• News
  • January 23, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: How to prevent staff turnover; city policy competition

Our weekly rundown of what's working in policy

Top Stories

Staff turnover is on the rise — but governments can prevent it. High churn in the British civil service is endangering key policies and wasting $95 million a year, a new report claims. From giving HR a more strategic role to making data public, here’s how to better retain employees. (Apolitical)

Countries in the global south are using ordinary people to heal trauma and transform medical care. Demand for mental health services outstrips supply in nearly every country. Now, clinical trials are proving that laypeople can be as effective as trained psychotherapists, at a fraction of the cost. (Apolitical)

Do you work in city government or know someone who does? Would you like to get yours and your team’s work in front of a highly influential global audience? Enter Apolitical’s new policy competition for city governments here.

Inequality will define the future of work — unless citizens get to co-design policy. Learning new skills is key to helping workers adapt to automation, but those who need training the most aren’t getting it. To make skills policy more inclusive, policymakers need to listen to the people they serve. (Jack Orlik, Nesta)

How experiments help us craft better policy: Inside the world’s ‘What Works’ teams. The experimental units, who work to test and evaluate new approaches to public service delivery, have now spread to half a dozen countries. Here’s how they’re bolstering evidence-based policymaking. (Jen Gold, What Works Centres)



Do you have ideas about how the EU should tackle future challenges? The Policy Corner has put out a call for papers on the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Read more

Technology Frontiers

In the city of Ogaki, Japan, robots rule city hall. They greet visitors, guide them to the right information window and teach them how to fill out government forms. They can even hold simple conversations with children and read books aloud. (Japan Times)

UK councils are using apps and social networks to stem the country’s loneliness epidemic. One created an online community map that matches isolated people to more than 400 clubs by interest. Another is building an app that will help citizens with learning disabilities to make friends. (The Guardian)

Finland wants to establish itself as a leader in artificial intelligence by teaching it to all citizens. It launched a free online course designed specifically for non-coders, which introduces the basics of the technology. It aims to reach 1% of the population — 55,000 people — to start with. (Politico)

Los Angeles built an app to warn citizens when an earthquake is imminent. The app, which is the first of its kind in the US, makes a loud sound before an earthquake with magnitude 5.0 or higher hits. It instructs users to drop, cover themselves and hold on.(Pacific Standard)


“Skills development for the future of work cannot be delivered with a one-size-fits-all approach. Different people have different challenges, lifestyles and requirements, and policymakers need to have a clear understanding of the people they want to serve” — Jack Orlik, senior researcher at Nesta

Gender Equality

Denmark’s gender pay gap fell 7% after companies were required to report salaries. New research shows that Denmark’s 2006 pay transparency law also led employers to hire more women and made it more likely for them to be promoted from entry-level to senior positions. (University of Copenhagen)

The UK’s new domestic abuse law strengthens protections for victims. For the first time, the country will include economic control and non-physical violence as forms of abuse. It will also ban accused abusers from cross-examining their victims in court. (Thomson Reuters)

Evolving Cities

Paris will make public transit free for kids. Anyone under 11 years old — including non-nationals — will be able to ride the metro and buses for free. So will people with disabilities under the age of 20. It’s part of the city’s plan to help families reduce car usage. (CityLab)

And finally

Germany has produced what some are calling ‘the world’s ugliest coin’. It celebrates the seventieth anniversary of Berlin’s favourite sausage-and-sauce combo: currywurst. The colourful commemorative coin can be yours for $15. (Quartz)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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