With the public asking for more access to records requests and government demands increasing in a post-COVID world, how are counties, cities and state governments responding?
Many are choosing to use an enterprise content management (ECM) system to make paperless records and available electronically so they can:
- Meet public record requests efficiently & timely
- Track formal requests & maintain confidentiality
- Implement these practices with remote staff
Transform Public Records Requests Electronically
Those of us who work in government know that we have divisions, departments, and offices – with many different and often separate areas – that do the work every day. But to our constituents, we are just “the state,” “the county” or “the city,” and when they request public records, they do not see the departments we manage behind the scenes. In fact, the documents they request are stored and maintained by many different staff and offices, which presents difficulties in identifying, locating and assembling the documents that meet each request.
This is the problem with physical paper files – government creates, files, and stores documents, and eventually destroys them. It’s time to go paperless and digitize these records. Eliminate the costs associated with paper documents to speed up and improve the tools at your disposal to retrieve and assemble public records.
With an ECM solution, digitizing records and storing them is shared by the entire government enterprise, which means searching in ONE place to find them. This has significant benefits in terms of long-term cost savings and efficiency in meeting the requests of our citizens. As we reassess seemingly everything in this climate of business continuity, budget and staff reductions, and remote workers, the method of storing and retrieving public records needs transformation; and fortunately, the answer has already been proven with Naviant’s OnBase Public Records Request Solution.
Track & Fulfill Requests
With pressure to complete requests within legal requirements and compliance standards, tracking formal public records requests evolved from paper to spreadsheets. Manual systems were put in place to track when the request arrived, who’s compiling records, who’s requesting them, when they are due, etc. However, these manual methods can be eliminated – along with the extra work of logging entries – by letting workflow automation route requests, track and report on fulfillment timeliness, compile the documents into packets, redact confidential information, and securely deliver electronically to the requestor. Staff is notified of new requests and those in need of immediate attention. That way, deadlines are easily met without worrying about fines or other penalties for noncompliance.
Use Self-Serve Portals for 24/7 Access
Now that your records are available in a digital format, you can utilize self-service options provided by an ECM solution. For more casual, unauthenticated public searches – things like board agendas and minutes, contracts and court documents – records can be made available through a search function on your website. With more formal requests made like those under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Sunshine Law, or other Open Records Request Laws, an electronic form on your website easily collects these requests, reducing phone calls to your staff while providing 24/7 options for requestors. Then, the electronic form automatically routes through your review and fulfillment process with timers to ensure that no requests slip through the cracks and all needs are met within legal timeframes.
Digital records transparency allows you see through the paper to support public records efficiently and conveniently while expanding the services you offer constituents. Now that’s getting more done with less!
Learn more today by contacting Naviant’s Government team of experts at 888.686.4624.