Public Information Request Processing

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Howard County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: Information Technology (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

The Howard County Department of Inspections, Licenses & Permits (DILP) responds to hundreds of information requests under the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA). This process previously involved printing volumes of responsive documents from DILP’s database, scanning them, then submitting them to our Public Information Office (PIO). The printed documents were required to be maintained in storage boxes as per our records retention schedule. This all was very costly due to printing paper and supplies, wear and tear on equipment, storage space, as well as staff time. As of late 2022, this MPIA process is almost entirely processed and maintained electronically. Responsive documents are downloaded from our database and emailed directly to the PIO personnel to respond. The emails, as well as the responsive records are then maintained on a shared network drive and filed by address for ease of searching. This new electronic process significantly reduces the amount of paper used as well as storage space required to maintain the records for the specified retention schedule period. The availability of the information electronically can be easily searched should a question arise and allows for more efficient and expedient responses if the same records are requested multiple times.