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The 2020 Global Government Summit will address some of the biggest challenges facing public sector leaders around the world.

30 January
19:00 – 22:00

Welcome Dinner

Hosted by HCS Mr Leo Yip

Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth 

During dinner a presentation and discussion will take place on the global trends towards growing inequality, insecure employment and flatlining median incomes.

These are widely viewed as key drivers of political instability and the rise of extremism in politics, undermining trust in government, globalisation and liberal economics. In response, many governments are keen to promote inclusive economic development, ensuring that the benefits of growth are more widely shared.

But this demands work on many fronts, covering issues from financial exclusion to urban regeneration; from skills provision to benefits policy. And it involves risk: taking firm action on issues such as tax avoidance, labour market regulation and competition policy, for example, risks pushing ever-more footloose investors abroad. This session will consider how governments can support more equitable economic growth whilst maintaining high levels of private investment, and examine some potential policy tools – such as new models of public engagement and policymaking in regeneration, regulation, education, business support and R&D.


Followed by group discussion

31 January 
08:30 – 09:00

Welcome Refreshments 

09:00 – 11:00

Resourcing and Delivering Strategic Outcomes 

Governments around the world increasingly recognise the value of setting strategic, outcomes-led goals that cut across departmental briefs – focusing public service delivery on the holistic needs of citizens, rather than public bodies’ own relatively narrow fields of competence. But how can departments best collaborate, develop services and allocate resources in the pursuit of such goals?

Nations have taken a range of approaches to this challenge. In Scotland, for example, Integration Authorities have been established to bring together the work of health and social care providers at the local level. And in New Zealand, a focus on ‘life events’ has catalysed the creation of multi-agency platforms that combine relevant services in a single access point. This session will examine the delivery aspects of cross-departmental collaboration, considering issues such as structure and governance, resource allocation and programme management.


Followed by group discussion

11:00 – 11:30

Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00

Strengthening Capabilities and Developing Specialist Skills 

Alongside their ‘generalist’ policy and management staff, governments increasingly need a range of specialist professionals to deliver modern public services. Many countries have developed dedicated professional or functional programmes, supporting the recruitment, deployment and training of technical specialists in fields such as finance, digital, workforce and project management. But what systems and processes best support the development and application of these specialist skills? How can civil services hang onto technical experts as their value grows in the wider jobs market? And how can specialists be brought into senior management roles, where their expertise has the greatest impact on how public bodies operate and develop?

This session will consider some of the ways in which governments have developed programmes to grow their functional capabilities, and debate the issues around recruiting, retaining and promoting technical specialists.


Followed by group discussion

13:00 to 14:00

Lunch and Networking

14:00 – 15:45

Ethics, Equity and Accountability in Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial Intelligence has huge potential in public service delivery: the fast-developing technology can help governments to, for example, personalise services around individuals’ needs, process transactions more quickly and accurately, and develop better predictive models and simulations. Some senior officials envisage a future of ‘autonomous’, proactive public services, automatically reaching out to serve citizens.

But AI brings risks as well as benefits. Any AI system is only as good as the data it’s given – so if systems are ‘trained’ using skewed data, they can ‘learn’ to discriminate against certain groups. Some applications may pose a threat to privacy and anonymity. Because AI algorithms evolve over time, their decision-making processes can become opaque: the resulting ‘black box’ systems pose challenges to democratic accountability and transparency. And more broadly, AI may pose a challenge to inclusive growth – replacing human labour, while diverting ever more resources towards the owners and creators of AI tech.

Governments and international bodies are beginning to grapple with these issues: during 2019 we’ve seen reports on AI from the OECD, the European Commission, New Zealand’s Law Foundation and the UK’s National Audit Office; investigations and consultations launched by the UK’s Committee on Standards in Public Life and the Australian government; and the Canadian and French governments teaming up to launch an International Panel on Artificial Intelligence.

At this session, delegates will explore the ethical, moral and accountability issues around deploying AI, discussing how each can be addressed. They’ll discuss how AI can be deployed without worsening inequality or hampering social mobility. And they’ll consider how governments can regulate AI – realising its potential while protecting citizens’ rights; providing clarity around issues such as liability; and fostering inclusive economic growth.


Followed by a group discussion

15:45 – 16:15

Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:45

Driving Civil Service Reform 

Every civil service recognises the need to transform itself for the modern world, developing the ability to respond more rapidly and flexibly to emerging challenges – but what structures and approaches are most effective in driving that transformation?

Some countries use a centralised model, building teams at the heart of government to set policy and mandate change among the departments: the UK’s Government Digital Service and Crown Commercial Service took this route from 2010-15. Others adopt a more consensual, diffused model: New Zealand’s Digital Government Partnership involves relevant leaders from across government, developing and implementing policy with central guidance and support. Australia is taking a twin-track approach, operating central units while departmental chiefs each take responsibility for driving one aspect of civil service reform across government. And in some countries, national governments seek to integrate their programmes for reforming central, federal and local government operations; Singapore is a good example.

In this session, delegates will explore the various approaches to driving cross-government reform, relating their experiences and debating the pros and cons of each model.


Followed by a group discussion

17:45 – 18:00

Meeting Summary

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This event is invitation only. Complete the form to apply.


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