Parham offers a picturesque weekend walk

1. Park on the verge just past the gatehouses to Parham Park. Enter through the white gates and follow the public footpath straight ahead along the wide path. This is the West Sussex Literary trail, a 55 mile walking trail linking Horsham in the north to Chichester in the south. Continue to follow the wide tarmac path through the park and after about a third of a mile you will see the stone walls and then the large house to your right. Parham House has its roots back in Elizabethan times and is

Think tank urges UK to improve data transparency

A UK think tank is calling on the government to publish better data on public spending, outsourcing, and the civil service workforce. The report, ‘Gaps in government data: Five things the UK government should publish’, was released last week by the Institute for Government. The report’s author, Gavin Freeguard, head of data and transparency at the think tank, argues that plugging the gaps in public data would improve government effectiveness and help people hold it to account. Freeguard notes

Trump court appeal seeks to cut civil service protections

The Trump administration has filed an appeal against a recent court judgment which invalidated three executive orders clamping down on civil service union activity. The Justice Department filed a notice on Tuesday and the case will be heard at the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. In May this year, Trump signed three executive orders that made it easier to fire federal employees, limited the time and scope of collective bargaining negotiations, and severely curtailed the time spent and t

Estonian civil service chief to become Supreme Court justice

Estonia’s most senior civil servant, state secretary Heiki Loot, has been appointed to the Supreme Court after the country’s parliament (the Riigikogu) ratified his candidacy last week. Loot served as Secretary of State at the Government Office for the past 15 years, successfully working under four prime ministers and seven different governments. In May he announced that he would be stepping down, saying he wished to devote himself to work in the field of law. The Supreme Court is the highest

A Scenic September Stroll in Storrington

1. Park up in the lay-by beside the Roman Catholic Church at the end of School Lane. Follow the public footpath up Kithurst Lane. When you reach a fork in the road with private driveways on either side, follow the public footpath through the narrow alley in between. This would be easy to miss were it not for a hand-made wooden sign someone has helpfully put up to direct people. Walk along the narrow footpath through the hedgerows until you reach a stile on your left. Climb the stile and foll

OECD launches open consultation on public service leadership and capability

The OECD has launched an online consultation on a set of 14 principles designed to help countries create a “fit-for-purpose public service”, with a particular emphasis on recruiting and developing suitable leaders and workforces. The principles form a draft recommendation on public service leadership and capability, and represent the product of a year’s development work by the OECD – the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). They aim to help governments across the world

New tech will erode tax base, think tank warns

Changes to the world of work, including automation, artificial intelligence and the rise of the gig economy, could erode tax revenues so severely that it becomes difficult to provide essential state services by 2040, a Canadian think tank has warned. The report, ‘Robots, Revenues and Responses: Ontario and the Future of Work’, was published last week by Canadian public policy think tank The Mowat Centre. In it, the researchers address two questions: how will the changing nature of work impact t

Senate defies Trump’s civil service pay freeze

A spending package including a 1.9% pay rise for US federal employees in 2019 was approved almost unanimously by the Senate last week, running counter to President Trump’s wish to freeze civil service salaries. Senators voted 92 to 6 in favour of the $154.2bn spending bill which, as well as the pay rise, combined fiscal 2019 spending plans for financial services and general government, Interior, housing and urban development, agriculture, and transportation. The Senate has a tiny Republican ma

Enjoy a weekend walk in West Sussex

1. Park up just beyond the Earl of March pub on the A286 Lavant Road between Chichester and West Dean. Walking away from the pub in the direction of West Dean you will soon come to Sheepwash Lane on your right. Cross the road and take the alleyway opposite signposted to Centurion Way. Walk to the end of the alley, turn left at the field and then left again at the bottom of the slope onto Centurion Way. Centurion Way follows the route of an old disused railway line that used to run between Chich

UK to publish civil service ‘innovation map’

The UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) has created a tool to map and record innovative use of technology across the country’s civil service bodies. GDS director general Kevin Cunnington announced the new “innovation map” during a presentation at the Public Sector Show in London late last month, during a speech on the next steps for the UK’s eGovernment agenda. The map tracks and records “where government is using interesting technologies like biometrics, machine learning, augmented reality,

Women’s Suffrage: Women of Colour – Voting Counts

When you think of the suffragettes there are a few images that may spring to mind. Maybe Emily Davison and her dramatic death under the hoofs of the king’s horse at the Epsom Derby. Perhaps you think of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. Photographs from the time depict the faces of white, usually middle class, well dressed women protesting on the streets of London. What your imagination probably doesn’t conjure up are the faces of women of other racial backgrounds who stood alongside these

Award-winning film 'I, Daniel Blake' to be shown for free in Bognor

A hard-hitting film about an unemployed carpenter struggling to navigate his way through the benefits system will be shown for free in Bognor Regis. “I, Daniel Blake”, directed by Ken Loach was released in 2016 but was only available at a handful of cinemas across the country. It tells the story of a middle-aged carpenter from Newcastle trying to claim state benefits after an injury leaves him unable to work. The film production company have now made it available to communities that missed out
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