Invest and Save Now AND Later On Staffing, Litigation, and Materials

With GovQA’s Crisis-Ready FOIA Solution

Your budgets may be slashed; but your FOIA backlog and the threat of litigation aren’t going anywhere.  

Now more than ever, in this time of Covid-19, you need a solution to respond to urgent requests that securely supports remote work and helps your agency recover out-of-pocket costs; a system that pays for itself.

3 Ways to Save On FOIA Costs With GovQA

Staffing: Reallocate Resources

You can add headcount to address your backlog; but people are expensive (the average FTE with pension and benefits costs $50,000). What you really need to solve all these problems is modern technology — so you can do MORE with LESS:

LESS FUTURE STAFF
needed
means MORE FTE SAVINGS, even when request volumes go up (and they were already going up 20% every year before Covid*).


LESS PAPER and OTHER MATERIALS

by moving intake forms and records online; means less time wasted pushing papers and burning disks resulting in
MORE SPEED and MORE SAFETY by reducing paper handling too 

LESS DOWNTIME
by moving your data to the secure cloud so your staff has
MORE ACCESS from anywhere they have Internet, anytime.

LESS CONFUSION AND COMMUNICATION GAPS
using technology for real-time delegation, notifications and online interactions for faster,
MORE CENTRALIZED AND STANDARDIZED exchanges, especially when tasks are several layers deep across multiple departments (plus, you can automatically collect a defensible audit trail using technology too)

LESS MANUAL WORK
frees staff for
MORE IMPORTANT WORK

The time your staff used to spend making copies and walking down the hall to gather records can be reallocated to more important work that requires critical thinking. And, by moving to the secure cloud, your staff can work remotely on any schedule that suits your operations. Plus, with your process streamlined, you greatly reduce your need for future staff increases.

Litigation: Mitigate Risk of Lawsuits and Fines

GovQA data is showing that post-COVID-19 request volumes are increasing by more than 20%. These increases are creating 4 new floods with potential litigation costs of thousands to millions of dollars:

Requests are coming from new requester sources (and national researchers) who’ve never submitted a FOIA request before. So more time may be needed in requester communication and clarification – increasing the risk of missed deadlines and exposure with higher profile requests.


Requests are increasing in complexity. Agencies are being asked to compile COVID data and reports that require collaboration with numerous parties. Dispersal of information doesn’t equate to the dispersal of responsibility, liability, or risk. 

Increased amounts of PII (sensitive personally identifiable information) are requiring extensive redaction to prevent expensive litigation.

Numerous reports have indicated that data theft and cybersecurity threats are on the rise as a result of the pandemic.

Non-compliance penalties and fines can be assessed for missed deadlines and improper handling of FOIA requests. And attorneys fees and costs — even criminal charges are possible — for non-compliance, the release of PII, or data theft damages. When your FOIA process is manual, your exposure to non-compliance risk is high.

When you modernize, you get deadline counters and automated workflows that make it much easier to respond on time. Plus, you gain improved redaction control, and automated, defensible tracking logs that prove you followed the law. These are all reasons why risk mitigation is another powerful benefit of modernizing your FOIA process with GovQA.

LESS LITIGATION
and fines resulting from missed deadlines, accidental release of PII, and data theft with MORE SECURITY and REAL-TIME TRACKING

Recent FOIA Litigation News Stories

Lawsuits About State Actions and Policies In Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Read More

Colorado Health Department Missed Deadline to Provide Coronavirus Records

Read More

Huntington Beach, CA Will Sue OVER Gov Newsom’s Order to Close Beaches

Read More

Materials & Time: Recover Costs

There are three big reasons you may be incurring material and time costs related to FOIA:

Public records kept on paper and physical storage media like CDs, DVDs, and thumb drives (take extra time to dig up; require you to spend money on blank media, and are inaccessible when working remotely. This creates backlogs during a crisis when records can’t easily be reviewed and included in responsive packets)


Requesters may require you to
deliver responses on paper or physical storage media (because they just want it that way; or because they do not have access to online retrieval methods)

Time may be charged to your agency by external parties like programmers for compiling responsive electronic records, and by attorneys for reviewing and/or redacting files

With GovQA, you can reduce all of these costs – and, if allowed by law, recover a big chunk of them. If your state allows you to charge for those materials and the time to prepare responses, you should be charging to help recoup those expenses

LESS MATERIALS EXPENSE
when you post responses to the portal (and for those requesters still requiring paper or CD/DVD/thumb drive responses, MORE COST RECOVERY when you add invoicing/payments). Many agencies spend $10,000 or more a year on materials costs.

What can you do to Fast Track your FOIA savings?

Try our self-serve ROI calculator to get your baseline savings for purchasing GovQA.

See examples of ROI savings with GovQA at other agencies like yours by downloading our free datasheet.

Request a one-on-one walk-through of our detailed, multi-department spreadsheet with a GovQA ROI specialist for more specifics.

Use COVID funding to purchase a solution that will serve you way beyond this crisis. GovQA has bundled four specialized COVID tools to address the 4 storms you’ll be facing in the coming weeks and months.

The solution comes with accelerated onboarding to get up and running in the secure government cloud within 7 days. And the best part is that many agencies can use CARES Act funds to pay for it.

Use COVID-19 Funds

Never Thought About the Cost of Public Records This Way Before?

Inefficiencies and lawsuits can be expensive. Save time and money with the cloud-based GovQA software platform that centralizes, standardizes, and simplifies the exchange of all types of government records and information requests. 

GovQA can help you answer the call…for answers. And put money back into your budget.

What did we learn from the Covid-19 shutdowns?

We’re still nowhere near the other side of the crisis. But we already know that the shutdowns created mountains of backlogged manual tasks because outdated government workflow processes from the last century are incompatible with remote work.

  • Reliance on paper = inaccessible intake forms and records 
  • On-prem software = inaccessible software off-prem
  • Decentralized staff = lack of smooth collaboration on complex requests
  • Reliance on physical storage media like CDs, DVDs, thumb drives = inaccessible records and lack of materials to create responsive packets while working from home

In this new normal, state and local governments need agile technology that pays for itself by supporting teleworking and allowing access to urgent, essential data for action, analysis, and future crisis planning. Our ROI calculators can help you justify the costs for your immediate Covid-related needs…and the future of your agency.

Download Our ROI Datasheet

Staff, litigation, and materials are expensive. See how GovQA can save you time and money with the cloud-based GovQA software platform that centralizes, standardizes, and simplifies the exchange of all types of government records and information requests.  Datasheet is based on WA JLARC data.

The Peers in Public Records Newsletter (formerly FOIA News) is a bi-monthly e-newsletter brought to you by GovQA. It is a collection of the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives, shared stories, live roundtables, informative case studies, and actionable knowledge that will help you calm the chaos and keep your organization compliant. Send your comments to peers@govqa.com.

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