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For our second episode we’re breaking down Rules as Code, an approach to creating and publishing policies in a machine readable way


In this episode we speak to the incredible Pia Andrews, who is currently working for Service Canada as well as Liam McCann from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Ram Parameswaran a Code for Australia Fellow, who are both working on a Rules as Code project.

To learn more about Rules as Code, check out the post below as well as the list of resources provided.

“If we want to improve trust, it shouldn’t just be about asking for trust, it should be about building trustworthy systems in a digital age, which means being transparent, appealable, and audit-able in real time across all of the gamut of services that the government provides.”


The full transcript of the episode is available here.


  • “Rules as Code actually dramatically improves your visibility and the personal empowerment of people who need to use and engage with government services.”
  • “It’s not about prescription versus discretion. It’s actually about both. Where you want to have consistency of application, use prescriptive rules, simple. Where you want to maintain discretion or a principles based approach, then use a principles based approach, but don’t assume that one or the other is going to replace everything because purely principles based doesn’t work and purely prescriptive based doesn’t work.”
  • “Just the mere process of attempting Rules is Code with a multidisciplinary team delivers huge benefits to all parties.”
  • “Breaking something down into really small chunks and demonstrating viability early and being able to demonstrate that viability by drawing on other people’s skills collaboratively is really, really vital to this process.”
  • “It’s always more difficult to transform process than to transform tech. Tech is easy. Once you get a basic level of technical skill, you can make a lot of stuff happen, but transforming the structures around government and really being able to influence how those structures manifest in programs, that’s way more difficult.”
  • “Rules as Code is not well-suited for everything, but where it is well suited it really has the potential to transform how government delivers services. In the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, I’ve seen that it’s really excited public servants and really made them motivated because of how transformational it is and how it allows them to really deliver a better service to the public.”
  • “My strongest recommendation is figure out what “good” looks like for you, and then be unrelenting in the pressure that you hold to the system around you. Because if you allow things to happen that you know are not in accordance with your values or ethics, then you are part of that problem.”


Want to be a guest on this podcast?

We’re always looking for folks working in civic tech and government to speak with about themes you’re encountering or work being done. If you’re keen to have a chat to us contact us at info@codeforaustralia.org

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