Identifying a Request: If someone requests information not contained in a specific document but requiring research or analysis, what is the agency’s duty in responding? How much time do we need to spend to get that information before it’s considered unreasonable?
The PRA does not require you to respond to information requests, but it is often a best practice to do so. First, it’s more transparent to answer the question and it comports with the PRA’s direction to provide the fullest assistance to requestors. Second, it may also be easier and cheaper. Usually an information request can be turned into a public records request that is a lot more burdensome than just responding to the information request. So, when you are considering how much time you want to spend responding to an information request, ask yourself how much time it would take to produce the records that answer the questions versus just answering them. In responding to an information request, you may want to indicate that the agency is not required to respond to requests for information but, in the interest of fullest assistance in the spirit of the PRA, you are providing the responses.