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New Public Record Request System to Enhance City Transparency and Customer Service

A new web-based platform that automates public records requests is enhancing Rockville’s ability to respond to the public efficiently and effectively.

The public has a legal right to access records the city creates in the transaction of public business unless the record is protected by law.

Desktop computer displaying Rockville's JustFOIA webpage

The JustFOIA system, launched in June, automates much of the processing of requests for information according to the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA). The system is also being used to process requests for the Rockville City Police Department (RCPD) records that do not require processing under the MPIA.

The platform allows users to track the status of requests, search city records archives using keywords and view a fee invoice, among other features. It replaces fillable forms for MPIA and RCPD records requests on the city’s website and offers unlimited storage for records. Large files that are not easily emailed can now be shared by city staff simply by uploading them to JustFOIA where the requester can access them directly.

The platform is in use in other nearby municipalities, including the City of Gaithersburg. Customers report that administrative time spent on most requests decreased by about 80% when using the system.

The new tool is one way Rockville is promoting transparency and trust in government, a vital aspect of a high-functioning democracy.

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