When governments respond to a freedom of information request, the process can involve several departments and often external third parties. Those groups collaborate to produce and review documentation, protect the privacy of certain information in those documents, respond efficiently, and meet statutory and regulatory requirements in doing so. The number of FOI requests received by governments continues to grow, which leads to an increased need for collaboration in meeting the requests, and a tool for keeping the process efficient.
Our new Amanda Freedom of Information Solution includes a Collaboration Portal that can be that tool for busy government professionals.
Government departments responsible for meeting FOI requests generally gather documents requested, which are put into a “case file” that must be further reviewed to be sure that secure information and others’ privacy is protected (and redacted accordingly). Often the documentation requested must be gathered from other departments inside that government. The Collaboration Portal is an online tool that allows government professionals and authorized third parties — external consultants, other government departments, legal counsel, etc. –to work together and review the case files and respond to the request.
Through the portal, third parties can only see specifically authorized aspects or files relating to a request and can provide their input directly to the department responsible for meeting FOI requests. They can also upload relevant requested documents through the portal. Because the portal is secure and web-based, it limits a user to only relevant documents and does not allow access to other materials. The portal allows governments to carefully track both the process of meeting the original FOI request and which third parties are involved in doing so.
The ability to share documents and manage this process electronically makes responding to the original request more efficient and helps protect the security and privacy of other information.
If your government is looking for a solution to manage FOI requests or you would like to learn more about our FOI solution and the Collaboration Portal, please get in touch to set up a demo.