Last week was Sunshine Week and the folks at PRC Applications celebrated by launching SunshineRequest.com, a site that makes it easier for citizens to make public records requests.
The site offers a single simple form for making requests to any government entity (with the City of Asheville and Buncombe County as specific drop-down options). It serves as a proxy for citizens, both simplifying the request process and allowing requests to be made anonymously.
Sunshine Request also acts as a repository of requests submitted to various government entities since every request is posted publicly for the benefit of everyone.
The platform is intended to address several different goals:
- Help citizens to learn more about our government, while making it as simple as possible to request public information. The Sunshine Request team takes care of all the legwork of getting a request fulfilled, while allowing citizens to see and understand the full lifecycle of a request.
- Improve transparency and accountability through easy access to public information.
- Save staff time for government entities by reducing duplicated efforts, and by improving the quality and specificity of records requests.
SunshineRequest.com is the brainchild of Patrick Conant, a member of Code for Asheville and open government advocate. Patrick has helped several community groups with their public records requests, and saw the potential of a platform to publish and share not just the public records themselves, but all communications that lead to a successful request.
The site was designed by Holden Meek, with the goal of making an important government function more inviting to citizens. Sunshine Request is a community project of PRC Applications, a “uniquely different” web company that dedicates 20% of their time towards community technology projects, including the NC Megaphone and AVLPark.