Are you processing requests efficiently? Chances are, if you are reviewing large numbers of email files, moving through the flow of receiving, responding to, and then releasing a FOIA request resembles something less like a river and more like a trickle of water.
Managing a high volume of files can not only be time consuming, but often will double or triple work for multiple departments, create a disorganized workflow, or become a hindrance to releasing documents in a timely manner, if they are even released at all. The solution to these common problems is RapidReview, a new time-saving feature from NextRequest that gives you more control to power through your workflow. It is the next best step in records request software.
With RapidReview, total productivity from request to release is faster, easier and more visible. RapidReview allows you to organize requested documents, easily extract emails, batch redact information and quickly review to create a smoother workflow for everyone who needs access.
Responding to requests in a timely manner is difficult. If you are employing FOIA software like NextRequest, chances are you’ve seen your process streamline and speed up in many ways, while being better able to track and manage requests overall. However, processing requests for a large number of documents is time heavy and can often involve multiple departments, whether you are using request management tools or not. RapidReview is a solution that helps you manage high volume document requests with ease, making each document clearly visible, organized and actionable in bulk.
When processed within the RapidReview dashboard, documents are logically organized and roll up under appropriate folders, either structured by threads within extracted PST, MSG and ZIP files or within ones you create yourself. Attachments within files are also clearly shown by association. RapidReview also makes it possible to batch select files to take a specific action, either moving them through processing stages (Unprocessed, Needs Redaction, Redacted, Ready for Release), moving them into a folder, deleting, downloading, or batch redacting by type and keywords.
Extracting PST, MSG and ZIP files to make ready to review and redact can be a challenge. As a clerk, you might not be able to extract files without the help of an IT department. We hear from agencies that they don’t have the resources to cleanly extract PST files themselves, and need to wait for IT to do it for them, adding several days to the process, and holding up their ability to fulfill requests. Even further is the state in which extracted files may come back to you. Are they easy to read and sort through? Chances are they are bundled in such a way that creates more work to organize. So in addition to adding extra time, you might be saddled with the increased mental strain of sorting through a bundle of files that you are left to make sense of.
Instead of getting overwhelmed with the entire process of extracting and organizing large files, RapidReview provides an easy way to extract, sort, and categorize emails. View and manage all the emails individually, while having the ability to take batch actions against them. Not only can you extract PST, MSG and ZIP files within the platform, saving days you might have waited on their return from another department, but the post-extraction emails and attachments are organized and easy to review. Having emails in one place and not shared across team members means you won’t mix up requests in your email inbox.
RapidReview is a great tool to save time in reviewing a large number of documents, streamlining the process so less time is wasted outside of the hands of reviewers, and making it easier to manage the whole process with more clarity and time-saving actions. Among those actions, one of the most time and labor intensive to manage is redaction.
If there is private information within each document that needs redacting, and your request includes a high volume of records, you are left with an intense, time-consuming redaction process. With that many to go through, the probability that you will make errors is high as well. In some cases, an agency may choose not to redact at all if it proves too difficult, choosing instead to keep records sealed. Even though it proves an unideal solution for all parties, the potential may be high.
Instead, you can take a proactive approach to redact and release. RapidReview makes redacting information faster and easier, meaning no email gets left behind. Within the module, you can batch select the files that need redaction - whether all the files in that step of the process, or individual ones you choose, you are able to manage how many are redacted within the batch. Once selected, you can choose what type of information needs redacting (SSN, phone, email, postal code, date), and/or which keywords or phrases should be redacted. Even further, you can select or create a folder in which to put those files once they have been redacted. Reviewing redacted documents is simple, and preparing them for release is just as easy.
This digital transformation of redacting information means nothing is missed, and the entire process is sped up. As user Robby Contreras of National City, CA puts it
“Being able to redact all at once is the best. I worry that I miss things and putting it in RapidReview speeds things up. I would say the batch redaction tool is life-changing.”
For better or worse, processing FOIA requests is a team sport. Multiple people need to have eyes on documents that are being released to the public. When the request is for a few files, that doesn’t create an issue, but when you are reviewing numbers in the hundreds, how do you stay organized from one reviewer to the next?
One of the best aspects of RapidReview is its organized workflow. There are six clear stages (Unprocessed, Needs Redaction, Redacted, Ready for Release, Originals, Non-Responsive) to help everyone involved understand where each record is in the review process. Moving files through each stage is easy on the individual level, as it is with bulk selection as well.
In this way, anyone can open up the files workflow to see how many files are in each stage of the process, and what still needs to be done. For example, a City Attorney can easily open RapidReview, provide legal review after records are uploaded, and move them to the next appropriate stage in the review process. It is organized in a way that the next reviewers can track exactly what actions are taken and what the next steps are to identify and process responsive documents.
Small changes can make a large impact on your ability to fulfill FOIA requests. Large email files are manageable and organized with RapidReview, making the process of releasing information that much easier. Whether you depend on multiple people reviewing documents and need to have an organized workflow, you dream of the ability to redact information quickly across all files, or you want to streamline and speed up the process of extracting PST, MSG and ZIP files, RapidReview is the solution.
Learn more about Rapid Review here.