Top officials gather to tackle shared challenges

By on 10/02/2017 | Updated on 24/09/2020
Mr Peter Ong, Head of Civil Service, Singapore, opening the Global Government Summit, Singapore 2017

Civil service leaders are gathering in Singapore today to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing governments around the world.

Hosted by the Singapore Civil Service and organised by Global Government Forum, the Global Government Summit begins on Friday evening with a presentation by former UK cabinet secretary Lord O’Donnell. The British peer’s talk will kick off a debate on the economic weaknesses currently destabilising societies and political systems in both industrialised and developing countries.

Some 11 countries are sending top officials to the Summit, including New Zealand head of state services Peter Hughes; Australian deputy secretary for governance Elizabeth Kelly; UK civil service chief executive John Manzoni; and deputy director-general Matthias Freundlieb of the German Chancellery.

The Summit is designed to permit open, frank conversations on some of the key problems and opportunities that governments are grappling with, and most of the content is provided by civil service delegates. Tomorrow’s schedule includes a session on social cohesion in diverse societies, led by Canadian deputy clerk of the Privy Council Serge Dupont and Singapore’s community relations and engagement director Lim Shung Yar; and presentations on achieving strategic coherence across government by Estonian state secretary Heiki Loot and Malaysian chief secretary to the government Dr Ali Hamsa.

Further sessions will cover how civil servants can help strengthen public trust in governments, and digital topics such as ‘big data’ and ‘government as a platform’. The group also includes delegates from Russia, Turkey and Cambodia, plus knowledge partners the Centre for Public Impact – a think tank sponsored by consultancy the Boston Consulting Group.

This year’s event – which runs over an evening and one full day – is the fifth Global Government Summit. Over the coming weeks, Global Government Forum will produce and distribute a report setting out the key discussions and conclusions.

About Matt Ross

Matt is Global Government Forum's Contributing Editor, providing direction and support on topics, products and audience interests across GGF’s editorial, events and research operations. He has been a journalist and editor since 1995, beginning in motoring and travel journalism – and combining the two in a 30-month, 30-country 4x4 expedition funded by magazine photo-journalism. Between 2002 and 2008 he was Features Editor of Haymarket news magazine Regeneration & Renewal, covering urban regeneration, economic growth and community development; and from 2008 to 2014 he was the Editor of UK magazine and website Civil Service World, then Editorial Director for Public Sector – both at political publishing house Dods. He has also worked as Director of Communications at think tank the Institute for Government.


  1. Wayne Schulz says:

    Once again focusing on economic issues without a fundamental understanding that any socio-economic system is still only a reflection of the real flesh and blood people that it represents. Focus on the people and the economies of the world fix themselves.

  2. Wayne Schulz says:

    I could do 5000 words on this subject alone. The world leaders and by proxy all of the leaders below them seem to have forgotten the premise of the above post.

  3. Anurag Srivastava says:

    The following are the essentials for the Civil Servants world over:-

    (i) They should shed their feudalistic image.
    (ii) They should realize that God has given them teh job of a Civil Servant not to create hurdles but to solve the problems of citizens. They should realize that f citizen comes to him/her then he/she must have some problem.
    (iii) When in office they should devote their 100% of time on work.
    (iv) They should be good listeners.
    (v) They should show accountability and transparency in their work.
    (vi) They should also not be biased in their deeds.
    (vii) They should not carry the impression of rivalry that whatever his/her predecessor has done was wrong and try doing things a afresh.
    (viii) in case of exigency they should be available round the clock.
    (ix) Last but not the least they should always try to simply processes and think of innovations.

  4. Wayne Schulz says:

    Let us first ask the question: What are the main factors that are preventing civil service leaders from simply governing by being decent human beings first? In my opinion one of the main factors is simply greed. Greed in selling the mosquito netting to impoverished people instead of simply distributing. I believe the world needs a new paradigm to exist by before civil servants are no longer forced into making decisions based upon resource avability dictated by war. There truly is enough resources on the planet for seven billion plus people if we can take greed, money and war out of the equation. But really those three things are simply branches of the same bush that is current human nature. We have to become better people, better versions of ourselves. Wanting what we need, being grateful for what we receive and simply placing another’s needs above our own is a place to start. But it is just a beginning.

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