Do multidisciplinary approaches enhance policy implementation?

Published on: 01/04/2020
Last update: 02/04/2020

In the context of its work, the Legal Interoperability Team of the European Commission (EC) studied inspiring practices around the world of considering interoperability in policy-making (e.g. by Denmark, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN/CEFACT, the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail, and the World Bank, among others). This study revealed that one of the key elements to enhance interoperability and to create digital-ready and future-proof legislation is to embrace multidisciplinary approaches. More specifically, policy-makers should involve, as early as possible, a well balanced multidisciplinary team including those stakeholders who will implement the policy including for instance business analysts, enterprise architects, domain specific experts.

This finding is in line with the Legal Interoperability Team’s experience gained through the interoperability screening of upcoming EC proposals, which latter are published on the EC Have your say site. Thanks to the screening, the Team identified several new initiatives, which could benefit from tailor-made IT or data advice. In most of the cases, the policy officer in charge of the proposal welcomes the new ideas and the cooperation with experts from other domains.

The European Interoperability Framework also reflects the need for multi-disciplinarity in its recommendation for a holistic approach by defining four different views of interoperability: legal, organisational, semantic and technical. To translate this into a practical example, policy-making activities involving public services should consider different groups of stakeholders. This could include, among others, lawyers, policy officers, service managers, data scientists, IT architects, engineers, etc. Hence, these stakeholders should be working with the subject matter experts, as early as possible in the policy cycle and involved in shaping the various policy options. In the case of the EC, this should happen at the stage of the roadmap – announcing the upcoming proposal – and during the impact assessment. Such approach would foster interoperability and allow a smoother implementation of the policy.

What is your opinion and experience on this topic? Do you know any examples or good practices of multidisciplinary policy-making activities to share?


Sat, 02/05/2020 - 12:29

It is an important topic and I am convinced (business) analysts can add rigour in the requirements elicitation process. For publicly accessible work on the VAT area, I co-authored in which has an ex-post focus, yet many ideas illustrated might as well be relevant ex-ante, that is alongside the regulatory impact assessment.