Current method of policy making
Rules and regulations are drawn up from the point of view of the organization and policy areas of the government. However, citizens and businesses do not operate according to this classification. They do engage in activities affecting different governments and policy areas. As a consequence, citizens and companies are confronted with a large number of rules and regulations for a relatively simple activity. In practice this means even meeting the rules for a relatively simple activity can easily become a complex issue. How to resolve this? We suggest underlying policy should be made transparent.
The need for transparency
It is very possible to disclose large quantities of complex regulations to all involved users in a transparent and clear manner. This offers several advantages. When all laws and regulations are transparently accessible, context-specific and tailor-made:
- Citizens are better served.
- Companies comply to rules more efficiently and effectively.
- Civil servants are better enforced.
- Governments have a better understanding of the mutual coherence of the rules, which benefits the applicability and enforceability of these rules.
The government is bound to many rules. This means processes tend to be rigid and there is no room for exceptions or personal situations. Even though personalization is becoming increasingly important in today’s society. When it is chosen to automate as much as possible, room is created for exceptions and personal considerations. In that way, large crowds can be handled through a fully automated process, so there is time left to deviate from the rules. To make this reality, you need to start modelling legislation. When legislation is made, there is a need for a model of society describing how it should behave. Ergo: if situation X exists, it should only be possible under conditions Y and Z. Such a semantic model can be made with professional tooling and has several advantages:
- Analysis can be made at any point in time.
- Impact can be automatically measured.
- Other laws and regulations that are of significance are immediately recognized.
- Practical situations (events) can easily be translated into applicable rights and obligations, so that citizens and companies no longer have to solve the integration problems of the government.
One language to rule them all (citizens and government)
In order to actually apply automated policies, an underlying system or database is essential. One of the main requirements is definitions are the same for all domains and policy areas. When definitions deviate, it means people regularly have to record new ones, resulting in extra costs and a loss in transparency. Several government agencies are dealing with the same legislation and when they do use the same definitions, they speak the same language. This also has an effect on citizens, who must be able to understand documents on legislation. In short, semantics are utterly important.
The Be Informed intelligent automation platform is at the base of several public sector solutions, such as Tax Administration, Permitting and Centralized Benefits. The result? Transparent policies, clear expectations of legislation and calculable impact. Agencies using the Be Informed platform automate as much as possible, while saving time and creating space to make exceptions for personal cases and spend their efforts in adding value to Education, Poverty reduction and Care.
In practice: Multi Benefit Solution
An example of the solution outlined above is the Multi Benefit Solution, developed by BearingPoint Caribbean with the Be Informed platform. BearingPoint Caribbean support governments to transform to a better, faster and smarter digitization of services. In the Multi Benefit Solution several regulations have been centralized, concerning several subjects such as housing, taxes, unemployment, social benefits, child benefits and health insurance. All social security regulations are compiled in one system, and interaction between citizens, employers and health providers is streamlined. In addition, beneficiary data is cross-checked to control compliance. Thanks to the Multi Benefit Solution, citizens now have a complete insight in their benefits and can access this through a user-friendly portal.
What is up next?
Today we discussed our view on the public sector from the perspective of policy making and automation. Next week we will highlight this subject from a citizen’s perspective. Stay tuned by signing up below or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to stay in the loop at all times.