How do big events (like a pandemic or economic recovery bills) affect public records?
There are many reasons that responding to public records requests during the pandemic was especially challenging for agencies. You had to quickly implement remote work policies and solutions to protect the health and safety of your staff and the public which meant:
- Sourcing hardware/laptops for remote work
- Contending with inflexible, outdated networks which proved incompatible with remote work
- Struggling to collaborate due to split shifts and a dispersed workforce
- Poor request tracking when manual routines proved incompatible with work-from-home mandates
- Watching your backlog grow due to inaccessible records
In addition, request volume increases of 35%* and complexity increases of 18%** were a direct result of the pandemic, caused by:
- new types of requests for pandemic answers
- national media requesters contacting us
- poorly defined requests from new requesters
- increased oversight and reporting requirements
Does it seem like you are spending a lot more time on public records since the pandemic? You probably are, if the PiPRIndex chart below is any indication. The data below shows a huge spike in total time spent on public records when the pandemic hit. We expect the trend to continue upward as requests for information about ARPA funds allocation and spending hit your desk in the coming months.
How can you communicate these new challenges to those who make decisions about investments in public records solutions?
The Peers In Public Records Index (PiPRIndex) is a great tool for communicating your pain points up the chain of command.
Enormous economic strain due to revenue declines caused by stay-at-home orders and other restrictions leaving [us] with no money to solve increased demands on our services.The good news is that ARPA funding is now available to solve these and other public records challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Public records data-sharing between state and local governments, the public, and the media plays a vital role in understanding the current status of events and planning proactive solutions. It’s a critical government service. Click the links below to investigate this potential solution!
* PiPRIndex data shows 35% increase between Q2 2020 and Q1 2021.
** PiPRIndex data shows 18% increase during the same period.
Listen to a webinar: “A Conversation: Quantifying Complexity in Public Records” here.