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Business Rules Boost to Centrelink

Centrelink is achieving major efficiencies using a rule-driven, interview-based system developed by Canberra software company RuleBurst (formerly known as SoftLaw).

CIO John Wadeson says the RuleBurst application implemented earlier this month - Customer Account Start-Up (CASU) - is already processing 10,000 of Centrelink's 16,000 new customers each week. CASU is a rule-driven, interview-based system, built from business rules rather than legislation using RuleBurst's specialist rules technology. It provides initial data capture for clients interacting with Centrelink offices and call centres.

One of the first Web-based customer systems implemented by Centrelink, CASU pre-populates the 35-page form for customers who have been in the system before (the majority, according to Wadeson), allowing staff to focus on details that have changed since last contact.

"We've found that to be a much more effective process because then the staff can focus with the customer on what's changed. It adds more value than just getting a form," Wadeson says.

The rules in the CASU application cover interview scripts for Jobseeker (NewStart/Youth Allowance) and Parenting Payment customers, catering for interviews with new customers, with existing customers, simple cases, complex cases, and transfers between the two types of Parenting Payment ("single" and "partnered").

CASU was developed by RuleBurst in partnership with Centrelink to assist in meeting the objectives of the Government's Australians Working Together (AWT) initiative and Centrelink's Business Transition Strategy. It forms part of a larger Centrelink initiative, known as Customer Account, aimed at revamping the way Centrelink deals with customer contacts.

"People who are unemployed, we now have to connect to the Job Network a lot quicker, so we had to change our business process and change our business process in support of this new way of doing business," Wadeson says.

Further expansion may see CASU used for Disability Support Pension payments in 2006.

SoftLaw changes its name to RuleBurst in August as it launched version 7, in Australia. The technology originated at the Australian National University in 1985 with work by researchers Peter Johnson and David Mead to develop a system to determine applicants' suitability for government entitlements. The global company is working to expand its presence in the US and the UK. The British office is already building a self-assessment tool for Britain's Inland Revenue that will allow staff and taxpayers to decide whether they are classed as employed, or self-employed, in a deal worth $4.5 million. That system is expected to have about 50,000 internal users and to be available on the internet.

Its software is also being used by the Ministry of Defence, which is expected to go live in next month with a tool to assess war veterans' compensation claims.

In Australia, RuleBurst has developed a legislation assessment tool for Treasury and a tool for the Board of Tax to use as it simplifies the Tax Act. Consulting giant Deloitte last month launched an online anti-money laundering (AML) compliance tool, Deloitte AMLcheck, powered by RuleBurst, to helps banks, non-bank financial institutions, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and other businesses impacted by AML regulations, to cost effectively meet their key AML compliance obligations.

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