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  • June 5, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: The secret to standing out in government

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Top Stories

How to tell the story behind a policy: Three tips for public servants. The way policy is communicated is critical to its effective implementation. To get the message right, you have to know your audience, establish authority and understand when to use facts or convey emotion. (Tom Hashemi, We are Flint and Scott Taylor, the University of Birmingham)

What’s the secret to standing out in the public service? In this 10-minute video, Martha Lane-Fox — the founder of Doteveryone who sits in the UK House of Lords — shares the two tips that have been instrumental to her success in government. (Apolitical)

Procurement can save our planet — if we harness its power. Governments have traditionally spent their contracting budgets project-to-project. Now, some are realising that the $8 billion global market can be an indispensable tool in fighting climate change, gender inequality and more. (Robyn Scott, Apolitical)

Here are seven ways cities can use behavioural insights to design better services. Making small, low-cost tweaks to letters, emails and texts can change how citizens respond to government. From learning the value of testing to accepting failure, this is how to get started. (Bloomberg Cities)

The World Health Organisation is recognising traditional medicine. Alternative remedies can help fill gaps in healthcare, the WHO says. But critics call the decision antithetical to the organisation’s robust scientific standards, and warn that it’s been pushed through by private interests. (Apolitical)

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Governance and Citizen Engagement

New Zealand unveiled the world’s first wellbeing budget. Founded on the idea that GDP alone is not a sufficient measure of citizens’ quality of life, it promises billions for the country’s most vulnerable. Significant funding will be allocated to tackling mental illness, family violence and child poverty. (The Mandarin)

The Australia and New Zealand School of Government identified six ingredients to successful policy. It should be evidence-informed, backed by key stakeholders and able to withstand political change. And, the policymakers behind it must have the backbone to persevere in the face of rejection. (Anzsog)

Evolving Cities

US cities are hiring a new kind of CEO: chief equity officers. Buffalo, Philadelphia, Nashville, San Antonio and Chicago have all hired city officials whose job it is to address racial and class disparities in employment, income, housing and economic development. (Governing)

The Dutch city of Breda was named Europe’s most accessible. The government has devoted considerable resources to inclusive design — from flattening cobblestone roads and ensuring stores have threshold ramps, to making its website usable for people with sensory impairments. (The Guardian)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“It’s easy for outsiders to be critical of policy when they don’t understand the realities of government. Opening a conversation helps people feel they are part of the policymaking process, rather than seeing policy as something that is done to them” — Tom Hashemi, We are Flint and Scott Taylor, the University of Birmingham

Technology Frontiers

Canada is launching the world’s first AI-auditing program for government. As more agencies adopt AI to provide better services, the goal is to ensure algorithmic bias and lack of accountability — which can creep in at many stages of the deep-learning process — do not put citizens and communities at risk. (The Wall Street Journal)

Gender Equality

For the first time in history, women make up half of South Africa’s cabinet. That makes it one of only 11 countries in the world with gender-equal cabinets. President Cyril Ramaphosa also cut the number of ministers to 28 from 36 in a bid to downsize what he called ‘bloated government’. (CNN)

And finally

The US wants to rebrand fossil fuels as ‘freedom gas’. In a press release touting its plan to increase exports of natural gas shipped out of Texas, the Department of Energy referred to it as ‘molecules of US freedom’. (Quartz)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)

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