Towards automating complex legislation updates

Thursday, 10 November 2011, 13:07.

TSO publishes legislation in all formats for The National Archives under the contract to capture, transform and disseminate legislation. This includes the legislation.gov.ukopens in new window website.

As part of this service we are working closely with The National Archives team to update the system for consolidation of legislation. The Expert Participation Model (Participation), is a complex project using many cutting edge technologies and techniques.

One aspect of the editorial process has always been very manual. That is, identifying the changes to existing legislation that occur as part of new legislation. It is very common for new UK legislation to change existing legislation, often in very complex and subtle ways. Processing these changes is a very time consuming process. In order to improve the (presently manual) processing, one of the main strands of activity within the Participation project is to automate the extraction of the changes that new legislation makes to existing legislation. New legislation is published every working day so our objective is to process the new documents as they are loaded.

The new process uses TSO’s Data Enrichment Serviceopens in new window to identify where new legislation changes existing legislation. The changes are presented in an easy to understand format saving the team hours spent scanning legislation manually.

This is one way in which TSO’s OpenUp platform can be used to process text and extract additional information from that text, using a solution that can be self-updating and easily accessed over the web.

Participation is perhaps the most sophisticated example to date of the use of the multiple facilities within the OpenUp platform. It is exciting because the output has clearly identifiable productivity benefits.

You can read a more detailed technical blog which explains more about the OpenUp platform technologies used to build the Participation tool for The National Archives on our OpenUp website.