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.

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