The challenge

Taking the paperwork out of regulation and compliance

Rules and regulation are a necessary part of a functioning society. However, regulatory systems can often be complex, subject to change and difficult to navigate for businesses - costing time and money, and ultimately reducing productivity. As a result compliance has become Australia’s fastest growing sector at an estimated cost of $250 billion a year.

But regulation needn’t be such a compliance burden. In fact, we see it as an opportunity - how can we sustain a sophisticated and modern regulatory system, and at the same time manage complexity for end users?

That’s why we are re-imagining regulation as an open platform, based on digital logic. We’re designing a platform that supports a future ecosystem of digital regulation tools and services.

Our response

Introducing Regulation as a Platform

Under the National Innovation and Science Agenda: Platforms for Open Data framework, the Australian Government is exploring opportunities to maximise the value of public data for the benefit of all Australians. Regulation as a Platform is a proof-of-concept project that aims to maximise the value of regulation, as the key data set of government.

We’re currently working with government stakeholders to transform their rules into digital logic. It is a multi-stage process.

It starts with parsing large amounts of legal text, automatically converting as much as possible into machine-readable logic.

Then policy experts and regulators provide oversight of the digital logic to ensure the intent of the law is accurately represented.

After quality checking, the rules are endorsed for publication by regulators and made publicly available on the Regulation as a Platform prototype.

The ultimate aim is to provide free and open access to legislation and regulation via public APIs, which will allow users to access the database of endorsed logic rules and a reasoning engine to process rules and data into accessible digital logic.

Throughout this process, we collect feedback about the Platform’s usability, utility and capabilities to drive further prototype development and maximise value for developers and end users.

The results

Accessible and streamlined compliance

Regulation as a Platform allows users to leverage the rule infrastructure to develop tools and services to help reduce the compliance burden, manage complexity and save users time and money.

There is the potential to develop a range of applications from Regulation as a Platform, including tools to:

  • Automate and simplify tedious and repetitive manual processes for business owners, compliance checkers and legal practitioners.
  • Assist users to simply and quickly identify the specific obligations for their business activity, for example, when seeking permits for a new company.
  • Support decision making on compliance, or as a tool to check compliance for businesses when regulation changes occur or when considering new activities or products.

There will be an opportunity for private and public sectors to start building their own applications to test this technology and to solve their own compliance issues or those of their end users.

We are also seeking to engage with industry to enhance and customise the Platform through further commercial deployments.

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