What is policy management

What is policy management?

Maleka Momand April 28, 2023

Policy management refers to the process of developing, implementing and evaluating policies from beginning to end. If your agency suffers from a slow and manual process to create and manage policies, you are likely spending unnecessary time and resources that are causing you to lose focus on higher priorities. A modern policy management system might be just what you need to streamline your workflows and ensure you’re getting the results you and your constituents want. 

In making the case for policy management software, this playbook series empowers government leaders like you to modernize administrative processes, break down organizational silos and improve transparency in the public sector. In this section, we look at the typical stages of the policy lifecycle and showcase how effective policy management can benefit your agency and the residents you serve.

Why government leaders should look for better ways to manage policies and regulations 

We regularly meet with agency leaders who are frustrated with the organizational silos and internal inefficiencies but don’t have a roadmap on how to improve the policy lifecycle. Investing in a good policy management platform can help increase collaboration, speed and effectiveness across your team. 

Legacy modernization is one of the key digital transformation trends in government. Gartner predicts that more than half of government agencies will have upgraded core legacy technology to boost agility and resilience. It’s a much-needed modernization, especially given that many agencies still rely on a burdensome, paper-based policymaking process. By digitizing and automating the way you manage policies and procedures, you can reduce the use of paper in government and accelerate what is a complex, time-consuming process. 

Read our blog post to learn all the benefits of a paperless government.

Key stages of the policy lifecycle management

With Esper’s policy management platform purpose-built for governments, agencies like yours were able to decrease by 25% the time needed to complete the policy lifecycle process. The average policy can take at least a year to complete because it involves a series of moving parts, stringent deadlines and layered stakeholders. Here are the key stages: 

  1. Legislative process. When bills are introduced, agencies need to quickly and effectively analyze them to understand if there’s any impact on their organization.
  2. Regulation and policy research. After a bill is signed into law, the agency needs to create regulations to administer and enforce compliance. Agencies then look for policies of interest. Esper, for example, offers a strong database of state and federal regulations and laws, enabling you to search by keywords, citation number, state and governing agency. 
  3. Policy drafting. The drafting process usually involves a lot of back-and-forths between different stakeholders to finalize the text of the policy, format it properly and include the required supporting documents. Esper’s Policy Builder empowers your team with a collaborative text editor, policy templates and task-based workflows. 
  4. Public comments. By law, agencies are required to put out a notice of proposed regulatory policies. Collecting and organizing feedback is often a struggle. With Esper, agencies can import, transcribe and group public comments from impacted residents. 
  5. Policy review. The next step is to get the necessary sign-off from the agency leadership. Esper offers a task-based workflow to assign and push tasks to relevant stakeholders for review and approval.
  6. Policy publication. Once a policy is finalized, governments typically have an official publication body that manages a public site where anyone can search for policies. With Esper, agencies can export policies in their desired format or publish directly within our Policy Library for increased benefits such as engagement and compliance metrics.
  7. Policy administration and enforcement. This work varies significantly according to the agency as it involves specific licensing, applications, fines, fees etc.
  8. Policy evaluation. This process involves assessing the effectiveness of a policy by analyzing its impact on various factors such as cost, benefits, environmental impact and other relevant aspects. Agencies often rely on feedback from external sources such as lobbyists and think tanks to evaluate the impact of their policies. 

For an in-depth look at these eight stages, download our white paper on the policy lifecycle.

8 different stages of the policy lifecycle

Government leaders need visibility into these different policy lifecycle stages to better track and evaluate the progress being made with the policymaking process. Esper can help with that. Our purpose-built tool for policymakers can be configured for any government stakeholder. We make it easier for agency directors to review and approve policies, follow policy management best practices and scale their policymaking process.  

That has been the case in the State of Iowa, which implemented standardized and automated policy lifecycle workflows across multiple agencies. Thanks to a partnership with Esper, stakeholders with the Iowa Professional Licensing and Regulation Bureau (PLB), Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals (DIA) and Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can now better track workloads and rulemaking progress. 

Read the complete case study to learn how the State of Iowa innovated the rulemaking process with Esper.

Understanding the economic value of an efficient policy lifecycle system

An automated policymaking system provides economic benefits to government agencies because it helps them to save time and resources by eliminating manual workflows. Consider these two ways Esper makes the policy management lifecycle more efficient:

  1. Esper creates a single source of truth for your policies. Centralized management makes it easier to onboard employees and collaborate on projects. When two employees can collaborate on a document at the same time, you save time and avoid having to deal with disparate versions of a document. 
  2. Esper enables you to better forecast resources. The platform provides a centralized dashboard that allows agencies to track the status of active policies and a filtered timeline view. With this information, agencies can improve resource forecasting, track team bandwidth and reassign projects based on workload, reducing administrative overhead.
Esper policy management software for government provides a timeline view of tasks based on rulemaking and people

Reaping the benefits of modern policymaking lifecycle management 

As a government executive, you are motivated to ensure your policies become a reality, so you can meet your agency’s mandate. Esper provides a centralized solution that gives you oversight of your entire policymaking lifecycle. We help you position your agency as modern, accountable and responsive to civic needs. 

In fact, many governments are taking active measures to clean up their administrative codes as part of their risk management strategies. You need to ensure your agency’s policies are up to date and reflect the latest federal and state guidance. With Esper, you can identify policies with repealed statutes, outdated references and upcoming expiration dates. 

Our platform automatically hyperlinks citations within the text of policies and will flag policies that cite repealed laws. By citing repealed statutes, the legal authority of the policy is in question and is a legal risk for the agency.

Improving government employee experience with technology

Equipping government workers with modern tools to do their jobs efficiently is critical to improving the employee experience, too. Higher job satisfaction contributes to increased staff retention and productivity. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, employee experience initiatives do have a positive impact on employee engagement (70%), productivity (64%) and organizational agility (61%).

Looking for other ways to invest in your team members’ success? Check out our blog post on how to inspire your team as a government leader.

Using Esper as your policy management software: Next steps

If you are evaluating how cloud-based policy management solutions could empower your agency’s workforce to get the results you need, connect with us.

We will meet with your team to understand the specific challenges you are facing and share how Esper’s solution can address them. In a live, interactive demo, we will walk you through Esper’s product and demonstrate specific features such as version control, collaboration features and workflow automation.

Next, we will address all the questions your CIO office might have, including security and compliance. We understand that they are responsible for vetting any government technology you bring in — we are happy to explain why Esper is the safe choice for agencies looking for policy management software.

Take the first step. Book a meeting with our team.

Frequently asked questions

Why is policy management important for government agencies?

Policy management is important for government agencies because it can help to improve the efficiency, compliance, accountability, collaboration and flexibility of the policy development and implementation processes.

What can policy lifecycle management software do?

Policy lifecycle management software can help governments streamline their policymaking process. For example, agencies can leverage this technology to: 

  • Automate tasks and notifications.
  • Encourage collaboration between stakeholders.
  • Provide secure, centralized storage for your policies. 

What is meant by legacy modernization?

Legacy modernization refers to the process of replacing or upgrading outdated, complex and often inefficient information technology (IT) systems and applications. This technology is typically built on outdated hardware, software and programming languages that may no longer be supported, making them difficult and costly to maintain, upgrade and secure.

Legacy modernization is one of the top State CIOs priorities for 2023, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). With legacy modernization, government agencies can streamline and modernize operations, increase efficiency, enhance security and compliance and improve citizen services.

What is an example of legacy modernization in government?

An example of legacy modernization in government is the move to the cloud, replacing or upgrading on-premises IT infrastructure. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Cloud-based systems can easily scale up or down to meet changing demand, allowing agencies to avoid costly over-provisioning of IT resources.
  • Moving to the cloud can help reduce the cost of maintaining and upgrading hardware and software, as well as the cost of IT staff required to manage and maintain legacy systems.
  • Cloud providers often offer advanced security features and compliance certifications that can help improve security and compliance with regulations.
  • Cloud-based systems can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier for government employees to work remotely and access important data and applications.
  • Cloud providers are constantly introducing new features and capabilities that can help government agencies take advantage of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), to improve services and operations.

Read our interview with former Kentucky CIO Chuck Grindle to learn how to move to a cloud-based policy management process.

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