Tracking Records Requests and Reporting PRA Metrics (JLARC Reporting)
This page provides guidance on how to comply with tracking records requests and reporting PRA metrics requirements for local governments in Washington State, including sample policy language.
RCW 40.14.026 requires requires all agencies to track and log the following information with regard to public records requests:
- Identity of requestor (if provided)
- Date and text of request
- Description of records produced in response to request
- Description of records redacted or withheld and the reasons for redaction/withholding
- Date of final disposition of the request.
Agencies with $100,000 or more in annual staff and legal costs associated with fulfilling public records requests during the prior fiscal year must take this tracking several steps further (additional tracking is optional for agencies with costs of less than $100,000/year). These agencies must track additional information related to records requests as set forth in RCW 40.14.026(5) and report the information to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) annually by July 1.
Although not required by the PRA, an increasing number of Washington agencies are using portal software to assist with PRA responses, such as GovQA, NextRequest, and Airlift Response (cloudPWR).
These public records portals allow for administration and tracking of PRA requests and agency responses from a central online location. All requests are processed through this system and requesters are able to set up a personal account through which they can submit requests and track the agency’s response to their request.
The logging and JLARC reporting requirements are codified at RCW 40.14.026(4) and (5) respectively. JLARC also provides information on its public records reporting website, has detailed agency guidance (2022), as well as reporting instructions (2023).
The JLARC reporting requirements are quite detailed. The following suggested policy language is designed to call attention to the reporting requirements to agency personnel, assign responsibility for complying with the requirements to the agency public records officer, and authorize the agency to obtain technology and resources that will assist agency staff in meeting the requirements.
Sample Policy Language - Drafted by MRSC
The public records officer for the Agency shall maintain a log of all public records requests submitted to and processed by the Agency, and, at a minimum, shall record the information required in RCW 40.14.026(4) as it now exists or may hereafter be modified.
In addition, the public records officer shall be responsible for meeting the Agency JLARC reporting requirements set forth in RCW 40.14.026(5), including the following:
- Determining whether actual staff and legal costs associated with fulfilling public records requests for the prior fiscal year were $100,000 or greater for the purposes of RCW 40.14.026(5) and reporting that information to JLARC;
- Tracking and reporting to JLARC the metrics set forth in RCW 40.14.026(5) if Agency staff and legal costs for the prior fiscal year are $100,000 or more;
- Reporting to the Agency governing body, or its designee, on staffing, technology and any additional needs for the purpose of fulfilling JLARC reporting requirements;
- Recommending to the Agency governing body, or its designee, whether the Agency should voluntarily report the metrics set forth in RCW 40.14.026(5) if the Agency’s staff and legal costs associated with fulfilling public records requests for the prior fiscal year were less than $100,000.
I am sure my agency did not meet the $100,000 threshold. Are we in the clear?
No, your agency must still respond. Even if an agency did not meet the spending threshold, it must still log onto the JLARC public records reporting system and attest to that fact. Agencies will not submit their calculations in this regard. Also, an agency may choose to voluntarily report even if it does not meet the $100,000 threshold.
Are there tools to help estimate whether my agency meets ths $100,000 threshold?
Yes, JLARC provides various tools on its About Public Records Reporting webpage. These tools are provided as a convenience — agencies are not required to use them.
Will JLARC audit the accuracy of information submitted?
No, each agency is responsible for the accuracy of the data it submits.
I’m new to this role, can I use my predecessors account to report?
Yes, if you have access to their email account. The reporting system uses email addresses to verify accounts and reset passwords.
You can also create a new account with your email address. Please follow the reporting instructions.
I can’t access the system this year even though I could access it last year. What happened?
Has your email address changed from last year? The reporting system uses email domains to grant access to each agency. Please let us know if your email domain has changed and we can grant access to the new email domain.
Where can I see all the data I need to report?
Please refer to our agency guidance document for an in-depth description of all the data elements and the definitions. The reporting instructions provide an overview of the reporting system, including screenshots of each screen in the reporting system.
I don’t see my agency’s data in the JLARC report. I have my confirmation right here. What happened?
The Public Records Reporting System allows you to make changes to your data until it closes on the July 1st reporting deadline. Once you start editing your data (and even if you don’t make a change) the reporting system automatically removes your agency’s data from our database until you resubmit the report. To ensure your agency’s data is submitted, please save your data and resubmit it.