Are Centralized Records Requests the Right Solution?

cartoon characters reviewing pros cons list

In our many years of working with local government agencies, one thing has become clear to us: clerks, records managers, and others genuinely want to provide transparency to the public. And timely, accurate fulfillment of public records requests is an integral part of that desire.

But cities and counties often take a decentralized approach to FOIA, where each department has a separate process for request intake and fulfillment. One department may have an online system for requests, but others still require requesters to fill out a paper form.

This allows each department to follow the processes that theyve found over time work best for them, but can create a confusing experience for requesters who might be less familiar with their governments inner workings.

Lets explore the pros and cons of a centralized model for public records requests.

Reputation Management

Centralization will lead to a faster and more transparent process for your citizen's experience.

A siloed approach to records management across your agency and departments can create resistance to change.

A configurable technology with seamless user experience provides flexibility to honor each departments workflow.  

Reporting and Oversight

No lost requests means tracking is simplified with one central process.

All departments must adopt the new process.

The right technology partner provides live implementation and ongoing training and support. At JustFOIA, our clients get a live, helpful, and friendly person from 8 am to 8 pm EST. We are your partner in driving adoption with monthly live training, quarterly product updates, and an immense library of on-demand content. 

Citizen Experience

Meet citizen expectations by providing a one-stop service.

Requesters need communication about the new process.

Exceed expectations by providing a seamless, transparent, digital citizen experience. JustFOIAs Public Portal, records requests form, and automated alerts offer requesters real-time, transparent, and timely communication. 

Security and Permissions

Easy to secure and optimize a repeatable process.
User permissions limit all access as needed.

Drive adoption of new security protocols.
Staff responsibilities may change permissions and access to records.

Our team is committed to maintaining a secure platform by providing rigorous threat monitoring, next-gen firewall protection, and industry certifications like CJIS Compliance Readiness and SOC2. JustFOIA is on the same cloud platform that the Department of Defense and other government agencies trust – Microsoft Azure Government Cloud. Robust permissions make role-based and granular permission controls a snap.

Benefits for All

In closing, no one-sized model will work for every agency. But a systemized approach powered by easy-to-use technology will drive benefits for all:

What Our Clients Say

“To go from paper copies to JustFOIA was a tremendous leap in productivity. Initially, we met with each department and showed them how to use JustFOIA. After that, there wasn't much heavy lifting from an IT standpoint.”
JustFOIA for K-12 Education
Misty Perry, Information Records Administrator, Ada County Highway District

Are you looking to improve how your agency or department manages records requests? Watch this personalized product tour to see how JustFOIA stacks up against your priorities.