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Wednesday
Oct182017

Are You Ready for FOInado? Take these 4 Steps to Manage a Whirlwind of FOIA Requests.

Crises are defining moments for public agencies. How officials respond, react or retreat
leaves a trail of paper.
Every crisis, investigation or presumed activity–real or imagined–is subject to request
through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We call the increase of FOIA requests after a crisis or major event a “FOInado.”
When disaster strikes or a UFO is spotted, is your organization ready for the FOInado
that follows?

Here are 4 steps your organization can take now to manage the whirlwind. 
  1. Automated case tracking can keep you out of court

What if it takes an agency a year or more to respond to the request? Don’t expect sympathy, expect a lawsuit.

During a FOInado it is easy to get overwhelmed. Want to stay out of court over your backlog? A clear, documented and automated process for case tracking is your best defense. eFOIA software, like FOIAXpress®, automates the full lifecycle of FOIA from inquiry to archive. It speeds up the process and requires less resources—freeing up your staff and budget.

Automated case tracking creates an electronic trail and follows cases digitally from review to correspondence to submission, archiving and appeals. With allinformation in one place, there is no more confusion over who has the manila file folder or where responsive records are located.

Need to get ready for court? Avoid the probe by quickly generating litigation ready reports such as a Vaughn Index for Federal Agencies

  1. eDiscovery pays for itself

So, what happens when a FOInado results in combing through an entire inbox? Technology provides a simple, cost effective solution to solving this challenge.

eDiscovery apps that integrate with eFOIA software can drive the cost down to pennies and reduce processing time by up to 80%.

Apps, like FOIAXpress® ADR, identify duplicate documents and emails to create a manageable, clean report to review. The software enables users to quickly find responsive content and apply consistent redactions with the click of a button.

The app automatically creates audit logs for accountability as well as reports and graphic models. eDiscovery tools produce faster, more accurate reviews and takes the burden off of your team.

  1. eFOIA must include document management

The worst thing that can happen during a FOInado is not being able to find the document you need. Having a centralized electronic repository for current and past artifacts is critical to managing response loads.

FOIAXpress® goes beyond tracking to include workflows, digital tools and a complete system for creating, delivering and archiving responses. This means never opening another program or shuffling papers from person to person. 

Document Management sets the bar higher. It enables users to store, search, redact and create correspondence within the system. By digitizing all documents, the software makes it easier for staff to respond now and save for later. Automated redaction ensuresconsistency throughout all documents and removes content pixel by pixel.

Moving work to the web enables teams in different locations to collaborate instantly instead of waiting for FedEx® or faxes to deliver critical information.

  1. Every organization needs a one-stop portal

As shoppers, we expect retailers to be available 24/7. Fast, digital responses are the norm. This expectation continues into our public lives as we hold agencies to the same level of service. And when they don’t…expect a FOInado.

Adding a web portal connected to your eFOIA software can decrease strain. FOIAXpress® has a customized web portal called Public Access Link (PAL). It provides both requesters

and responders a centralized space to submit/receive requests, communicate and track. Automated responses indicate requests received and provides status updates. With an

electronic reading room component, PAL gives requesters 24/7 access to information.

PAL can improve customer service. The technology makes the process easier for all parties and enables greater transparency. 

Use technology to ease the FOInado

You never know when a crisis will occur. Prepare in advance by assembling your digital toolkit. Choosing the right eFOIA solution can help your organization quickly recover from a FOInado.

FOIAXpress® –The #1 eFOIA Solution

FOIAXpress® transforms the way organizations manage Freedom of Information Act(FOIA), Privacy Act and Open Records requests. FOIAXpress® digitizes and automates the full lifecycle of FOIA from inquiry to delivery and archiving. That’s why it’s the leading eFOIA solution in North America.

Save time, lower cost and improve transparency with one easy to use web-based app. 

Download Full PDF here.

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