From laws to execution in an agile manner

Laws and regulations are everywhere, whether they come from outside (e.g. laid down in laws) or within the organisation (e.g. policy notes). After all, we live in a highly regulated world. In practice, laws and regulations are often complex to implement or comply with. Not to mention being able to demonstrate that you are complying with those laws and regulations. And then it is sometimes quite difficult and time-consuming to continue to comply with them day in and day out.

Knowledge models instead of being programmed away

Until recently, (legal) rules were deeply 'programmed' into the information systems of large organisations, with all the disadvantages this entailed for maintainability, for example. Nowadays, it is common practice to record these rules in such a way that they are easy to implement and maintain. The tendency is to model data, rules and processes arising from legislation and regulations in an integrated way.

This translation of legislation and regulations into integrated knowledge models is used as a specification for information systems. This results in more flexibility and manoeuvrability in the implementation of new or amended legislation, or, for example, the introduction of new policy.

It is difficult to get from legislation to information systems

To get from legislation to information systems, there is still some way to go. The translation of legislation and regulations into customer-oriented service and product requirements for the execution of processes and applications usually takes a lot of time. Bottlenecks are:

  • The (content of) services and processes cannot be systematically traced back to the laws and regulations.
  • The translation of laws and regulations into service and product requirements is a difficult process to manage. In many cases, the method is unclear, implicit and depends on the individual 'translator'. Usually, the analysis is done from the perspective of the individual discipline (legal, implementation or information science).
  • There is no adequate support to properly search laws and regulations or to adequately manage results in context.

Benefits of Law Analysis

Law analysis solves these bottlenecks. The approach offers the following advantages:

  • It promotes legal certainty for citizens and avoids unnecessary disputes and court proceedings.
  • It simplifies the implementation of laws and regulations in services and processes. In this way, (political) assignments and social wishes can be met more quickly.
  • It provides insight into the coherence of the complex of legislation and regulations. On this basis, generic and specific elements in processes and services can be (better) distinguished. This offers opportunities for reuse, not only within one organisation, but also between organisations.

For government organisations, Law Analysis has even more advantages:

  • It puts an implementing organisation in a better position to give feedback on proposed changes in legislation and regulations as part of ex-ante implementation reviews, thus contributing to the effectiveness and efficiency of implementation.
  • It makes government transparent. The government can show that what it does is in accordance with the democratically established laws and regulations. This also includes making visible the rules that offer the government discretion to do justice in special situations.

For government and business

The added value of a repeatable approach to designing the implementation of legislation and regulations lies in the possibility of transforming legislation truthfully, efficiently and in a timely manner into legitimate and meaningful services for citizens and businesses.

PNA has developed Wetsanalyse together with government organisations, but it is certainly not exclusively reserved for government organisations. Every organisation whose implementation is (largely) determined by laws and regulations can benefit from Law Analysis. That is why the approach is now also used by pension administrators and insurance companies.

What is law analysis?

Why is there law analysis?

What does law analysis look like?

When is legal analysis interesting for you?

Who is needed to carry out a law analysis?

What does it take to conduct a law analysis?

Meanwhile, many organisations are working successfully with Agile Law implementation. In 2021 that success will be crowned with a book. Agile implementation is fully supported by the iKnow suiteof PNA. suite of PNA.


Law analysis

Law analysis describes the approach to enable agile law execution. PNA wrote a book about it, together with the Dutch Tax Administration.


Bridge between legislation and ICT

Law analysis aims to build a bridge between two worlds: that of traditional lawmakers and lawyers on the one hand, and that of technicians, implementation experts, knowledge modellers and software developers on the other.


Dissecting legislation can prevent strange things from happening

Legislators and software developers do not speak the same language.


Agile law execution

Video playback


Tax talk - Agile law execution

A good discussion about how we can help you?

Law analysis is the step-by-step approach to make a good translation of legislation into implementation.

The approach describes how to tackle the initial interpretation of legislation (but also, for example, policy documents or internal regulations), how to describe it in such a way that it can be processed in the organisation's IT systems and how to record this knowledge in such a way that it can be used efficiently in the event of future changes.

Even without law analysis, laws, policies, regulations and the like are interpreted every day and then put into practice. But also every day, organisations have to check how something works and/or why. This can be done much more efficiently!

In addition, ideally this information should always be available. For example, if a policy change needs to be made or an information request needs to be answered.

Very diverse, just like the legislation on which it is based. You can recognise the result of Law Analysis mainly by 2 things: Annotations and Examples

Annotations are the references (see it as digital shading) in the original legal text, with which we indicate which piece of text forms the basis for a particular item in the law analysis scheme (see it as the 'colours' with which we shade). From such an annotated piece of text we can then record much more information, such as its interpretation by the various experts involved, the definitions of a certain term used in the text or a reference to yet another document or web page to better explain the annotated piece of text.

We use examples to check whether all the experts involved have the same interpretation and what the impact is of various combinations of practical cases. Without examples, you can talk about this for a long time but never determine whether it is really correct and that is exactly what we find important in the law analysis. That is why we make a lot of examples, which we also record as part of the analysis. So, at a later date, we can always see how something works and why.

Everyone in the Netherlands has to deal with legislation, including organisations of course. Large fines can be imposed if organisations fail to comply with the most recent legislation.
This leads to costly projects within organisations. Think of banks that took on large groups of Know Your Customer (KYC) employees in response to the fines imposed on ING, ABN AMRO and Rabobank, among others. These organisations are now facing major costs because the regulations were not correctly implemented at the time and they were therefore not performing their gatekeeper function correctly.

Also consider the consequences of not correctly complying with the AVG legislation; several organisations received fines for this.

With law analysis, we want to help organisations to be demonstrably compliant, both with the current legislation and when it changes.

The application of law analysis requires a 'multidisciplinary team'. After all, the correct interpretation of legislation requires experts from various fields. We advise organisations that are going to work with law analysis to have a team with at least of one or more lawyers, knowledge modellers, implementation experts with practical knowledge and software developers.

As for the 'what', of course a clear scope of the legislation to be analysed is needed, e.g. legal texts, policy documents, internal regulations or, of course, a combination of these.

In addition, we offer our iKnow tooling to efficiently record the results of law analysis and to make this knowledge as widely applicable as possible.