2017 Bright Idea
Winners:
City of New York, NY
January 1, 2017
Jurisdiction:
New York

In January 2015, New York City’s Department of Records and Information Services, supported by the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Mayor’s Office, began the OpenRECORDS initiative to increase transparency in the city government by creating an online portal the public could use to submit and track freedom of information law (FOIL) requests to all city agencies. The centralized portal provides city agencies with a standardized, simplified platform. It ensures accountability by showing response times and making responsive documents available to the public. Using the portal, with a few simple steps, the public can submit requests, monitor progress, and easily determine whether the requested record or information is already available on the portal. FOIL officers can now process requests in a consistent fashion across all city agencies. The portal allows them to track requests to avoid duplicate requests and subsequent delays. The portal also helps direct the public to the correct agency minimizing delays due to misdirected requests, and will likely reduce the overall number of requests by allowing the public to access previously released information.