Integrating a systems approach into Defra

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Defra’s Systems Research Programme, launched in 2019, has been applying systems methods across the organisation to support complex decision making.

The outcomes of the programme have revealed the many benefits of applying systems approaches to Defra’s work. These include:
-facilitating policy join-up
-mitigating negative unintended consequences of policy decisions
-enhancing the robustness of Defra policy

This document is inspired by the findings and insight acquired by the Systems Research Programme to date. It has been carefully designed to:
-highlight the value and ongoing need for systems thinking in Defra
-raise awareness of systems tools and methods that are applicable to Defra
-encourage the use of systems methods which can support and enhance the work of
Defra colleagues across the network

Defra network colleagues and policy makers can refer to this document to:
-familiarise themselves with the key principles of systems thinking
-improve their awareness of ‘systems approaches’
-explore how systems approaches may be applied to their own work and to Defra
decision making

The primer can be used with or without prior systems experience. Its content and language has been loosely defined to encourage user interpretation, broaden applicability and optimise opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication
Commissioning bodyDEFRA
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2022


  • systems research
  • Policy

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