Frequently Asked Questions - Public Records

Who can submit a PRA request?

Any person may submit a PRA request.

How do I make a records request?

There is no specific form that must be used to make a request. A request can be made orally or in writing, but written requests are strongly encouraged (preferable via e-mail) to help reduce confusion about the records requested. Requests should be submitted to the PRA Coordinator. Please provide a detailed description of the records you seek.

Please visit: Guidelines for Access to Public Records

Can I drop in to inspect the records that I want?

The volume of requests received by the University does not permit instant response to records requests. There is no service for on-demand, same day public records inspections; nor does the law require such a service. Identification and collection of potentially responsive records are only some of the steps involved in responding to requests. The collected records must be reviewed to ensure that they are in fact responsive to the request and to assess whether they are subject to redaction to protect the privacy rights of others and consistent with applicable legal privileges and exemptions. Each of the steps in the process takes time. When records requests are available for release, we will contact you.

Is the University required to create records that do not exist in order to comply with a public request?

No. In response to a public request, we are only responsible for providing existing documents and records that are maintained by the University.

I think UC should create a report that will have the information that I want. Can I request this under the Public Records Act?

The University releases non-exempt, existing records in response to requests. The Public Records Act does not require that the University answer questions or create new records.

What is the difference between a Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and a California Public Records Act (PRA) request?

FOIA generally does not apply to the University, but the PRA is modeled on FOIA. If someone makes a request to the University under FOIA, it is treated as a request under the PRA.

How do I request for a copy of the Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700)?

If you would like to obtain a copy of the Form 700 of a UC public official, you may e-mail your request to pra@ucop.edu. You may also obtain a Form 700 by dialing the Office of the General Counsel at 510-987-9800. Press "0" to speak with a receptionist, and ask to obtain a Form 700 from the Form 700 assistant. Finally, you may request a Form 700 if you enter UC Office of the President at 1111 Franklin Street in Oakland, CA during business hours by using the courtesy lobby phone to call the Office of the General Counsel. Appointments are not required to obtain copies of Form 700's, but emailing or calling in advance of coming to the building will expedite the response to your request.

It's been 10 days – where are my records?

The University has 10 days to "determine whether the request…seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and reasons therefore." (California Government Code Section 6253(c)) This means that agencies are supposed to notify the requester within 10 days if they have requested deliverable public records or exempt material or some combination of the two. The law, however, does not require production within 10 days. The University may extend period to make this determination for up to 24 days if there is a need to communicate with field offices, examine voluminous records, communicate with others who have an interest in the records, or construct computer reports. The law requires that production be made in a “reasonable” amount of time, based upon the volume of the records requested and the necessary review process.

What should our department do if we receive a PRA or IPA request?

Contact the PRA Coordinator immediately, as records requests must be acknowledged within prescribed legal timelines.

Please visit: Guidelines for Public Records Act Requests Received by Office of Record

What can our department charge for information copied and staff time involved in compiling any materials requested under a PRA request?

Unfortunately, the University can only charge the direct cost of duplication (scanned or paper copy). Staff time for research, retrieval, and review is not considered as part of the direct cost of duplication.

The University charges for computer programming time required to produce a record that requires data extraction or manipulation.

Should our department allow a member of the public to look through our files if they make a public records request?

No. As a general rule, members of the public should not be allowed to simply look into our files because there may be materials in the files that should not be disclosed. Suggest the requester to submit a request to the PRA Coordinator for further assistance.

Is it legal to discard documents or other evidence when a request is made for the information, or when you think a request is about to be made?

No, it is not legal. While you do have the right to dispose of documents in the ordinary course of business,  if it's consistent with your policies, you do not have the right to dispose of documents after a request is made  (even if it would otherwise be consistent with your disposition policies) as it would be in violation of the  California Public Records Act.