Records requests can take anywhere between a few days to sometimes even years. But how much does the level of the agency impact how long you’ll have to wait? Eesha Pendharkar sifted through the last four years of our request data to find out.
For state and local agencies, 97% of requests were completed within a year, but for federal agencies the number was significantly lower, at 81%. However, some local agencies took four years or longer to complete requests, which wasn’t the case with state or federal requests.
Looking at the data over the years was broadly informative, but trends were more evident when we broke the time frame down further, by looking at the data per month.
While more than half of all state and local requests were completed in the first month, not even 30% of federal requests were completed in the same time frame. That means you should anticipate a much higher average request time if you sent a request to a federal agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Breaking down the data for each day of the first month revealed similar trends, with percentage of federal requests completed being significantly lower than state and local requests.