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Responding to public records requests: assess your current effectiveness

Brenda Dodd | July 17, 2018

Are you struggling to meet the ever-increasing demands of public records requests?  Not sure, where your agency stands when compared to “best in class” processes when it comes to public disclosures?  Answer these five questions and find out now!

 If the number of public records requests doubles next month, we are prepared to handle them.

A. Yes! Bring it on!

B. It would be a challenge, but we should be able to handle it.

C. I’m concerned. I don’t think we have the resources for this.

D. Are you kidding? We can barely handle the requests we have now!

We can quickly and easily search and collect responsive information.

A. No problem.

B. It’s not quick or easy, but I think we can find the responsive information.

C. Only if we are lucky and we get cooperation from the data custodians.

D. Help! I don’t know where to start!

I am worried about reputational damage to the agency because of errors in the disclosure process.

A. No, not all at, we can effectively identify and redact sensitive information in a timely manner.

B. Sometimes, depending on the request.

C. I don’t know if I can find all sensitive information let alone redact it all in a timely manner.

D. I live in constant fear of inadvertent disclosures and missed deadlines.

Our Public Disclosure Officers work in a coordinated and efficient manner to handle the increasing number of FOIA requests.

A. Yes, our Public Disclosure Team has it covered!

B.  Sometimes coordination between officers or departments is a challenge.

C. We don’t have a way to coordinate between departments.

D. Public Disclosure Team? We don’t have a team of Public Disclosure Officers. We don’t even have a primary PDO!

My IT department understands the special requirements there are for handling public records requests.

A. Yes, IT completely gets it and are key in our success!

B. IT can usually get us the data and help with disclosure, but it’s not always easy.

C. It can be a challenge to get IT to help us.

D. No one knows where the data is, let alone how to get it.

Scoring:  A = 1 point; B = 2 points; C = 3 points; D = 4 points

Evaluating your Scores:

Scores

Total Score 1-5 (Optimized)

Congratulations! You are ready for action! We’d love to hear more about your successful FOIA/Public Disclosure Workflow and Tools.

Total Score 6-10 (Integrated)

It sounds like you have some challenges. You have a good start, but could probably save time, money and headaches with some improvements to your FOIA/Public Disclosure Workflow.

 Total Score 11-15 (Managed)

You are skating on thin ice and spending too much time and money on a risky disclosure process.

Total Score 16-20 (Ad-Hoc)

Wow! You are in big trouble. Call ZyLAB ASAP and learn how we can help!

Join Brenda Dodd and Jay Schneider in their upcoming webinar on July 31st to help you to assess the current effectiveness and areas of improvement of your agency’s public records request disclosure process.

 

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Written by Brenda Dodd

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