Welcome to Apolitical’s briefing for the week of 6 August. Sign up here for a weekly email on how the world’s most pressing problems are being tackled.
Drawing on nominations from experts, Apolitical celebrates those reforming and reimagining the public service — from leaders in the field to the unsung heroes quietly changing the machinery of government.
Violence prevention practitioners have banded together to push back against aid donors’ rush to replicate. Scaling without first understanding cultural context can cause harm, they argue.
Overall net migration may be overestimated by tens of thousands of people, due to flawed surveying and ambiguity around the definition of a migrant. Here’s how Canada and Australia are collecting better data.
Regardless of whether they choose to work or stay at home, many women feel a debilitating guilt. Employer reforms — from offering in-office care to taking steps to end discrimination — could help.
A new parliamentary report lifts the lid on the often-dysfunctional relationship, a topic that is rarely discussed publicly. Better communication through regular check-ins and coaching is the first step.
Top Writing By Our Members
Civil servants are doing great things, but few people know about them. To curb cynicism about government work, we have to start recognising — and celebrating — the people breaking the mould to create better value for citizens.
(Sam Hannah-Rankin, Director of Public Service Innovation, Victoria, Australia)
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Energy, Environment and Economic Opportunity
Education and Changing Jobs
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“If we don’t promote and share the good work that we’re doing, then we’re actively doing a disservice to the public value we can and do create” — Sam Hannah-Rankin, Director of Public Sector Innovation at the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Victoria, Australia
It suggests using skills tests in recruitment, encouraging salary negotiation and appointing diversity task forces. The recommendations are backed by research from the UK Behavioural Insights Team.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is the second city to adopt Alibaba’s smart city platform. The e-commerce conglomerate’s ‘City Brain’ pulls in data from roads, video feeds and social media, and uses AI to help governments better manage traffic. In Hangzhou, China it reduced congestion by 15%.
Alaskan public servants are working on typewriters after a cyberattack. They’re using them — as well as old-fashioned pen-and-paper — to write up reports and receipts after a ransomware infection crippled networks. The FBI is working on recovering the lost files.
(Picture credit: Pexels)