Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Government Records Access And Management Act

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Utah’s Transparency Report Card

Introduction to Utah’s GRAMA Law – Part 1

A 2008 study, BGA – Alper Integrity Index, conducted by the Better Government Association and sponsored by Alper Services, ranked Utah #36 in the nation with an overall percentage of 47.30%.

A 2007 study, Graded state responsiveness to FOI requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Utah 78 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of “C” and a ranking of 4 out of the 50 states.

A 2002 study, Freedom of Information in the USA, conducted by IRE and BGA, ranked Utah’s law as the 3rd best in the country, giving it a letter grade of “B-.”

Related To Government Records Access Management Act

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Are All Records Subject To Disclosure

No. Records are classified as public, protected, private or controlled pursuant to GRAMA. While all records classified as public are subject to disclosure, records classified as protected, private, or controlled are not disclosed unless an exception applies or a court orders disclosure. For a comprehensive list of record classifications, see Utah Code § 63G-2-301 et seq.

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Sensitive Information And Disclaimer

Facility location data, source protection zones, water system inventory information, and/or monitoring schedules, among others, are considered sensitive for security purposes. Any government agency that releases any part of this information is required to follow the procedures set forth in the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act .

The Department of Environmental Quality, as well as its Divisions, strive to maintain and provide accurate and complete data however, the Department provides no warranty nor accepts any responsibility or liability for inaccurate or incomplete data.

No Fees Apart From The $5 Application Fee

Records and Document Management

Consistent with the Governmentâs policy in place since 2016, the updated Access to Information Act eliminates all fees other than the application fee. The government no longer has the authority to set or charge additional fees, such as fees for processing a request or reproduction of documents.

The amount of the application fee is set through regulation and is currently fixed at $5.

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R132 Government Records Access And Management Act Guideline

R132-1. Purpose: To provide Board policy and guidelines for institutional policy in matters related to the Government Records Access and Management Act .

R132-2. References

2.1. Utah Code §63G-2-204

2.2. Utah Code §63A-12-104

2.3. Utah Code §53B-16-302

2.4. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 20 U.S.C. §1232g

R132-3. Definitions

3.1. Classification: Classification,classify, and their derivative forms mean determining whether a record series, record, or information within a record is public, private, controlled, protected, or exempt from disclosure under GRAMA Section §63G-2-201.

3.2. Designation: Designation,designate, and their derivative forms mean indicating, based on the Records Officers familiarity with a record series, the primary classification that a majority of records in a record series would be given if classified.

3.3. Exempt Records: Exempt records are records to which access is restricted pursuant to court rule, another state statute, federal statute, or federal regulation, such as, for higher education institutions, Restricted Sponsored Research/Technology Transfer Records and The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 .

R132-4. Policy Guidelines

4.1. Records Officer: Each President shall appoint one or more records officers to provide for the care, maintenance, scheduling, disposal, classification, designation, access, and preservation of the institutions records.

Approved: 12/21/2009

Utah Government Records Access And Management Act

The Utah Government Records Access and Management Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Documents created by public bodies in Utah are open for inspection to any member of the public.Documents that are considered exempt from open records laws include private information about individuals and government employees , health records of individuals , and records that are protected because if released they may result in security problems or financial speculation, unfair competition and financial instability .

Anyone can request public records and a statement of purpose is not required. There are no restrictions on the use of public records under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act and the act requires that responses be made within at least 10 business days.

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Proactive Publication: Making Key Information Available Without The Need For A Request

  • Information proactively published by ministersâ offices, as well as the Prime Ministerâs Office:
  • Briefing packages for new ministers
  • Titles and tracking numbers of briefing notes
  • Question Period notes
  • Briefing materials for Parliamentary Committee appearances
  • Travel and hospitality expenses
  • Contracts over $10,000, amendments over $10,000 and amendments that increase the total contract value to above $10,000
  • Annual report of all expenses incurred by a ministerâs office
  • Information proactively published by government departments and agencies:
  • Travel and hospitality expenses of senior officials
  • Reports tabled in Parliament
  • Briefing packages for new deputy heads
  • Titles and tracking numbers of briefing notes to deputy heads
  • Briefing materials for Parliamentary Committee appearances
  • Contracts over $10,000, amendments over $10,000 and amendments that increase the total contract value to above $10,000
  • Grants and contributions over $25,000, amendments that increase the total value to above $25,000 and any other amendments
  • Reclassification of positions
  • Information proactively published by Crown corporations, their wholly owned subsidiaries, and other government institutions subject to the ATIA:
  • Travel and hospitality expenses of senior officials
  • Reports tabled in Parliament
  • Information proactively published by senators and members of Parliament:
  • Travel and hospitality expenses
  • Service contracts: all amounts
  • Travel and hospitality expenses of senior level officials
  • Government Records Access And Management Act

    Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Database Training

    The Government Records Access and Management Act is a comprehensive state law dealing with management of government records. GRAMA states who has access to records and how the law is enforced. It is an attempt to balance the publics constitutional right of access to information concerning public business, the individuals constitutional right of privacy when the government gathers personal data, and the public policy interest in allowing a government to restrict access to certain records for the public good. It serves a similar function to the federal Freedom of Information Act .

    The Utah Insurance Department will respond to GRAMA requests that apply to records that have been created or are maintained by the Department. The more specific and narrow the request, the easier it will be for the Department to respond to the request.

    Directions for requesting filed rate, rule, and form information may be found on our Licensee Public Records Request page.

    Note: GRAMA allows a reasonable administrative search fee to be assessed for both hard copies and staff time required to search, retrieve, summarize, compile and tailor requested records. Specific fee information will be provided once the completed request is submitted and the records are located.

    To file a GRAMA request, please go to openrecords.utah.gov, select State Agencies, and click the Request Records button next to relevant division within the Insurance Department.

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    Introduction: The Updated Access To Information Act

    The Access to Information Act provides Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and individuals and corporations present in Canada a right to access records under the control of government institutions, in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific, and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government. There are roughly 260 government institutions currently subject to the ATIA.

    Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act received royal assent on June 21, 2019, making important improvements to the openness and transparency of government. These are the most significant amendments to the act since it came into force in 1983.

    The new legislation improves the way government information is provided to Canadians by:

    • giving the Information Commissioner the power to make binding orders in relation to access to information requests, including the release of government records
    • eliminating all fees apart from the $5 application fee
    • requiring institutions to proactively publish specific information known to be of interest to the public, without the need for a request
    • allowing government institutions within the same ministerial portfolio to work together to process requests more efficiently

    What Records Are Covered

    Documents created by public bodies in Utah are open for inspection to any member of the public.

    Exemptions

    Documents that are considered exempt from open records laws include private information about individuals and government employees , health records of individuals , and records that are protected because if released they may result in security problems or financial speculation, unfair competition and financial instability .

    Deliberative process

    See also: Deliberative process exemption

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    Improved Administration Of The Access To Information Act

    The Government is taking additional steps to strengthen access to information by improving tools available to institutions and to the public.

    In fall 2018, the government launched the ATIP Online Request Service â a simple, centralized website that enables users to make access to information and personal information requests to institutions that are subject to the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act. The ATIP Online Request Service provides an easy way to make requests to over 140 institutions, with more institutions being added regularly. It can also help requesters find summaries of previous requests, so that they might not have to make their own request. It also helps identify which institution may hold the information requesters are seeking.

    As well, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat is leading efforts to update the electronic processing tools that are used by government institutions to prepare responses to requests for information, enable institutions to give status updates for online requests, and deliver documents electronically in response to a request.

    The Prime Ministers Office Ministers Offices Senators Members Of Parliament And Administrative Institutions That Support Parliament And The Courts Government Departments And Agencies And Crown Corporations Are Legally Required To Publish A Broad Range Of Information Without The Need For A Request

    Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA)

    Proactive publication by the Prime Minister’s Office, ministers’ offices, senators, members of Parliament, institutions that support Parliament and the courts, government departments and agencies, and Crown corporations is now entrenched in law. Current and future governments now have an obligation to proactively provide Canadians with a broad range of information, including information about the use of public funds, on a predictable schedule, and without the need to make a request.

    Proactive publication requirements include: mandate letters briefing packages for new ministers briefing note titles Question Period notes and briefing materials prepared for Parliamentary Committee appearances.

    In addition, from now on, the fact that an individual is or was a Ministerial staff member, as well as their name and title will no longer be considered personal information for the purposes of administering the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. This change applies to records created on or after Royal Assent.

    Proactive publication requirements for Senators, Members of Parliament and administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts will come into force one year after the date of royal assent to ensure adequate time for these institutions to implement the changes effectively.

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    About The Territory Records Office

    The Territory Records Office assists Territory agencies to meet their records management requirements.

    The Territory Records Office is responsible for the implementation of the Territory Records Act 2002and the regulation of recordkeeping across the ACT Government. The main purposes of the Territory Records Act 2002 are

  • To encourage open and accountable government by ensuring that Territory records are made, managed and, if appropriate, preserved in accessible form and
  • To support the management and operation of Territory agencies and
  • To preserve Territory records for the benefit of present and future generations and
  • To ensure that public access to records is consistent with the principles of the Freedom of Information Act 2016.
  • The Territory Records Office assists Territory agencies to meet their Records Management requirements as set out in the Territory Records Act 2002 . The Standards for Records Management used by all agencies in the development of their Records Management Programs have been developed by the Territory Records Office.

    The Territory Records Act 2002 commenced on the 1 July 2003. Part 3 commenced on the 1 July 2008. Records of ACT Government agencies are available under the Access provisions of the Territory Records Act 2002 and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2016. Records access requests can be made through the ArchivesACT website.

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    What Agencies Are Covered

    The Utah GRAMA defines public body broadly to incorporate all branches of government at the state level and all subsidiary levels.

    Legislature

    The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Utah Code 63G-2-103 and is subject to the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act.

    Privatized governmental agencies

    See also: Private agency, public dollars and Private agency, public dollars-Utah

    The Utah GRAMA also includes in its definition private entities that perform a public function and are either created or funded by a public entity.

    All public associations are subject to Utah’s open records policy. Public associations are any groups whose members are elected or appointed officials or who receive funds “from monies received by a public entity from appropriations, taxes, fees, interest, or other returns on investment.”

    Public universities

    The law explicitly includes state universities, including in its definition, “any state-funded institution of higher education or public education.” This was confirmed in “The Herald Journal v. Utah State University,” which held that the University was a public body and contracts with athletic coaches must be released. The law does, however, contain a broad exemption for unpublished academic research at Utah Code 63G-2-305.

    What Is A Record

    Records Management Training for Federal Agencies

    GRAMA defines a record as a book, letter, document, paper, map, plan, photograph, film, card, tape, recording, electronic data, or other documentary material regardless of physical form . . . . However, there are several exceptions, such as notes and drafts which are not subject to disclosure. For a complete list and explanation of what does and does not constitute a record, see Utah Code § 63G-2-103.

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    The Information Commissioner Has A Much Stronger Role

    The Information Commissioner now has the power, following an investigation of a complaint, to make binding orders in relation to access to information requests, including ordering the release of government records.

    Orders issued by the Information Commissioner will normally take effect after 30 business days. To preserve the careful balance in the Access to Information Act between the public interest in transparency and accountability, and other important considerations, such as privacy and national security, a government institution that has serious concerns with an order could seek review by the Federal Court within 30 business days of receiving the order. In cases where a third party or the Privacy Commissioner has a right of review, there are an additional 10 business days before the order takes effect to allow these rights to be exercised.

    Who Can Make A Grama Request

    Any person may submit a GRAMA request. The GRAMA request should be directed to the governmental entity that prepares, owns, or retains the requested records. All GRAMA requests must be in writing and must include the following information:

    the requesters name

    mailing address and daytime phone number, if available and

    a description of the record requested with that identifies the record with reasonable specificity.

    See Utah Code § 63G-2-204.

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    Institutions Will Be Allowed To Seek The Information Commissioners Approval To Decline To Act On Bad Faith Requests So That Services May Be Delivered More Efficiently

    The number of access to information requests is growing annually, and institutions are struggling to respond in a timely manner. In a small number of cases, requesters use the right to request government information for reasons that may not be consistent with the purpose of the Act.

    To help focus resources on requests that are consistent with the purpose of the Act, government institutions may now seek the Information Commissionerâs approval to decline to act on an access to information request that is vexatious, made in bad faith, or is otherwise an abuse of the right of access. Before seeking the Information Commissionerâs approval to decline to act on a request, an institution must make every reasonable effort to assist the person in connection with the request, including working with the requester to clarify the request. If the Information Commissioner approves an institutionâs decision to decline to act on a request, the $5 application fee would be refunded.

    As well, the Information Commissioner now has the authority to refuse to investigate or cease to investigate a complaint if it is trivial, frivolous or vexatious, or is made in bad faith or if further investigation is unnecessary in the circumstances.

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