Gaining Public Access To Government Records: It’s Your Right

A few decades ago most government records were considered as being top secret and there was no way for the public to access them. At one point a few decades ago, government records were considered as being top secret and there was no way that the average person could get a hold of them. These days, things are much different and now as a citizen of your country you have the right to access any government records you want. There are a few options you have if you want to gain access to government records.

You can find a form, fill it out and send it in or write your own. To write your own records request you want to start off by including your name, address and contact information. There are two major Acts that ensure you are able to gain public access to these files, and those are the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. If you ever send in a request to access this information and are denied, you can get them in trouble because these are your rights.

You can find this records request easily online or go to your local head of government and get the form. You can also write a letter out by hand, and all you need to tell them in here is what records you are looking for. You will need to include in your request your name, address and means of contact. You do not have to explain to them why you want access because this is not required but you need to make sure that you are clear on what records you want so they are not confused.

You will want to include your personal information such as name and address. There is no law enforcing you to explain your reasons. Make sure that you include a paragraph in your letting telling them thank you for releasing copies of the requested documents in advance. In terms of the amount of time you can expect to have to wait before receiving these documents, it will typically take a couple of weeks.

There may also be a search fee which some agencies require to search for and send documents. In terms of how long it is going to take you to get the information you need, under regulation law it could take you up to twenty business days to receive all the documentation. If you do not receive what you need in this time you are going to need to contact the agencies and let them know that you are still waiting and expect them soon. At least it is a relief to know that you can get public access to government records when you need it.