Redefining Legislative Drafting: The Role of Akoma Ntoso

Strategic Partners



The adoption of the Akoma Ntoso standard signifies a significant shift in the legislative drafting process, showcasing the potential for modern digital technologies to revolutionise traditional practices. This international standard for legislative documents, represented in an XML format, enhances both the accessibility and interoperability of legislation. This essay will analyse the inherent challenges, the strategies recommended for implementation, and the wider impact of adopting Akoma Ntoso for legislative drafting.


Starting Small


The intimidating complexity of legislation often leads to an apprehensive view of transformations in its drafting and creation processes. In light of this challenge, a key recommendation for those embarking on this journey is to begin with small-scale projects. This contrasts with the common government approach of replacing an entire legacy system with a large-scale, comprehensive project. Instead, the focus should be on creating a proof of concept or a minimum viable project that provides demonstrable value. For example, this could involve creating a simple amendment or implementing a system that can record detailed track changes to legislative documents.


Onboarding Change and Demonstrating Value


The transition to the Akoma Ntoso standard isn’t merely about swapping one system for another; it necessitates a transformation of organisational culture and the buy-in from all stakeholders involved. A suggested approach is to identify a small subset of users within the organisation who can champion this change, thereby fostering wider acceptance.


Demonstrating the tangible benefits of using Akoma Ntoso as the drafting standard is critical to gaining this acceptance. These benefits can be illustrated in various ways, such as showcasing how the standard can help generate simple amendments or track detailed changes to legislative documents.


Scaling Up


Following the successful implementation of a small-scale project and the demonstration of its value, the next recommended step is to scale up. This involves incrementally integrating more complexity into the process, based on a firm foundation of a small but valuable change. This gradual process is pivotal in mitigating risks associated with the transition and overcoming resistance to change.




Embracing the Akoma Ntoso standard involves more than just a technological shift; it requires an organisational culture and process transformation. The principles of starting small, gradually onboarding change, and scaling up incrementally form the backbone of a successful transition. This journey presents challenges, but it also offers significant opportunities to enhance the efficiency, transparency, and interoperability of legislative drafting. Ultimately, the Akoma Ntoso standard paves the way for a more digitised and streamlined legislative landscape.

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