Picture this: You’re sitting in a staff meeting and your manager just throws this question at you: “Why is it so difficult for us to complete FOIA requests on time?” The city council is in the room, so it’s not just an easy answer. They want to talk about what steps are needed to improve their response times. Sound familiar? Let’s dive in and find the answer.
5 Steps to Speed Up Your Response to Public Records Requests
One solution for this is to use online forms with required fields – blanks that must be filled in before the requester can submit the form. You may still have someone occasionally type “IDK” in the response field. But this step does let requesters know what information they should provide in order to get the swiftest response, saving you time chasing it down.
It’s important to establish timelines and set service-level agreements (SLAs) with all staff involved in providing responsive records. When an employee is assigned a task and they don't know a deadline, it quickly becomes a second priority to other responsibilities. Ensure tasks are done on time by setting clear expectations for the timeline on each step of the process. And make sure that the third person understands that there are steps following their own!