Colorado Open Records Act

The Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman (the Office) is committed to transparency. The following policy has been developed in order to implement the Colorado Open Records Act (C.R.S. 24- 72- 201 to 206) in a uniform manner and better serve the citizens of Colorado. This policy will help the Office balance the demands of the Colorado Open Records Act and the Office’s statutory responsibilities. This policy will also help ensure the Office complies in all respects with the Colorado Open Records Act and meets all of its statutory duties to the people of Colorado in an orderly and expeditious manner. This policy is not intended to be a duplication of the Colorado Open Records Act or supersede state law.

Direct requests and any questions regarding this policy to:

Jordan Steffen
Communications and Policy Director

Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center
1300 Broadway, Suite 430
Denver, CO 80203

Email: jsteffen@coloradocpo.org
Phone: 720-625-8645

Colorado Open Records Policy

The Colorado Open Records Act Policy was developed in order to implement the Colorado Open Records Act (C.R.S. 24-72- 201 to 206) in a uniform manner and better serve the citizens of Colorado.

Office Procedure for Handling Record Requests

All records requests submitted to the Office by mail, courier or email shall be immediately provided to the Ombudsman. All communications believed to contain a possible records request shall be provided to the Ombudsman as soon as possible to ensure a timely response. The Ombudsman will sign all responses to the Colorado Open Records Act except in extraordinary circumstances.

The Office will accept only records requests made in writing or electronically via email. Records request made via social media shall not be accepted and must be resubmitted. Record requests or requestors that cite the Freedom of Information Act will be treated as though they were made pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act.

When responding to a records request, the Office shall make every effort to respond within three working days, as is required by C.R.S 24-72-203(3)(b). A request is received the day an email or letter containing the request is opened. The three working day response time begins the first working day following receipt of the request. A request received after noon on any day the Office is officially closed will be considered received as of the following work day.

No employee of the Office may modify, redact or omit any records they are required to provide, pursuant to this policy, to the Ombudsman or his or her designee handling the request. Redactions and decisions about whether a record falls under an exemption to the Colorado Open Records Act will be made by the Ombudsman in consultation with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Staff should never assume a document is exempt and should always consult the Ombudsman before making a final determination.

When feasible, the Office will endeavor to provide electronic copies of files to requestors if such alternative is significantly less burdensome to provide than paper copies. When responsive records cannot be easily or cost effectively provided electronically to a requestor, the Office will work with the requestor to schedule a time to inspect the records in person. The Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. The Ombudsman may grant exceptions where the Office, requestor or the records produced require special accommodations.

When a requestor (either an individual or organization) has an overdue balance for completing a prior request to the Office, work on a new CORA request will not begin until the overdue bill is paid in full.

Fees

When a substantial request is made – requiring the production of more than 25 pages of documents or more than one hour of staff time to locate or produce records – the Office will charge the requestor for all copying expenses and for staff time in accordance with C.R.S. 24-72-205(5)(a) and applicable law.

Any cost charged to a requestor shall not exceed the actual cost of producing the records, in accordance with C.R.S. 24-72-205(5)(a) and applicable law.

For requests where the Office anticipates more than 25 pages will be produced and/or more than one hour of staff time will be consumed, the Office will provide a requestor with advance notice and an estimate of compliance costs. Such costs must be paid in full before the production of records unless alternative arrangements have been made through the Ombudsman.

Copying Documents

When the number of pages produced in response to a records request exceeds 25 pages, the Office will charge $0.25 per page for all documents copied.

Document retrieval and production of records – hourly rate.

When researching the location, retrieving or producing records consumes more than one hour of staff time, the Office shall charge $20 an hour for all staff time. An hourly rate not to exceed $30 an hour when specialized document production or specialized skills are required to fully comply with a records request. In extraordinary circumstance, the use of a third party contractor may be necessary and will be discussed with the requestor in advance.

By policy of the Office, the requestor shall also be charged $30 an hour for time spent by an attorney engaged in the practice of law directly related to a records request, including but not limited to, the review of documents for privilege or other exemptions to production; document redaction; creation of documents that articulate the privileged nature of the requested documents or conducting Colorado Open Records Act related legal research.

Payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date. Past due amounts will be referred to collections.

The Format of Records Produced

The Colorado Open Records Act guarantees that “all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times, except as provided in this part 2 or as otherwise specifically provided by law,” as stated in C.R.S. 24-72-201. The Colorado Open Records Act does not guarantee access to public records in a specific format. When the production or review of records in a specific format would interfere with the regular discharge of duties of the Office and staff, in accordance with C.R.S. 24-72- 203(1)(a), or levy an undue burden upon the Office, the Ombudsman will determine the appropriate format for the records to be produced. The Office may require that members of the public only be allowed to review copies of documents when the custodian of records determines that allowing access to originals could interfere with the regular discharge of duties of the Office, its staff or the production of original records could jeopardize the condition of the records.