News & views

We collate and provide links to news and views from around the world to help share ideas and thinking for policy makers, procurers, providers, and any other organisations working in the public sector sphere to deliver better public services.

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News: UK civil servants to learn about innovation from digital companies
Government Technology Innovation Strategy has set out plans to boost the number of civil servants on secondments to digital companies to “learn from their innovative culture”.(Source:
14th June 2019
News: Australia joins others in signing up to ethical AI guidelines
Last week, Australia and 42 other countries signed up to the OECD's policy guidelines for the ethical development and use of AI. Though very broad, these guidelines seek to form a shared baseline from which to address the very real threat AI may pose to human rights and our way of life if left unchecked. This baseline can, of course, be further developed by other countries, Australia being one example, but by implementing these shared values we can hopefully begin to form a set of rules that can be accepted globally (source:
29th May 2019
New Thinking: User-centred policy design; when is the right time?
Designing policy based around the voices of citizens is, understandably, not always possible or appropriate. There are many instances, however, when these voices can contribute a vast amount and can make or break a policy's outcome. Here, Steve Moilanen explores the idea of "user-centred" design and suggests three situations in which using the process can be most effective (source:
29th May 2019
News: Vancouver's aim to be 100% renewable by 2050
The city of Vancouver has announced its desire to derive 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Its ambitious plans include targeting new builds, altering transportation infrastructure and simplifying access to electronic vehicles. Leading the way in urban energy transformation, other cities may look to Vancouver to find their own solutions to emissions and energy inefficiency (source:
29th May 2019
News: Dubai opens new technological research facility
Joining the four other Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) around the globe, Dubai's new facility aims to support the transformation of the region into an innovative technological hub and paves the way for the city to become truly 'smart' (source:
29th May 2019
New Thinking: The Middle East's burgeoning technological revolution
A growing youth population and new government initiatives in some Middle Eastern countries place the region on the cusp of a technological revolution; however, there are challenges to be overcome. Here, Khalid Al Rumaihi (Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board) discusses how funding for start ups and relaxing of data sovereignty rules can allow growth in this already fertile ground (source:
29th May 2019
Report: Growing focus on social value in UK local authorities
A new report, based on research by Social Enterprise UK, reveals that local councils in the UK are increasingly making spending decisions based not only on cost but also on economic, social and environmental impacts. Data from central government was sadly not significant enough to be analysed but the report provides several recommendations to further improve uptake of social value initiatives (source:
29th May 2019
Blog: Speech by Rupert Soames, Chief Executive of Serco, to the IACCM
Serco CEO speaks to the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management on the pains of doing business with governments with regard to formality versus speed, procurement challenges inherent to the political system, lack of flexibility and the perils of monopoly markets (source: Rupert Soames, CEO Serco plc)
17th May 2019
New Thinking: How to keep the robots from taking jobs
Recent advances in technology have left millions at risk of unemployment through being replaced by machines. Politico asks what tools are available to governments and other organisations to help them respond to this potential crisis (source:
14th May 2019
Policy News: France to make public procurement of food more sustainable
Didier Guillaume, French minister of Agriculture and Food, has established the National Council for Collective Catering, with a focus on organic, sustainable and nutritional food. At a time when problems caused by unhealthy eating and unsustainable food production are high on governmental agendas, it will be interesting to see if this initiative is picked up internationally (source:
10th May 2019
New Thinking: Crowdsourced data to help air pollution, traffic congestion and infrastructure use
Consumers give away a vast amount of data for free to the apps they use. has thought to harness this to improve air pollution, traffic congestion and other city infrastructure. Data collection is of course voluntary and can be crowdsourced on a very local level to make travel more efficient and the air cleaner. They have received EU funding and are looking to expand and implement new technologies (source:
9th May 2019
Policy News: Australian Government publishes Digital Transformation Strategy
The Australian Government has published a Digital Transformation Strategy aimed at allowing citizens digital access to all government services by 2025. The aim is not only to provide Australian citizens with one easy login to all services but also to encourage more interaction at both national and local levels. Will this be more successful than previous ambitions? Only time will tell. (source:
8th May 2019
New Thinking: Developing a Smart City playbook
The concept of 'smart cities' is becoming ever more widespread, with governments and private organisations using the latest technology to manage urban infrastructure more effectively. A coalition of these organisations has been set up to bring to measure global smart city performance and return on investment, allowing for the creation of a playbook for what an effective smart city looks like; available for free in November 2019 (source:
7th May 2019
Policy News: Canadian Public Services and Procurement unveils modernisation plans
As Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada handle more than 75% of the Canadian government's yearly $22bn worth of purchases, their procurement processes need to be modern, responsive and as simple as possible. The new 'Better Buying' initiatives seek to bring these services fully up to date while also increasing competition, innovation and sustainability. Industry seems to have had a valuable input and early outcomes of several programmes look very positive (source:
6th May 2019
News: UK Space Agency makes archive satellite images available
The UK Space Agency has made its archive of satellite data available to all those working in, or connected to, the public sector. Previously used to study such things as the thickness of polar ice, ocean salinity, and cloud properties, the agency hopes its detailed maps will enable SMEs and others to research and innovate to help the UK public sector overcome the challenges it faces (source:
2nd May 2019
What does a renaissance in public service delivery look like, asks Reform..
The UK govt, if it can un-distract itself from Brexit, is in a unique place to reform the way public services are bought and delivered by the private and third sectors (particularly given a third of public expenditure is spent with them says Reform). Properly considering whether to 'make or buy' services, ensure Social Value outcomes are embedded in service design, up-skilling contracting authorities with technical expertise, and ensuring clarity over the lifetime of a contract - key pillars for good public service (source:
18th April 2019
How big should government really be?
How much money is government wasting on public sector spend? What is the optimal % of GDP that governments can afford to get away with to deliver effective public service? How much tax are we as citizens overspending in reality? This insightful paper lays out some ideas around optimal govt size as a % of GDP (30%) across education, health, administration & posits the key question: 'Is it worth spending 10% of GDP more for limited gain given that it needs to be financed through higher taxes or spending elsewhere?' (source:
3rd April 2019
What it takes to deliver good public service according to New Zealand's State Service Commissioner
Peter Hughes says putting the citizen at the fore, humility, & being driven by a higher purpose is what it takes (plus managerial efficiency & tight commercial acumen). Collaboration between agencies to solve complex problems is also key & this will require greater flexibility in data sharing, budget setting, & staffing. Attitudinal change & a focused public service esprit de corps is what it takes (source:
27th March 2019
World Health Organisation's 2016 Review of Integrated Care is still relevant & a useful source for those mapping the landscape with a view to developing solutions
As populations age, putting stress on healthcare services, the onus for developing scalable integrated models of health & care that enable the elderly to live more independently for longer increases. This WHO review sets out key definitions & possible models that we need to build on further (source:
22nd March 2019
UK government seeks consultation on Social Value in public procurement
UK govt goes to suppliers, public bodies & others involved in procurement to consult on initial Social Value framework through which govt depts will evaluate bids on themes around; diverse supply chains, skills & employment, inclusion & wellbeing, environmental sustainability, & safe supply chains (source:
12th March 2019
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