved, most of the funding would go towards medical treatment and vaccine development, additional staff costs, boosting IT capacity to enable government employees to work remotely, and repatriating staff stationed overseas. The request was made […]

Australian leaders link corona response to civil service reform

Two of Australia’s most senior civil servants have praised officials for their dedication to service delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, and reminded employees that the need for agility underpins the ambitious Australian Public Service (APS) reform agenda. The news comes as the government unveiled its second stimulus package, worth AUS$66bn (US$39bn), as part of which […]

US federal workforce HR chief quits after six months

The director of the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Dale Cabaniss, resigned unexpectedly on Tuesday evening just six months after taking up the role. It is understood her decision to quit, effective immediately, is a result of frustration at interference from the White House. Her predecessor Jeff Pon resigned after seven months.     According […]

Inquiry pulls out lessons from Northern Ireland’s energy scheme scandal

Northern Ireland’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme – whose botched handling led to the three-year collapse of the region’s administration – was a “project too far” for the NI Executive and “should never have been adopted”, according to an independent inquiry. The inquiry, which was established in 2017, ruled out corrupt or malicious activity as […]

US agencies urged to expand telework as corona spreads

The White House has recommended that federal agencies allow more employees to work remotely, in a bid to mitigate the risks posed by the coronavirus, COVID-19.   In a memo published on 12 March, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Russel T. Vought encouraged all federal executive branch departments and agencies to “maximise telework […]

UK’s “bungled” Universal Credit benefit system must be improved, report says

The UK’s much-criticised Universal Credit social security system is too far advanced to be scrapped, and could be much improved by introducing a ‘welcome grant’ to lessen the impact of late payments and writing off benefit debt, according to a new report. The report, Universal Credit – Getting it to work better, by London-based think tank […]

US government urged to protect feds from coronavirus as Trump response comes under fire

US agencies are scrambling to introduce measures protecting federal government workers from exposure to coronavirus, as president Trump faces mounting criticism for his response to the outbreak.  The Office for Personnel Management (OPM) – the government’s central HR office – published updated guidelines for agency leaders on Saturday. The OPM’s move comes after Democratic senators […]

Canada tops civil service gender parity rankings, while USA slips down

Canada has topped a league table ranking G20 countries by the proportion of women amongst their senior civil servants, with a 48.1% figure putting it 1.8 points ahead of second-placed Australia. The UK comes third, with 44.7% representation, followed by South Africa and Brazil respectively. The figures were published today in Global Government Forum’s Women Leaders Index: […]

Estonian citizens to access public services through virtual assistants

The Estonian government is working on a project that will enable citizens to interact with government departments and access services via virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri. The aim is to allow people to undertake tasks such as applying for a new passport or registering a birth simply by making a voice request through […]