Modernize your policy making system

Should you modernize your policymaking system?

Maleka Momand March 15, 2023

Tired of hunting down old files or chasing down the next step in your policymaking process? Or perhaps you are looking for faster ways to research and compare policies? Wish you had an easy way to track policy attestation? Esper works with dozens of government agencies, and we can assure you—you’re not alone.

In this blog post, we go over the top pain points of policymakers across the nation. We’ll cover:

  • What is a policymaking system?
  • How to spot the signs that your policy system needs help
  • How to get started modernizing your policymaking

Policymaking system: definition

The policymaking system refers to the processes, stakeholders and institutions involved in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies. Government officials, legislators, interest groups, advocacy organizations and residents all engage in various activities to influence the process of making policies. Types of policies include administrative regulations, guidance documents, security protocols, memos etc.

Legislative and executive branches of government work together to move the policymaking system forward. For example, bills are introduced during legislative sessions and, if they are signed into law, agencies have the statutory authority to start creating and administering regulations and policies to enforce new laws.

What are the principal components of a policymaking system?

The main components of the policymaking system include policy research, development, stakeholder engagement, administration and enforcement. Typically, the creation of a policy starts with the process of identifying issues with existing policies and seeking new, innovative solutions.

Eight stages of policy lifecycle

Each of these stages might pose specific pain points to policymakers. As part of the legislative process, for example, agencies need to quickly go through all the bills introduced during session to identify whether or not they would be impacted. This step requires tight communication and agility to turn around analysis and feedback. 

Other challenges, such as following the specific formatting of a policy text based on each jurisdiction, come up during the drafting phase.

Chuck Grindle, Ph.D., Former Chief Information Officer The Commonwealth of Kentucky

"In the 21st century, to require policymakers to be concerned about the formatting of content, instead of using a platform that can easily automate these tasks, is highly manpower-intensive and adds rudimentary time to an already very busy person."

Chuck Grindle, Ph.D., Former Chief Information Officer The Commonwealth of Kentucky
Chuck Grindle
Ph.D., Former Chief Information Officer The Commonwealth of Kentucky

Read our interview with former Kentucky CIO Chuck Grindle for more insights on how governments can modernize their policymaking system.

Watch out for these 10 pitfalls that can derail your policy management system

Difficulty in accessing policies, poor compliance, lack of version control, inefficient policy distribution and high administrative overhead are some of the challenges that policymakers face. Here are the 10 top signs that it’s time to modernize your policy management system:

  1. You still rely on paper, which creates organizational silos and inefficiencies. 
  2. You have a labor-intensive process for researching existing laws and regulations.
  3. You often have multiple versions of the same policy, so it’s difficult to know whether you’re working from the most up-to-date version.
  4. You struggle to efficiently format policy text in the proper way. 
  5. You can’t easily collaborate on a policy with a peer at the same time.
  6. You have manual processes to track policy ownership, deadlines and approvals, often leading to extended deadlines.
  7. You don’t have a system of record—a centralized place where all of your policies and regulations live so you can keep institutional knowledge.
  8. You can’t access policies remotely from any device, creating challenges for administration & enforcement teams that are more mobile.
  9. You have low quality citizen engagement or struggle to collect actionable feedback.
  10. You can’t track policy compliance or identify areas for improvement across your policy landscape because you lack metrics and analytics tools.

Watch our webinar on how governments leverage Esper to address the top pain points in their policy system.

How to modernize your rulemaking and policymaking systems

An end-to-end digital policy management platform helps you address these pitfalls of legacy policymaking systems. Here are some of our favorite features to modernize your policy lifecycle:

Collaborative drafting 

With a digital policy builder, multiple agency stakeholders can work simultaneously in the drafting process. Seamless collaboration, in fact, is a characteristic of digitally mature agencies, per PwC’s Journey to Digital Government 5.0 report.  

With Esper, a collaborative text editor enables you to tag a coworker to review any edits you’ve made. There’s no need to send copies through email and risk having multiple versions of the same policy. With our platform, you can also leverage policy templates so you start off with the right document formatting.

Screenshot of Esper's platform shows the ability to collaborate when creating or editing government policies

Alerts and tracking

Task-based workflows make it easier to track the progress of policy development. An administrator can configure alerts to be triggered instantly based on any change in the policymaking — but you can also receive the notifications daily or weekly if it’s your preference. For example, you can receive an alert when you need to approve clearances. 

This type of workflow automation helps to reduce administrative overhead and accelerate the time it takes to introduce a new policy. In fact, improved compliance, accuracy, productivity and cost savings are benefits that have contributed to the rise of process automation, per Deloitte.

Interested in government automation? Discover how to leverage policymaking software to automate workflows and ease administration change.

Policy library 

A policy library provides a unified source of truth for your policies, enabling government stakeholders access from any device while out in the field. Another benefit of having a centralized location for all your policy documents is that you can better retain institutional knowledge.

See our guide on how to build a modern policy library.

Public comment management

Gartner predicts that, by 2024, more than 30% of governments will leverage engagement metrics to monitor both the amount and quality of citizen participation in policy and budgetary choices. A modern platform can also streamline the process of gathering and analyzing public comments on policies. By law, agencies have to collect public feedback on proposed regulation. 

With Esper, governments can capture, categorize and group comments, making it easier to manage public engagement on policies. 

Digitize your policy system with Esper 

Esper is on a mission to be the system of record for policy in government. We can help your agency modernize with the help of our suite of policy workflow and management tools. 

To find out how your modern policymaking system would look like with Esper, schedule a custom demo now.

Frequently asked questions

Why is policy research important in the policymaking system?

Policy research is important to policymaking because it provides policymakers with the information and evidence they need to make informed decisions. Researching regulations involves combing through outdated government websites to identify how other governments are administering policy on different subject areas. 

We often see our customers use Esper’s research tools to identify best practices and model policies across the United States that they want to adapt for their own agency. Read our guide on government regulation and explore all the ways Esper simplifies regulatory research.

Does Esper support rulemaking and policymaking? 

Yes! Our customers uses Esper’s software to create administrative regulations following their state’s mandated APA process. Additionally, Esper’s Policy Builder enables our customers to easily create and publish agency policies (employee handbooks, security protocols etc.) from one source of truth. Our aim is to be the system of record for agency regulations and policies.

How long does it take to implement Esper?

It takes from 2-5 months to implement Esper. Once your agency’s contract with Esper is finalized, there’s a 1-3 month discovery and implementation process. During this period, your business processes are configured within Esper and your staff receives hands-on trainings.

See the Product Esper is streamlining policymaking for agencies
across the U.S.

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