Looking for a Better Way to Manage Your Public Records Requests?
Here’s a FREE Excel spreadsheet you can start using today to track PRR progress and deadlines.
Download Template and Add Requests
When your request volume starts to increase, how can you make sure no requests fall through the cracks? Many state and local governments start with a simple spreadsheet like the one available for download here. At GovQA, we’ve seen hundreds of spreadsheets like these – some better than others. We’ve compiled the elements that worked best for our customers (before their volume and complexity required our more robust solution). We hope this template is helpful; and when the volume or complexity of your requests outgrows this template, give us a call for next steps in your PRR journey!
- Download the free template.
- Enter each of your requests into the spreadsheet; along with date received and requester information.
- Calculate the initial and final response deadlines (per your state laws) and enter these in green.
- Determine if a request will require redaction or legal review and enter these milestones into the spreadsheet.
Using the Excel Spreadsheet – Best Practices
The processing columns of the template are where you’ll do most of your tracking. Update the status of each request as it changes. When a request is completed, use color-coding and the strikethrough tool to simplify your view.
- Make it a habit to open this spreadsheet and update each request daily or more frequently as needed.
- Change the date colors to red when requests are nearing or past due.
- Use the processing columns to enter the current responsible party and notes as well as materials and time fees (where applicable).
- When requests are complete, use the strikethrough tool to show at a glance that these are done.
- Move completed requests to the “Logged Requests” worksheet for easier reporting if desired.
Upgrading to Automated Workflows
Manually tracking complex, voluminous public records requests is stressful. When spreadsheets just aren’t working for you anymore, GovQA offers a better way to stay compliant and avoid litigation. Here’s how GovQA can help:
- Intake: a public portal simplifies intake with deflection technologies to allow citizens, journalists, and other government agencies to self-serve. If they find what they need on the portal, you avoid creation of an official public records request. When this happens, request volume goes down! If the request is submitted anyway; GovQA’s automated workflows make processing easy…
- Vet: an admin portal simplifies request clarification with templates; allows linking of duplicates to be processed together; automatically routes requests internally; and makes time and materials estimates a breeze.
- Gather & Track: GovQA automates delegation of information gathering tasks from backend systems (with no file size limitations). Reminders and notifications keep everyone on time. Plus, you can securely transfer files between anyone inside our outside your organization; generating an audit trail every step of the way.
- Review: Powerful in-tool redaction provides and unbroken audit trail and makes it easy to perform text searches and pattern matching with annotations to hide sensitive data and a full exemption log.
- Respond: Configurable templates ensure consistent responses. Securely release files back to the public portal with no file size limitations. Get alerts when responses are received and viewed.
- Report: Dashboards and a robust reporting suite ensure you have all the data you need when you need it.
Ready for the next step? Contact GovQA for a demo today!
Get the Template — FREE Public Records Request Tracking Excel Spreadsheet
Download our free public records request tracking spreadsheet to help you log and track requests. Use it as long as it’s helpful. When you’re ready to upgrade to an automated solution, give GovQA a call!