New Data Shows Increasing Demand for Transparency in Government
Body cam footage, email records, new reporting requirements make filling records requests more complex as public interest grows
DENVER, CO, September 29, 2022 – Today, Granicus released findings from its 2022 Public Records Complexity Report, revealing a growing demand for transparency in government. Volume of public record requests has grown 74%, and total time spent processing requests has increased by 112% since 2018. The growing interest in public records has also been felt within Granicus’ business. Following its acquisition of GovQA in 2021, Granicus’ public records product suite has seen a 13% year-to-date increase in contracts; with city, county, state and special district agencies of all sizes looking to automate records request processing.
Formerly known as the Peers in Public Records Index, the Public Records Complexity Benchmark Report analyzed anonymized data from over 240 state, county and city government agencies across the U.S. The report assesses the complexity of fulfilling public records requests by weighing factors such as quantity of response documents, size of response documents, file types, average user interactions, and total time spent processing. The findings offer a unique view into the mechanics of records request fulfillment, giving the public a deeper understanding of the factors which can delay government transparency.
“Significant global challenges such as the pandemic and social unrest have triggered an unprecedented acceleration for the need for transparency across a broad spectrum of issues,” said Suzanne Behrens, CMO, Granicus. “At the same time, new reporting requirements and public record types – including police body cam footage, drone footage, and requests for “any-and-all” emails – have made fulfilling these requests more time intensive. An efficient public records process is a big part of enabling transparency, and refining it presents a huge opportunity for governments to increase trust with constituents.”
Additional key findings from the Public Records Complexity Benchmark Report include:
- File size of response documents is up 237% since 2018. Large files create complexity by taking more time to manage within an agency’s public records processing system.
- Volume of video files are up 98% since 2018. This presents unique challenges to government workers. They take longer to upload and download, and present enormous challenges in terms of redaction due to the time and skill involved in viewing videos to identify people, license plates, laptops, and other sensitive objects and audio.
- Time spent processing requests has increased by 112% since 2018. Government workers are spending more time processing public record requests than ever before. From complex video and audio file requests, to requests for a slew of documents at once, the growing number of requests paired with the growing complexity of files have both contributed to this increase in time spent by government workers.“Given the increased awareness of public records accessibility; the media trying to gather data for 24-hour news cycles; and the increase in successful litigation in compliance lawsuits; this complexity trend is likely to continue.” — Cindi Mansell CRM, MMC, Master Municipal Clerk & Records and Information Manager, Surreality Enterprises.
For more information on the report methodology and findings, visit Granicus.com.
Granicus connects governments with the people they serve through their portfolio designed specifically for the public sector. Over 5,500 federal, state, and local government agencies and more than 300 million citizen subscribers power an unmatched Subscriber Network that turns government missions into quantifiable results. With comprehensive cloud-based solutions for communications, government website design, meeting and agenda management software, records management, and digital services, Granicus empowers stronger relationships between government and residents across the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. By simplifying interactions with residents, while disseminating critical information, Granicus brings governments closer to the people they serve—driving meaningful change for communities around the globe.