The city of Rochester receives close to 4,000 Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests a year, which works out to one for every hour of business of every working day. The city had struggled for many years to meet the New York State deadlines for notifications and fulfillments.

After implementing a Laserfiche solution designed by General Code — part of the ICC Family of Companies — the city was able to complete 311 online requests within an average of four days in just the first month of operation. Notifications were automatic and instant. The benefits of using Laserfiche were substantial in terms of time and greater transparency.

Mayor Lovely A. Warren announced that the city of Rochester was honored at the annual Government Experience awards event on Sept. 28 in Austin, Texas, by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) for making it easier for people to request and view records with its online Freedom of Information Law system. The awards recognize the achievements and best practices of states, cities and counties that have gone to the web and beyond to radically improve the experience of government and push the boundaries of how citizen services are delivered.

“Greater transparency in government is critical for ensuring greater accountability to our citizens,” Warren said. “The major upgrades the city made to its FOIL process and the addition of an online ‘reading room’ means important information about city government, programs, projects and policies is more readily available.”

Working with the city’s project managers, IT staff and the department personnel responsible for managing and fulfilling FOIL requests, General Code designed, developed and implemented the system and trained all of the city’s personnel on the system. The General Code solution design laid out the goals for the project as follows:

  • Establish a reliable process that can be enhanced as necessary.
  • Make it easy to submit Records Access requests online.
  • Help assure that users enter the data required to fulfill their request.
  • Accelerate Record Access fulfillment.
  • Accommodate the majority of request types by supporting key functionality.
  • Provide visibility to all requests and ease of finding specific requests.
  • Give requestors access to online self-serve status of their requests.
  • Support proper records management requirements for retention and disposition after fulfillment.

At each phase of the processing cycle, the solution would save time, relieve bottlenecks and allow for dynamic workload assignments. Tracking, status windows and dashboard metrics were included to facilitate daily management and long-term process improvements.

With the Laserfiche solution, there’s no stacking and storing requests on desktops for later fulfillment. No more routing bulging folders from department to department via interoffice mail. No whiting out copies and recopying redactions. ECM-enabled processing saves time and allows tracking at every stage of processing.

Click here to view the case study that highlights what General Code built utilizing the Laserfiche Software.