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The Global Government Summit 2024 will address some of the biggest challenges facing public sector leaders around the world.

Tuesday 23 January 2024
18:00 – 19:00

(All times are local)


Hosted by Mr Kevin Sorkin

Kevin Sorkin, Founder and Chief Executive, Pendragon International Media Ltd
Publishers of Global Government Forum and Global Government Fintech

Tuesday 23 January 2024
19:00 – 19:20

Welcome Address

Hosted by Mr Leo Yip

Leo Yip, Head of Civil Service (HCS) of the Singapore Government, welcomes participants and provides the context for this year’s Summit.

Tuesday 23 January 2024
19:20 – 21:30

Leading a modern public service

How can we build a blueprint for a modern government, identifying the leadership and organisational capabilities required to respond to today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s? Over the last year, former UK Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Gus O’Donnell has been working with Global Government Forum on a major research programme, interviewing national civil service heads from around the world to explore the needs of government in an age of digital technologies, economic instability, global fragmentation and hastening climate change.

Interviews have explored eight key challenges, covering leadership; strategic alignment; workforce; technology; the political interface; public engagement; domestic policy; and international challenges. Having gathered leaders’ views on their positions, goals and strategies regarding these key topics, Lord O’Donnell will present his findings and engage in an open discussion with the civil service leaders gathered together at the Global Government Summit.


Lord Gus O’Donnell, Former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, United Kingdom


Discussions take place over dinner and the session ends at 21:30

Tuesday 23 January 2024

End of discussions for day one

Wednesday 24 January 2024
09:00 – 10:30

(All times are local)

Addressing today’s crises – and tomorrow’s catastrophes

During the pandemic, civil services responded with unprecedented speed to a novel virus – launching new services, reforming working practices and deploying digital technologies as the threat evolved. The challenge now is to retain much of that pace and agility, while ensuring that decision-making is robust and guarding against corruption. And the pandemic taught another crucial lesson: those governments with well-developed pandemic response plans were far better equipped to protect their populations and economies when COVID-19 arrived.

So nations must keep one eye on the horizon, even whilst addressing the latest crisis: it is notable that – as evidence given to the country’s COVID-19 Inquiry reveals – the UK would have been better prepared for COVID-19 had civil servants not deprioritised pandemic planning to focus on preparing for a no-deal Brexit. Today, the world faces the existential threat of climate change, along with other huge but slow-moving problems such as growing inequality and ageing populations; but governments are distracted by runaway inflation and the Ukraine war. In this session, participants will explore how civil services can both respond effectively to today’s crises, and continue the crucial work required to address longer-term threats that will otherwise provide tomorrow’s catastrophes.

Including presentations and discussion

Session followed by refreshment break

Wednesday 24 January 2024
11:00 – 12:30

The opportunities and risks of AI

Artificial Intelligence technologies are set to transform not just the social and economic challenges facing governments, but the civil service itself – and civil service leaders must get ahead of this fast-moving game. Automating tasks currently carried out by skilled professionals, AI looks likely to have huge impacts on the western middle classes – replacing swathes of the white collar workforce, much as production line robotics usurped skilled manual workers in previous generations. This prospect raises big policy questions, affecting departments across government. How can redundant workers find new roles? What skills and infrastructure will future generations require? How should labour market regulations, taxation systems and social support services adapt to this new world? And how can nations reap the benefits as well as the costs of these dramatic socio-economic changes?

Meanwhile AI will be radically reshaping civil service organisations, providing new tools for use in service delivery, evidence-gathering and policymaking. To take advantage of these opportunities, civil service leaders will have to address the risks inherent in public sector AI: protecting transparency, accountability and equity in decision-making, for example. The arrival of ChatGPT, already in use by civil servants around the world, illustrates the urgency of action to decide and codify policies on how staff deploy AI technologies. In this session, civil service leaders will explore the most pressing challenges and opportunities presented by AI – both inside and outside government.

Including presentations and discussion

Session followed by lunch

Wednesday 24 January 2024
13:30 – 15:00

A contemporary approach to productivity

For two years, pandemic-related spending drained public treasuries already weakened by the long fallout of the 2008 financial crisis. Now spiking energy and goods prices are both placing new burdens on the public finances, and prompting demands from public servants for substantial pay rises. With weak global growth and economic instability undermining tax receipts, in many countries civil service leaders must find productivity improvements if they are to maintain public services and avert job cuts. Yet many of the efficiency reforms pursued in recent years have failed to realise their promise.

In many countries, for example, the shared services agenda has got bogged down – with weak central mandates and complex needs slowing progress – while all the obvious candidates for outsourcing have already been commissioned out. Meanwhile market-based public service reforms have had patchy results: the UK government recently abandoned its vast 2012 NHS shake-up. So how can civil servants forge a productivity agenda for 2023? This session will discuss how digital and data technologies provide a fresh set of tools for enhancing productivity, exploring topics such as workforce-driven innovation, platform and cloud services, automation and co-production.

Including presentations and discussion

Session followed by refreshment break

Wednesday 24 January 2024
15:30 – 17:00

A truly diverse civil service leadership

In recent years, many civil services have made substantial progress on improving their diversity – particularly on gender issues. Among G20 nations, for example, the average proportion of women among senior leaders has risen 10 points to 29% over the last decade; within the EU, the proportion has risen eight points to 43%. There are, however, still substantial gaps in the representation and distribution of many minority groups. In Canada, 4.2% of public servants are black, but only 2.3% of executives; in the UK, 13.6% of civil servants are disabled, against 6.1% of senior leaders.

What’s more, these metrics do not fully capture social diversity; in many countries, civil service leaders tend to be drawn from wealthy families, elite universities and major cities. And civil services often struggle to recruit and retain staff from the private and voluntary sectors or other public bodies, narrowing their internal debates and their breadth of experience. Yet unless leadership cadres include people from a wide range of classes, regions, cultures and sectors, civil service organisations will always struggle both to innovate in the face of fast-changing contemporary challenges, and to understand the needs of their increasingly diverse populations.

This session will examine today’s challenges in diversity and inclusion, exploring the reforms to staff recruitment, appointment, training and development that could create civil services truly reflective of the people they serve.

Including presentations and discussion

Wednesday 24 January 2024
17:00 – 17:10

Summary and Conclusion

Wednesday 24 January 2024

End of Summit