How to better track versions and policy changes

How to better track document version history in the policymaking process

Maleka Momand May 26, 2023

“I’m often sharing a Microsoft Word document with over a dozen people for feedback and edits. By the time everyone shares their input, I’ve lost track of the right policy version and we’re way behind schedule.” This is a real quote from a Policymaking Coordinator we recently met with, and we have hundreds of other painful document version history control examples just like this. 

Policymaking requires a lot of input from stakeholders, whether they are subject matter experts or general counsel reviewing documents for legal efficacy. Trying to effectively collect feedback on policy changes in a timely manner from multiple team members can be an impossible task. That’s why Esper’s Policy Builder is designed to make policy version history control and collaboration effortless. 

Here are the four key ways Esper’s Policy Builder makes policy management and document collaboration easier for government agencies: 

1. Role-based permissioning for improved policy version control

The biggest drawback of document editing products like Microsoft Office is that they offer the same level of access to a document across stakeholders. But, let’s face it. Government agencies need more specific controls on an individual level for policy collaboration. For example, you may want Subject Matter Experts to have comment-only access, while General Counsel should have full edit permissions. 

The Esper platform offers robust permissioning to help you control the level of access team members have to a document. These permissions can be set up on an individual basis, and are easy to modify and update as team members come and go. 

By implementing more specific document editing controls, you’re able to control the level of noise in a document and ensure that no critical information is altered or deleted. 

Esper’s policymaking platform enables government agencies to manage document permissions based on department roles

2. Time-bound assignments to optimize the policy change process

Emailing out a Word document to a dozen colleagues isn’t the most effective or timely way to collect feedback on policies. With Esper’s task based-workflow, you can assign out review and editing tasks to individual colleagues with a discrete deadline. 

By breaking up a group review into smaller tasks, you’re more likely to ensure you get the feedback you need when you need it. Esper sends automated reminders for upcoming due dates and allows you to approve or reject feedback on policies.  

Discover how Esper empowers government agencies to digitize policy processes and reduce paper usage. Read our guide to paperless government

3. Saved snapshots for enhanced document version control

Most government agencies create multiple versions of a policy as it’s being workshopped. But these policy versions are easily lost in email chains and individual desktops. Esper offers you the ability to “Save a Snapshot” of a policy you’re working on it and easily revert back to it when needed. Document version history gives your team more visibility into policy changes. 

By modernizing your policymaking system with Esper, you can collaborate on multiple versions of policy at the same time without worrying about losing documents, comments, or edits. 

4. Comment logs for better visibility into policy version history

Traditional document editors allow you to leave comments in-line. Esper allows you to improve policy version control by creating a document-level comment log. For example, colleagues may have broader feedback about the document’s content that doesn’t make sense to leave in-line. Esper’s Comment Log allows you to easily track dialogue at the document level. This eliminates multi-threaded emails and ensures better visibility into document feedback. 

Esper’s policy document editor has a comment log feature

Want to see in action how to track document version history and get enhanced visibility into policy changes with Esper? Request a demo.

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