Canada appoints partners to replace Phoenix pay system

The Canadian government has appointed three tech vendors to test the options for replacing its doomed Phoenix pay system. Last year, the Ottowa administration announced that it would scrap Phoenix and start again, after more than half of the federal government’s 290,000 public servants experienced pay problems. Now, following an agile procurement process, suppliers Ceridian, SAP, […]

UK unveils Technology Innovation Strategy

The UK government has published its Technology Innovation Strategy, which sets out how it will implement digital technology to improve service delivery. The Cabinet Office’s minister for implementation, Oliver Dowden, announced the national strategy last week, in a speech at the launch of London Tech Week. “The UK has led the world in harnessing technology […]

Canada pilots blockchain staff records

The Government of Canada (GC) is using blockchain technology to issue project-based employees with a kind of digital CV, providing “a permanent, self-owned and secure record of their skills and experiences.” Alex Benay, the country’s chief information officer, announced the project last week in a blog post, writing: “Proving yourself with paper or checking a […]

US consults on quantum computing strategy

The White House has launched a public consultation on its national quantum computing policy, which sets out an expectation that government agencies should create “detailed execution plans” to realise the potential of the emerging technology. The ‘National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science’ (QIS) was first published by the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee […]

Hong Kong launches innovation lab

A Smart Government Innovation Lab (Smart LAB) has been launched in Hong Kong, with the aim of supporting tech SMEs and start-ups to develop products that can help improve public services. IT firms will be able to pitch technologies such as big data analytics, blockchain and robotics to the Smart LAB – which is located […]

US House draft spending bill proposes 3.1% federal pay rise

The Trump administration’s plans for a 2020 federal pay freeze and the break-up of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) have been rejected in a draft funding bill released by the House on Sunday. Members of the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee proposed an average 3.1% pay rise for US federal civil servants […]

World’s first ‘wellbeing budget’ broadens focus from GDP

The New Zealand government announced details of their much-anticipated ’wellbeing budget’ last week, shifting the focus away from economic growth to include quality of life and public wellbeing. Rather than structuring the budget entirely around GDP and financial issues, the wellbeing budget also measures success against a set of human, social, natural and financial metrics, […]

New report calls for New Zealand AI watchdog

A new report has called for the creation of a regulatory body to oversee the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by the New Zealand government. Researchers from the University of Otago who worked on the Law Foundation’s ‘Artificial Intelligence and Law in New Zealand Project’ argue that a watchdog is required to protect the public […]

Australia announces new tech-driven agency to improve service delivery

The Australian prime minister has announced the creation of a new agency to improve service delivery and make dealing with government “much easier” through the use of technology. Prime minister Scott Morrison made the surprise announcement late last month, saying: “Today we’ll be establishing a new organisation called Services Australia, built on the Human Services […]

US forestry plans set to axe 1000 federal jobs

The Trump administration has announced plans to restructure its US Forest Service, potentially leading to the loss of more than 1000 federal posts. The Washington Post reported that it will be the largest layoff of civil servants in a decade. Under the plans, responsibility for the Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centres (CCCs) will be handed […]

CJEU case could require Spain to offer 650,000 staff permanent contracts

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) this month heard from lawyers representing public sector staff, in a case that could require Spain to bring hundreds of thousands of public sector staff onto its permanent employee payroll. Nearly one in four of Spain’s 2.6m public sector workers are employed on temporary contracts, but […]

Singapore tops AI readiness index

Singapore has been named as the country best prepared to realise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in public service delivery, topping the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index. The South-East Asian city-state pipped the UK, the previous year’s winner, in the index compiled by consultants Oxford Insights. Reviewing progress on public sector AI in […]

UK loosens rules on pay and bonuses – but with no new money

The UK government is set to ditch further aspects of its ‘forced distribution’ performance management framework – allowing more senior civil servants (SCS) to receive bonuses – and give departments the freedom to pay higher salaries for some specialist staff. But unions have pointed out that, with no new money on offer, the effect of […]

French and Canadians to launch global panel on ethical AI

A clutch of countries have expressed formal interest in joining an international panel to foster international collaboration on the development of artificial intelligence (AI), which is being set up by the Canadian and French governments. The two nations this week launched a draft declaration for the new International Panel on Artificial Intelligence (IPAI) for discussion, […]

Controversial “fake news” law passed in Singapore

Singapore’s parliament has passed legislation aimed at halting the spread of fake news, after the government said the country could be vulnerable to the spread of disinformation online. The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) requires online media platforms to correct or remove information the authorities deem to be untrue. The managers of […]

UK ID system “not fit for purpose”, says select committee

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has failed to meet all of its original performance targets for its flagship ID verification system, the UK House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found. A damning report released by the committee of MPs last week said the system – designed to provide a single login for digital […]

Cyber espionage “rampant”, US investigation finds

Cyber espionage against governments around the world is growing year-on-year, “with state-affiliated actors accounting for 79 percent of all breaches involving external actors”, according to the 12th edition of the Verizon Data Breach Investigations report, which was released last week. The communications technology company examined data from 73 sources in the public and private sectors, […]

Ghana launches Africa’s first national e-procurement system

Public sector e-procurement is gathering momentum in West Africa, with Ghana in April becoming the first country in the region to establish a national system. The initiative, funded by the World Bank at a cost of US$5m, aims to reduce corruption by cutting the amount of direct human contact involved in tenders, reducing middlemen, and […]

Irish civil service union calls for cut in working hours

The Irish government’s failure to cut the working hours of more junior civil servants has created “a two-tier public service”, the incoming head of the country’s largest public sector union has warned. In 2013, lower and middle earners agreed to work an extra 2.25 hours a week under the Haddington Road Agreement, in order to […]

New Zealand launches ‘digital inclusion’ blueprint

The New Zealand government has published guidelines aimed at tackling ‘digital exclusion’ and ensuring that everyone can “participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the digital world.” Launching the ‘Digital Inclusion Blueprint’, minister for research, science and innovation Megan Woods said: “In a world where the internet impacts more and more of our lives, it’s […]