Policy Systems: The Integration of Information Technology into Policy Analysis, Planning, and Program

Date of Original Version



Working Paper

Abstract or Description

We define a policy system to be a collection of hardware, software, communication technologies, persons, procedures, protocols, and standards driven by and for the purpose of advancing a public organization’s mission in regard to policy analysis, planning, and program evaluation decisions. While policy systems already exist in practice, we believe that they have not been identified and studied as a separate, distinguishable area of information systems. They have components and patterns of use that could benefit governments of all levels in carrying out policy making. We propose principles for building policy systems, identify their components, discuss how they address the complexities of policy making, illustrate them with several examples including our own policy system built for a local government agency, and distinguish them from related systems such as management information systems, decision support systems, and collaboratories.