Might you be involved in a RTKL appeal? If so, we have important news to share.
Here’s the headline:
Beginning August 1, 2022, all appeals involving Commonwealth agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction, with a few exceptions, will be processed through the E-File Appeal Portal. This is the first of three phases as we move ALL appeals to this new system. The OOR E-File Appeal Portal User Guide can be found here, and OOR staff will be prepared to answer questions as users navigate the new process.
Below are the details, including what to expect next.
The OOR is moving forward with our E-File Appeal Portal, with the goal of having all Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) appeals processed through the portal by spring of 2023. An early testing phase was conducted with most Commonwealth agencies and, after using the system for several months and making improvements based on what was learned, the OOR is ready to expand the usage to more Commonwealth and local agencies.
The transition to universal use of the E-file Appeal Portal will occur through a three-phase process for the purpose of exposing all agencies, from the largest Commonwealth agency to the smallest local agency, to the E-File Appeal Portal system and having all users gain a proficiency in using the system.
Phase 1: Beginning August 1, 2022, all appeals involving Commonwealth agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction, with a few exceptions, will be processed through the E-File Appeal Portal.
Phase 2: Currently scheduled to begin in October 2022, in Phase 2, local agencies will be chosen at random though a yet to be established interval, i.e. every third appeal received. In this phase, the OOR will not seek permission from the parties prior to assigning the appeal to the E-File Appeal Portal. Advanced notice of Phase 2’s start date will be widely publicized and is likely to come in mid-September.
Phase 3: The final phase will consist of a firm date when all appeals will be assigned to and processed through the E-File Appeal Portal, subject to limited exceptions such as, individuals without email access. The beginning date is anticipated to be the spring of 2023. A firm date for Phase 3 will be provided in early 2023.
You may want to refer to the OOR E-File Appeal Portal User Guide. Please review it with your relevant staff and stakeholders. The User Guide will be available on the OOR’s website. In addition, more information will be provided during the OOR’s Annual Training. OOR staff will be available for questions, resolve any user problems, and receive feedback. We are looking forward to working with all of you towards the goal of establishing the E-File Appeal Portal as a speedier and more efficient system for processing RTKL appeals for the Commonwealth.