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The City of Evanston today announced a new online portal that streamlines Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the first of its kind in Illinois. The portal, powered by NextRequest and available at cityofevanston.org/foia, allows community members and organizations to conveniently submit, track, and browse public record requests online; receive automatic email updates regarding their requests; and download documents.
For the first time, visitors to the City’s website also have access to a searchable database of previously released documents, ensuring that once a City document has been made public, anyone will have access to it.
“I’m pleased to partner with NextRequest to provide our residents with an improved process for public records requests,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “The City of Evanston strives to promote transparency in all of its operations. This new service will make valuable City information even more accessible to residents while conserving staff time and City resources.”
“Evanston is an outstanding partner. We’re excited to be working with a Digital Cities Survey Winner who has a clear commitment to technology and open, effective government,” said NextRequest CEO Tamara Manik-Perlman.
The City receives an average of more than 600 FOIA requests each year, which are managed by the City Clerk’s office. Although residents are encouraged to utilize the online public records portal, requests may also continue to be mailed to the Evanston City Clerk, Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave., Evanston, IL 60201; submitted in-person at the Morton Civic Center, Room 1200, during regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; emailed to FOIA@cityofevanston.org; or faxed to the City Clerk at 847-448-8131.
For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents in Evanston may simply dial 3-1-1.
NextRequest is a platform that makes public records easier for governments to provide and the public to access. Founded in 2015 by three former Code for America fellows, NextRequest is used by local governments of all types and sizes throughout the U.S.