Department of Veterans’ Affairs prepares for computerised decision-making

Legislation to smooth DVA’s path to digital transformation

The government has moved to introduce legislation that will lay the basis for a significant digital transformation at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA).

A new bill would potentially allow computerised decision-making relating to the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988.

The decisions would otherwise be made by the Repatriation Commission or Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC.)

Veterans’ affairs minister Dan Tehan yesterday introduced the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Digital Readiness and Other Measures) Bill 2016.

The bill will make DVA “digitally ready in line with the government’s broad digital transformation agenda,” a spokesperson for the department told Computerworld.

“The bill will create a legal basis for future computerised decision-making that will automate and streamline some existing processes,” the spokesperson said.“DVA will incorporate this capability as it rebuilds its information and communications technology into the future.”

The proposed legislation will enable the department’s secretary to arrange for applications to make decisions and determinations, exercise powers or comply with obligations and “do anything else related to making decisions or complying with obligations”.

“In anticipation of planned business and ICT reforms that will reduce claims processing times and automate and streamline existing processes, amendment is required to provide a sound legislative basis for computerised decision-making,” Tehan told parliament yesterday.

DVA’s reform program will “significantly improve services for veterans and their families by re-engineering DVA business processes,” the minister said.

A number of other legislative changes are contained in the bill, including allowing information in some circumstances and technical updates to the VEA.

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