The City has launched a new web-based software system to enhance Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) service to the public. The FOIA software system, which is now live and accessible through the City’s website, includes additional features and increased interactivity for users.
“With this new product, users can input a few key words and see, in real time, whether the information might already be available without filing an actual request,” said Management Analyst Aaron Stevens, who is the City’s primary FOIA Officer.
When a requester begins typing the text of their request into the search field, the system searches through prior requests to determine if a similar request has previously been received by the City. If a similar request has been received, a link to that information is sent to the requester including responses and available attachments. This feature will expedite the response process for many requesters who require information for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
“Users will now be able to track and view their requests virtually, along with the ability to search all other FOIA requests with attachments that the City has processed.”
The web-based FOIA software program is accessible via the City’s website and allows users to register for an account, submit FOIA requests, track all FOIA requests submitted and City responses, and monitor the progress of completion of their FOIA requests. The system also allows users to browse all FOIA requests previously submitted to the City, along with the published response and all responsive records.
The system also has the capability to provide links directly to the City website where information being requested may already be available. When a requester enters a description with keywords the system recognizes, a link will automatically appear to offer the user a direct link to where the records may already be provided on the City website.
“We are excited to provide this new capability to the community,” said City Manager Anne Marie Gaura. “It will make the user experience easier for the requester and the response process more efficient for staff responsible for FOIA requests.”
With the launch of the FOIA software, the email address used by the FOIA Officers (FOIA@cityofdekalb.com) has been discontinued. FOIA requests can now be submitted though the FOIA software public portal.
The web-based FOIA service can be found under the Quicklinks heading on the left- hand side of the homepage of the City’s website, and the Open Records Portal/Transparency page: http://cityofdekalb.com/252/Transparency.
Additionally, the City is offering one-on- one FOIA software system training to anyone seeking to submit FOIA requests. The training will be conducted either in-person or via a web-conference at a time that is convenient to the individual. Training sessions will provide individuals with further directions on accessing the FOIA Center, creating an account, submitting a FOIA request, and reviewing responses from the City. If you would like to schedule a training session please contact Aaron Stevens at 815-748- 2096 or email@example.com.