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  • January 9, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: Apolitical’s Public Service Team of the Year; 3 ways to take bias out of hiring

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

We’re excited to announce the winner of Apolitical’s Public Service Team of the Year. At the end of 2018, we asked you to nominate teams that went above and beyond to collaborate with others on an innovative project. Find out who the winners and runners up are here. (Apolitical)

Australia tried three simple fixes to take bias out of hiring. The state of Victoria trialled anonymising resumes, removing gendered language from job descriptions and instituting unconscious bias training across 36 public and private sector workplaces. Here’s what worked — and what didn’t. (Apolitical)

Romania’s care system was in crisis. Now, it’s a role model. Under the country’s communist regime, poverty, neglect and inadequate state support drove more than 100,000 children into care. Here’s how Romania went from providing emergency relief to preventing children from entering care in the first place. (Apolitical)

Dubai’s tech campus for government is smashing siloes. In an industrial warehouse, civil servants from different agencies gather to reimagine public services through design thinking and other innovation techniques. It’s brought unprecedented collaboration to Dubai’s government. (Yasar Jarrar, Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation)


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Technology Frontiers

A UK city is using a computer replica to plan for disasters. Newcastle’s ‘digital twin’ allows it to test city infrastructure’s resilience to future threats, like rising sea levels, population growth and drought. The technology comes from car manufacturers, who use it to test vehicle safety. (The Guardian)

In Stockholm, digital billboards help the homeless find shelter on freezing nights. When the temperature dips below -7C, a map of emergency shelters will replace advertisements on 53 digital kiosks across the city. They provide directions to the nearest shelter and its opening hours. (Curbed)

Energy and Environment

Oil-rich Norway is the world leader in electric car sales. Half of all vehicles sold in 2018 were electric or plug-in hybrids. The government offers a slew of benefits for owners: they don’t pay import tax, sales tax or registration fees, and get free access to toll roads and parking in some city areas. (Quartz)

Germany has a new plan to curb its ‘throwaway society’. The strategy will do away with plastic straws and cutlery, levy fees on plastic packaging and double its recycling target from 36% to 63% of total waste by 2022. (Deutsche Welle)



“Government agencies face a range of challenges and barriers when they attempt to work together, from laws and legacy systems that hardwire siloed working models, to the politics and competition issues that exist in any government” —Yasar Jarrar, advisor at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation

Health and Safety

British doctors are prescribing bingo, boxing and Bollywood dancing to elderly patients. In a pilot, participating GPs said prescribing activities reduces their workload by cutting the number of non-medical issues they deal with, like loneliness. It also lowered hospital outpatient admissions by 20%. (The Guardian)

Chicago’s murder rate dropped 10% in two years. Burdened by gang and gun violence, the city recorded its highest homicide rate in two decades in 2016. Last year, 100 fewer people were killed thanks to new investment in data-driven policing, which allows officers to predict were crime will happen. (CNN)

And finally

Selfie addict, binge gamer or phone zombie? The British army wants you. A tongue-in-cheek recruitment drive targets the ‘snowflake generation’ by playing on stereotypes about 16- to 25-year-olds: ‘Me-me-me millennials, the army needs your self-belief’, one ad says. (The Telegraph)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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