As part of the City of Seattle’s ongoing commitment to transparency and to make the process of obtaining public records as easy as possible, the City is launching the Public Records Request Center. This online public portal offers constituents one system for submitting and tracking public disclosure requests, downloading records, monitoring the status of their previously submitted requests, communicating with public disclosure officers, and making payments. It also identifies commonly requested records, and directs constituents to records that are readily available on Seattle.gov.
“Since the beginning of my administration I have pushed for an innovative, accountable City government that delivers on its public commitments smartly and transparently, while harnessing the power of technology,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The Public Records Request Center delivers on this commitment, ensuring the City has a consistent and efficient process and making public records more accessible to the entire community we serve.”
Over the last several years, the City has taken major steps to improve and streamline management of the public disclosure process. In early 2016, the City initiated the first phase of the project, launching the Public Records Request Center specifically for records held by the Seattle Police Department, as nearly 70 percent of the approximately 8,800 annual requests for City records are for records held by SPD.
The City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services managed the second phase of the implementation on behalf of all other departments and offices, with a soft launch on Sept. 28. This new system is a cornerstone of our efforts to make Public Records Act compliance a sustainable line of business for City agencies while also creating a more efficient and consistent experience for our customers.
Many public records are readily available on Seattle.gov. Some records are not automatically posted online for many reasons, including that they may not be of widespread interest, they are simply too large or they contain confidential information. To assist customers with their search for records, we’ve collected commonly requested record types with links to where they can be obtained online when available. The City also posts a wealth of information on data.seattle.gov.