Irving, Texas by the Numbers
Irving, Texas, located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, has a thriving business community. It’s the headquarters of five Fortune 500 companies and 8,500 other businesses—many of which have relocated to the City in the past decade.
The City of Irving receives an average of 250 new records requests every month. The City Secretary’s office found that their spreadsheet-based tracking system was not working well for the City… and it wasn’t working for their requesters, either.
Deputy City Secretary Jennifer Phillips understood that a streamlined citizen experience helps build government trust. So after an intensive investigation, the City adopted JustFOIA to create a more convenient and transparent request process.
Click the toggle buttons to learn about the requester experience before and after JustFOIA—plus Jennifer’s favorite time-saving tip!
Requesters submitted through email, fax, snail mail, phone, or in person. If they didn’t provide all the necessary information, responses were delayed.
JustFOIA forms make it easy for requesters to provide all the information needed to fulfill the request.
If a requester wanted to know the status of a request, they would have to call in and often get transferred from one department to another to find out what was going on!
JustFOIA bakes transparency into the process since requesters can track the status of their requests online. Or if they do call in, anyone with admin rights can check on it for them.
Requesters had to pay by check or physically come to the office to pay by credit card.
Requesters receive an itemized invoice and pay through a secure online portal.
Because so much of their process was manual, it was easy for requests to slip through the cracks and take a long time to fulfill.
Automated processes mean that requesters receive responses faster.
In the case of a high-profile event, many media outlets would request the same documents simultaneously. They would then have to wait for the City to fill each individually.
The City proactively releases high-interest records through the Public Portal. Anyone can access these records as soon as they’re published.
The City would have to send multiple emails or a thumb drive for large files.
Requesters receive an email with a link to download the responsive documents.
City Secretary’s Favorite Time-Saving JustFOIA Features
While Jennifer’s team focused heavily on citizen experience when choosing a solution, they also needed a solution that reduced the hands-on, manual processes happening on the back end!
Two features she loves? Automated reminders and easy-as-pie redaction.
“Before, we had to email the request to the correct departments to compile the records and respond, then constantly follow up with the departments to make sure they responded in a timely manner,” she explained.
Now, she routes the request to the correct department from a drop-down menu, and JustFOIA’s automated reminder emails take care of the rest. Plus, she can see the status of all requests on a single screen to ensure they’re moving through the process.
JustFOIA’s redaction tool is another of Jennifer’s favorites. She is dealing with email records used to be a hassle because of the State of Texas’ requirement to redact personal email addresses. Eliminating each address from a vast PST file housing hundreds of emails was no easy task. But with JustFOIA, she or the legal team can redact automatically based on keywords or patterns that identify email addresses.