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Oracle® Fusion Middleware Managing Oracle WebCenter Content
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E26693-01
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22 FOIA and Privacy Act Tracking

The Records functionality can be used to comply with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA) to track requests for information. The process is similar for both types of information requests. The main difference lies in the type of forms used in the information processing. This functionality is available only if the FOIA/PA component is enabled during configuration.

Important:

The FOIA/PA component is an example of usage and should not be used as is. It shows the types of decision points, workflow branches, and forms used in a typical FOIA/PA process. The process in use at your site may vary significantly from that shown here.

When enabled, new links appear on the Setup Checklist page. Select Install Data Resource Files (Schema, etc.) to enable the necessary services to use this component. In addition, import the necessary archive by selecting Import FOIA Privacy Act Archive. This imports the workflow and other items needed for the component. The workflow must be modified before enabling it for use.

When the FOIA/PA component is enabled, default users are added to populate different default alias groups. Because of the complexity of the FOIA/Privacy Act specification, the users are left in place to make it easier to match the FOIA configuration with the specification.

A FOIA profile is also installed making the necessary metadata fields available. If the FOIA component is later disabled, the FOIA profile and metadata fields remain. They should be removed if the component is disabled. See Using Oracle WebCenter Content for information about profiles.

This chapter provides an overview of the process of tracking, fulfilling, or denying information requests. This type of information processing is accomplished by using workflows. This chapter provides an overview of workflow usage but does not discuss the details of setting up or maintaining workflow. For complete details about using workflows including how to customize a workflow, see Section 12.8.

The forms used with the functionality can be edited as needed. The forms are checked in as content items. To alter the forms, search for the form name then check out the form and edit the .hcsw or .hcsf files using an ASCII editor.

This chapter covers the following topics:

22.1 FOIA and DB2 Databases

The FOIA/PA functionality contains an archive that is imported. This archive contains a table, FOIAPAMETA, that is used to store auxiliary metadata. This table contains 99 fields, 21 of which are memo fields. Memo fields are normally 2000 characters in length.

However, DB2 has a smaller row size limit than Oracle or SQL Server. With 21 memo fields, the FOIAPAMETA table would fail to import on a DB2 database because of this limit. Normally, when a memo field is created on a DB2 system, Configuration Manager uses a special DB2 data type called long varchar. But that doesn't apply when Archiver is importing a table.

To accommodate this, the memo fields in the FOIAPAMETA table have been manually changed so the size is set to 1000. This may not match the memo field size on the server where this component is installed if DB2 is used. There are two solutions for this problem:

The second method is the recommended method for implementation.

22.2 Understanding Workflows

Workflows are used to route content for review, approval, and eventual release. In this case, the content that is routed are the forms required for the FOIA/PA process.

Effective workflow design is an iterative process, continually refined as the process is implemented. Three types of workflows can be created:

Workflows are composed of steps in which content is reviewed, approved or denied. Multiple reviewers can be assigned to approve or reject the content at each step. A set of users and the step type must be defined for each step in the workflow. Users assigned to a step can only perform the tasks allowed for that step type.

Workflows can be customized in several ways. Tokens can be used to designate unknown users. Aliases can be used to include a group of people in a workflow step. Jumps enable the creation of conditional statements to branch content through different paths in the same workflow or to route content to a different workflow. Exit conditions can prevent content from moving to the next step unless essential conditions are met. Custom metadata fields can be created and used to trigger different workflows.

22.3 The FOIA/Privacy Act Workflow

The FOIA/PA workflow should be considered a starting point for the process to be used. It must be customized with users added as reviewers, specific rules added to reflect the process in place at different organizations, and additional steps added as needed. In addition, this version of the workflow reflects draft requirements specified by the Joint Interoperability Task Force (JITC). It should be expected that these requirements will change in the future and the procedures outlined here may then be outdated.

Only those request forms requiring approval go through a workflow process. Other necessary supporting forms must be filled out and filed in the requestor's folder. Those forms are linked to the main request using the Related Content functionality.

There is no set time frame for filing of those forms, but they must be completed before the workflow is completed when the request is either denied or serviced. Those forms are not discussed in this chapter.

This section discusses the current default workflows provided with the software. It is divided into task groupings, most of which are based on the decision points in the workflow. The finished, customized workflow at your site may have different decision points and tasks than those discussed here.

22.3.1 Processing Details

When a workflow is started to process an information request, the stages of the workflow are automatic and may branch depending on the choices made during the process (for example, a denial of the information request, or the servicing of a request). It is important to know the stage where a request is currently in process because that will determine which workflow must be used for action.

The Active Workflows page shows all types of workflows available with the system. When a user accesses a request being processed, the appropriate stage of the workflow must be chosen. The stage of the workflow is shown on the Workflow Content page in the Step column.

Time limits are set according to the specification guidelines for each stage of processing. These limits are set within the workflow and can be changed if needed.

To view current workflow assignments, choose My Content Server then My Workflow Assignments from the Main menu or click the My Workflow Assignments link on the Active Workflows page.

22.3.2 Initial Required Setup

As mentioned earlier, the default workflow must be customized to add the appropriate users, steps, and decision points for your working environment. This must be done before using this functionality.

Forms are submitted from within a record folder, so the category structure must be set beforehand. Categories should be created where FOIA and PA requests will be stored (for example, Open FOIA Requests and Open PA Requests). As information requests are received, a new folder must be created for each request within the appropriate category. This folder will house all of the paperwork associated with the request.Therefore, any people involved in the workflow process should be those users who have the necessary rights and roles to allow them to create and move folders. Depending on how the system is set up, users will receive notification e-mail with links to actions that can be performed depending on the user's rights and roles.

Categories must be created to store the finished requests. The naming and disposition rules for those categories is an organizational decision. Categories could be created based on final outcome (Granted in Full, Refused, and so on) or by date (for example, "December 2009 requests") or some other filing method.

In addition to creating folders, plan to track expenses associated with the request process. Information such as the fees collected, the staff allocated to the request, the time and money spent servicing the request, and the final result of the request should all be tracked independently in order for final reports to be produced. As noted previously, the workflow and reports documented here are based on the draft specification that may change in the future.

22.3.3 Begin Request Processing

The initial stage of the request process involves creating a folder for the request and filling out the appropriate form for the request.

22.3.3.1 Create a Request Folder

When a request for information is received, a new folder for the request must be created. All information associated with the request is stored in that folder. For complete details about creating folders, see Section 13.4.1.

  1. Choose Browse Content then Retention Schedule from the Main menu. Click the category name for use.

  2. On the Exploring Category page, choose Create then Create Records Folder from the page menu.

  3. On the Create Record Folder page, enter the appropriate metadata information and click Submit when finished.

22.3.3.2 Create a Request

After the folder is created, initiate a form for the request from within the folder.

  1. Choose Create then the type of request from the Actions menu of the folder or select these options from the page menu of the Folder Information page. The same menus are available for FOIA Requests or Privacy Act Requests but different default data is filled in on the forms depending on the type of request. Request types include:

    • Access Request Form: Used to request access to records under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act (depending on which menu option is chosen).

    • Amendment Record Form: Used to request a change or amendment to a record.

    • Disclosure Record Form: Used to initiate the process to make records available for disclosure.

    • Other: Forms used to track information for the request. The form used will vary depending on the type of request and how it progresses through the workflow.

  2. If adding supplementary information to a previously created file request, select one of the forms from the Other category. The appropriate form opens. Fill out the form and click Submit when done. The form is filed in the folder with other documentation for the request.

    If beginning the request process, select one of the request types. The chosen form opens: the Access Request Form, the Amendment Record Form, or Disclosure Request Form.

  3. Fill in the appropriate information for the request and click Submit when done.

  4. A submission confirmation is displayed.

22.3.4 First Decision Point: Expedited or Non-Expedited

When a request is submitted for information, the first decision point revolves around if the request is expedited or not. The request form contains a field that specifies if the requester wants expedited processing, but that is not what determines this decision. This decision should be made by the FOIA/PA processors.

An expedited request is immediately serviced without further information needed. A non-expedited request requires review and may be denied after review.

22.3.4.1 Review Request Form and Route

The first decision point in the workflow is to route the request to the proper workflow by choosing the type of request.

  1. Choose Content Management from the Main menu then Active Workflows. A list of current workflows is displayed.

  2. Choose FOIA Requests. A Workflow Content page opens, listing items in workflows and the steps where the workflow is currently processing. Click the Workflow Review icon for the item to review (the document icon next to the Actions menu icon).

  3. The submitted request is displayed within a Workflow Review page.

  4. Select Expedited or Non-Expedited in the Review Workflow pane (on the left side of the page) to route the request. The Workflow Review page opens, showing that appropriate sub-workflow is started in the Step column.

  5. Click the Workflow Review icon to continue workflow processing.

22.3.4.2 Send Acknowledgements

An acknowledgement of the request must be sent regardless of the request type (expedited or non-expedited).

  1. If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to show all available workflows. Choose FOIA Requests to show all requests currently in the initial stage of processing (this is applicable for FOIA requests and Privacy Act Requests). The Workflow Review page opens.

    If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request to process. The action options in the Workflow Review Pane are changed to match the current workflow step.

  2. Click Acknowledged. A search page opens. Use this page to search for items that were used to acknowledge the request.

  3. Enter metadata for the search fields. Click Search when done.

  4. A list of content items matching the criteria is displayed. Select the check box of the item to use and click OK. The Workflow Review page opens again with the new workflow step indicated in the Step column.

22.3.5 Second Decision Point: Service or Denial

If this is an expedited request, the next step is to service the request by providing the requested information. If a request is denied, fill out the appropriate forms to indicate why the request is denied and what steps the requestor can take to appeal the denial.

Figure 22-1 Expedited Sub-Workflow

Surrounding text describes an expedited sub workflow.
Description of "Figure 22-1 Expedited Sub-Workflow"

If this is a non-expedited request, the request is evaluated and perhaps serviced or denied.

Figure 22-2 Non-Expedited Sub-Workflow

Surrounding text describes a non-expedited sub workflow.
Description of "Figure 22-2 Non-Expedited Sub-Workflow"

22.3.5.1 Servicing a Request

The software is not used to fulfill the request but is used to track the process of fulfilling the request. Therefore, after the information has been released to the requestor, it must be indicated in the workflow that the request has been serviced.

  1. If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Select Expedited Subs if this was an expedited request that should be immediately serviced.

  2. On the Workflow Content page, click Workflow Review for the request to be serviced. If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request to be serviced on the Workflow Content page.

    On the Workflow Review page, note that the action options in the Review Workflow pane have changed to match the current workflow step.

  3. Select Serviced on the Workflow Review Pane.

  4. On the search page, enter metadata to search for items that will fulfill the request. Click Search when done.

  5. On the search results page, select the check box for those items used to fulfill the request. Click OK when done.

    In the Final Result dialog, enter the information to be included on the final reports, including the final result, fees collected, number of people involved in servicing the request and total cost of servicing. Click OK when done.

22.3.5.2 Denying a Request

A request may be denied for a variety of reasons. If the request is denied, a Denial Request Form must be filled out before proceeding.

At this stage of the workflow process, it is possible you are not creating a new denial but are reviewing a denial created outside of the workflow (a direct denial) to make a decision about its outcome. Choose the appropriate Denial Form depending on the type of denial in process.

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Non-Expedited Sub (a request cannot be denied that was initially chosen as expedited). For details, see Section 22.3.4.1.

  2. Click the Workflow Review icon of the request to process.

    On the Workflow Review page, note that the action options in the Review Workflow Pane have changed to match the current workflow step.

  3. Choose Recommend Denial - New or Recommend Denial - Existing from the Review Workflow pane.

  4. If this is a new denial, enter the necessary data for the denial on the Denial Record Form and click OK. If this is a previous denial, a search dialog opens. Select the submitted denial form. This links the two forms together. Click OK when done.

  5. A submission confirmation page opens. Click OK. The Workflow Content page opens. The request is listed and the Step column is changed to DenialDecision.

The denial form is filed into the request folder and the workflow process moves to the next step. The denial is forwarded to the appropriate reviewers for a decision.

22.3.6 Third Decision Point: Denial Processing

A denial of request can have one of two different outcomes:

  • The denial can be disapproved. This means the denial is returned to the reviewer who denied it and it must be serviced (for details, see Section 22.3.6.1 and Section 22.3.5.1.)

  • The denial can be approved. If a denial of service is approved, the requestor is notified of the denial and can appeal that decision within a sixty day time frame. For more details about the appeal process, see Section 22.3.7.

    If a request is denied and an appeal is not received within the sixty day time frame, the FOIA/PA workflow is concluded. For details about the final processing of the workflow, see Section 22.3.8.

Figure 22-3 Denial Processing Sub-Workflow

Surrounding text describes a denial processing sub workflow.
Description of "Figure 22-3 Denial Processing Sub-Workflow"

22.3.6.1 Refusing a Denial

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Denial Sub.

    The Workflow Content page opens, listing all items in this stage of processing. The Step column for a denied request is DenialDecision. Click the Workflow Review icon of the request to process.

  2. On the Workflow Review page, in the Review Workflow pane, choose Disapprove Denial to refuse the denial and have the request serviced.

  3. The Workflow Content page opens with the item listed. The Step column indicates the request has moved back to the Serviced stage.

  4. Click the Workflow Review icon. On the Workflow Review page, in the Review Workflow pane, choose Serviced to route the request for servicing.

22.3.6.2 Approve Denial

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Denial Sub.

    The Workflow Content page opens listing all items in this stage of processing. The Step column for a denied request is DenialDecision.

  2. Click the Workflow Review icon of the request to process.

  3. On the Workflow Review page, in the Review Workflow pane, choose Approve Denial to approve the denial and refuse to fill the request.

    The Workflow Content page opens with the item listed. The Step column indicates the request has moved to the AwaitAppeal stage.

22.3.7 Fourth Decision Point: Appeal and Decision

If a request has been denied, the requestor has sixty days to file an appeal of that denial. If an appeal is not filed, the workflow for that request concludes.

When notification is received that an appeal has been filed, access the folder housing the original request and file an Appeal Request form. An acknowledgement that the appeal was received and is being reviewed must also be sent. All paperwork for the appeal is filed using the same identification as the original denial and the original Access Request Form, thus linking the records together.

It may be possible that you are not creating a new appeal form but are reviewing an appeal created outside the workflow process to make a decision about its outcome. Choose the appropriate Appeal Form depending on the type of appeal being processed (a similar action can occur when processing denials).

Figure 22-4 Appeal Process Sub-Workflow

Surrounding text describes an appeal process sub workflow.
Description of "Figure 22-4 Appeal Process Sub-Workflow"

22.3.7.1 Initiating an Appeal

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Workflow Review icon for the request on the Workflow Content page.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Denial Sub. A list of all requests in this stage is displayed.

  2. Click Workflow Review for the request being processed. The Workflow Review page opens. Note that the action options in the Review Workflow Pane have changed to match the current workflow step. Choose Appeal Received - New Form or Appeal Received - Existing Record.

  3. If this is a new appeal, a search page opens. Use this page to search for the original request item. That item is linked to this denial form and the denial stored in the appropriate folder.

    If this is an existing appeal, a search page opens. Use this page to search for the appeal already submitted. The Workflow Content page opens. The request is listed and the Step column is changed to Acknowledge.

22.3.7.2 Acknowledging an Appeal

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Review Workflow icon for the request on the Workflow Content page.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Appeal Sub. A list of all requests in this stage is displayed.

  2. Click Workflow Review for the request being processed. The Workflow Review page opens. Note that the action options in the Workflow Review Pane have changed to match the current workflow step.

  3. Click Acknowledged. A search page opens. Use this page to search for items used to acknowledge the request.

  4. Enter metadata for the search fields. Click Search when done.

  5. On the search results page, select the check box of the item to use and click OK. The Workflow Content page opens again with the new workflow step (AppealDecision) listed in the Step column.

22.3.7.3 Reviewing the Appeal

  1. If still in the workflow process, click the Review Workflow icon for the request on the Workflow Content page.

    If the workflow process was exited, choose Content Management then Active Workflows to display all available workflows. Choose FOIA Appeal Sub. A list of all requests in this stage is displayed.

  2. Click Workflow Review for the request being processed. The Workflow Review page opens with the original access request. Note that the action options in the Workflow Review Pane have changed to match the current workflow step.

    Choose Approve Appeal to approve the appeal and route the request for servicing. For details, see Section 22.3.5.1.

    Choose Disapprove Appeal to end the workflow process. The Final Result dialog opens. Enter the information to be included on the final reports, including the final result, fees collected, number of people involved in servicing the request and total cost of servicing. Click OK when done.

22.3.8 Final Actions

When processing is finished for a request, move the folder to the appropriate category that was previously created.

To move a folder to a new location:

  1. Navigate to the folder to be moved. Choose Edit then Move from the page menu.

  2. The Select Category or Folder page opens. If necessary, click the plus sign icon to expand the view of the items.

  3. Click the category name where the folder should be moved then click OK.

  4. The Exploring Retention Category page opens, listing all folders in that category.