Government Rules as Code (RaC)

BRCommunity.com just published “The Distilled Principles of Rules as Code (RaC): How to Produce Better Rules” by Pim Willemstein and Ronald G. Ross. RaC is an idea that addresses how law and regulations should be simultaneously produced in natural language and in working computer code. RaC can be distilled into six fundamental principles, and here are two of them:

Digital Twin. RAC prescribes a digital twin for government rules. Any rule for use by humans must also be available in a form usable by machines — one that is both readable and highly precise.
Why a digital twin of the rules? Historically, rules have been coded by siloed organizations, often ones outside government, who do their own interpretations. There is no way to ensure consistency of intent with dispersed implementations like this. For example, salary and holiday payments to employees might be digitally completed within payroll software. Payroll software, however, must comply with the rules in employment legislation. Without a digital twin there is no way to guarantee fidelity in the payroll software with the source rules from the employment legislation.”

Interoperability. RaC prescribes that rules rendered for machines should be independent of software platforms.
Government rules must be democratized and easily accessible. Citizens, entrepreneurs, social innovators, software developers, and the systems they develop should be able to “consume” the rules without having to translate the rules. This means considering open-source solutions and avoiding any vendor lock-in for platforms capturing the rules and making rules publicly available. Use of open and widely-accepted standards is a critical success factor for RaC.”

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