Commonwealth public service heads advocate for smart tech investment

26 April 2024
Press release
Heads of public service group photo

The 3rd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Meeting for Heads of Public Service concluded with a resounding call for more investment in Smart technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance planning and decision-making for more efficient and effective public service delivery and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) across the Commonwealth. 

The three-day meeting was addressed by the Hon Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, and the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, Commonwealth Secretary-General. It was held at the Commonwealth headquarters in London from the 22 to 24 April.  

Modernising and enhancing the efficiency of government

Convened under the theme, 'Institutionalisation of smart government to enhance public service delivery', the Commonwealth heads of public service expanded on the ongoing dialogue around the urgent need to modernise and enhance the efficiency of government.  

Delegates were afforded the opportunity to exchange views on government performance management and were presented with pertinent country studies from Rwanda, Kenya, India and Namibia, emphasising that the forum remains an important platform for sharing knowledge, experiences and deepening collaboration. 

Delegates reaffirmed the mandate set out in the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Rwanda in 2022, that seeks to eliminate the digital divide.  

After careful deliberation, the delegates agreed on an outcome statement with clear endorsements. One key action to be taken is the establishment of a community of practice for Commonwealth Heads of Public Service. The platform will allow them to continue sharing knowledge and experiences as well as promote ongoing dialogue on good governance.  

Additionally, delegates agreed to develop a roadmap for implementing the actions that were determined at the meeting, including forming a Smart Governance Working Group at the Commonwealth Secretariat to spearhead this work until the next biennial meeting in 2026. 

Collaboration and capacity building

During the meeting, the Commonwealth Heads of Public Service welcomed the work of the Commonwealth Artificial Intelligence Consortium (CAIC), which facilitates collaboration and capacity building among member countries to promote the responsible development and application of AI technology. 

At the conclusion of the summit, the Commonwealth Secretary-General told the heads of public service: 

“I am delighted that you have been able to agree on critical action points, which if fully implemented, have the ability to move the Commonwealth Public Service to a higher level of performance and productivity." 

She continued: 

"An important outcome from this meeting is agreement to establish a Community of Practice for Heads of Public Service whose aim is to share and exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences on public service management. This community of practice will certainly be useful in ensuring that we sustain the conversation on public service improvement and modernisation.”  

The meeting reaffirmed its endorsement of the Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP) framework which were unanimously approved by the Second Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Heads of Public Service Meeting in 2022.  

The GAPP framework provides a global standard of measuring the performance of governments across the Commonwealth member states. By implementing these 16 principles, Commonwealth governments can provide a clear criterion for evaluation and assessment. Additionally, the GAPP framework will enable member states to identify areas for improvement and encourage more efficient and effective allocation of resources within public services. 

Read the Outcome Statement

Media contact

  • Charmaine Wright  Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6242  |  E-mail