White House moving to purge anti-Trump officials

The US government is planning to expel federal employees who are “actively working against” president Trump, a White House spokesperson has confirmed. “It’s not a secret that we want people in positions that work with this president and not against him… the federal government is massive, with millions of people, and there are a lot […]

UK PM’s chief adviser ‘getting in the way’ of good government, says union chief

The behaviour of UK PM Boris Johnson’s chief adviser is harming departments’ ability to deliver the government’s objectives, FDA general secretary Dave Penman has told Global Government Forum. “What’s been happening isn’t about better government or even more efficient government. This is all about control, and it’s getting in the way,” he said yesterday. In […]

EU seeks to take on AI world leaders while protecting public

The European Union has unveiled proposals to promote the ethical, trustworthy and secure development of artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to challenge Silicon Valley’s and China’s dominance in the emerging technology. The aim is to attract €20bn (US$21.5bn) of investment in AI per year over the next decade, while protecting citizens from the risks […]

India to develop blockchain voting system

The Election Commission of India is to collaborate with the Indian Institute of Technology to develop a blockchain system for voting.   The country’s chief election commissioner, Sunil Arora, made the announcement at the Times Now Summit in New Delhi last week. The electronic voting system, he said, would solve the problem of people being unable […]

Zimbabwean officials warned to register biometrics or lose pay

Civil servants in Zimbabwe have until the end of the month to register their biometric details or risk losing their pay, the government has said. In a statement released earlier this week, Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe said: “The authentication process requires that every member on the payroll has biometric attributes in the Registrar […]

UK standards committee: ‘urgent need’ to strengthen regulation of public sector AI

A new report looking at artificial intelligence (AI) in the UK public sector says there’s an “urgent need for guidance and regulation.” AI has the potential to “revolutionise” public service delivery, says the Committee for Standards in Public Life (CSPL), with machine learning in particular transforming how decisions are made in policing, health, welfare, social […]

Australian government was aware ‘robodebt’ programme unlawful, emails reveal

Civil servants administering a controversial welfare debt recovery system run by Australia’s Department of Social Services (DSS) received advice that their operations were unlawful, a string of newly released emails has revealed. The confidential email exchange, released to a Senate inquiry into the matter on Thursday, occurred between top officials working for the Australian Taxation […]

Trump proposes 1% federal pay rise as US budget published

President Trump has submitted a plan to Congress for all federal workers to receive a 1% pay rise, effective from 1 January 2021. While this is an improvement on the pay freeze championed by Trump in previous years, the figure is significantly lower than the 1.9% and 3.1% pay increases that were eventually agreed in […]

New claims process for staff affected by Phoenix pay failure

A new claims process for federal employees affected by the troubled Phoenix payroll system has been launched by the Canadian government.  The new compensation scheme is being implemented “in recognition of the financial impacts that the Phoenix pay system has had on public servants,” the government said. Current and former employees will now be able to […]

Automated welfare fraud detection system contravenes international law, Dutch court rules

A Dutch court has ruled that an automated surveillance system using artificial intelligence (AI) to detect welfare fraud violates the European Convention on Human Rights, and has ordered the government to cease using it immediately. The judgement comes as governments around the world are ramping up use of AI in administering welfare benefits and other […]

US government urged to spend $25bn a year on AI or risk falling behind

Congress and the White House should work together to increase annual federal spending on artificial intelligence (AI) research and development to US$25bn (€19.2bn), according to a national security think tank. This is one of a number of recommendations set out in a report – entitled The American AI Century: A Blueprint for Action – from […]

Gender pay gap widens at four UK departments, falls at 13

Four central UK government departments have reported that their gender pay gap grew over the last year, while the gap shrank at 13 departments and remained at zero at the Department of Work and Pensions. The figures reveal that the department which saw the biggest increase in its gender pay gap was the Department for […]

Canadian federal IT systems are on brink of collapse, government docs reveal

The IT systems serving Canada’s federal services are at risk of “critical failure” after years of under-investment, according to a memo obtained by The Canadian Press. Briefing notes for prime minister Justin Trudeau, obtained last week by the national news agency through the Access to Information Act, reveal that legacy IT systems are “rusting out […]

Public sector in Cambodia to be linked digitally with other countries

Cambodia’s public sector is to be digitally linked with other countries in a new initiative launched by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The Cambodian programme is the latest of a number of UNDP Accelerator Labs schemes being rolled out in Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The aim is to bring together grassroots ideas […]

Artificial intelligence must be fair and safe for consumers, say MEPs

Consumers must be safeguarded from artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making (ADM) which is “advancing at a remarkable pace”, says a European parliamentary committee. A draft resolution, approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) on 23 January, proposes that humans should always be ultimately responsible for, and able to overrule, […]

Majority of countries showing little progress in tackling corruption

Governments are still failing to deal with corruption of political systems by big money, according to an annual study ranking perceived public sector corruption levels of 180 countries worldwide. The research, carried out by Transparency International, highlights the relationship between politics, money and corruption, with the campaign group urging governments to tackle the links between […]

US State Department inspector excoriates IT and staffing weaknesses

The US Department of State continues to face major management and performance challenges, many of which overlap and cause “unique vulnerabilities”, according to a report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released last week. Challenges such as longstanding information security weaknesses, “which put every other function at risk”, are compounded by staffing gaps, high […]

US lawmakers “extremely concerned” about proposed official time policy

Two members of Congress have written to the chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to express concern about a proposal that could make it harder for federal employees to bring discrimination cases against their agencies. The proposal, which was published by the EEOC last month, would deny representatives the use of ‘official time’ […]

Change or be changed, Singapore civil service chief tells workforce

The head of Singapore’s civil service, Leo Yip, has called on his colleagues to come together as “one public service” and to push ahead with the Public Sector Transformation (PST) programme “or risk being ossified and forced to change by circumstances”. During a speech at the Public Services Leadership Dinner on 17 January, Yip said […]

Google CEO calls for AI regulation

Sundar Pichai, the head of Google and parent company Alphabet, has “real concerns” about the potential risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and has called on governments to work together on regulatory measures. “International alignment will be critical to making global standards work,” he said this week. Writing in the Financial Times, Pichai gave deepfakes – […]