Requesting Access to Public Data
Requests for government data held by the City of Minneapolis may by completing the data request form or by calling 311.
The Government Data Practices Act (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13) presumes that all government data are public unless a state or federal law says the data are not public. Government data is a term that means all recorded information a government entity has, including paper, email, DVDs, photographs, etc.
The Government Data Practices Act also provides that the City must keep all government data in a way that makes it easy for you, as a member of the public, to access public data. You have the right to look at (inspect), free of charge, all public data that we keep. You also have the right to get copies of public data. The Government Data Practices Act allows us to charge for copies. You have the right to look at data, free of charge, before deciding to request copies.
How We Respond to a Data Request
Upon receiving your request, we will acknowledge it and, if it cannot be immediately fulfilled, provide you with a request number for your reference
Prior to fulfilling a request, we may contact the requestor for the following reasons:
- to ask for clarification or additional information to help us fulfill the request
- to indicate that the request may involve a charge or require pre-payment
- to discuss scheduling partial or rolling productions of data
In order to complete a request, we will do one of the following:
- If we do not have the data, we will notify you in writing as soon as reasonably possible.
- If we have the data, but the data are not public, we will notify you as soon as reasonably possible and state which specific law says the data are not public.
- If we have the data, and the data are public, we will respond to your request appropriately and promptly, within a reasonable amount of time by doing one of the following:
- arrange a date, time, and place to inspect data, for free, if your request is to look at the data, or
- provide you with copies of the data as soon as reasonably possible. You may choose to pick up your copies, or we will mail or fax them to you. If you want us to send you the copies, you will need to provide us with an address or fax number. We will provide electronic copies (such as email or CD-ROM) upon request if we keep the data in electronic format.
If you do not understand some of the data (technical terminology, abbreviations, or acronyms), please let us know. We will give you an explanation if you ask.
The Government Data Practices Act does not require us to create or collect new data in response to a data request if we do not already have the data, or to provide data in a specific form or arrangement if we do not keep the data in that form or arrangement. (For example, if the data you request are on paper only, we are not required to create electronic documents to respond to your request.) If we agree to create data in response to your request, we will work with you on the details of your request, including cost and response time.
In addition, the Government Data Practices Act does not require us to answer questions that are not requests for data.
Appealing a Decision Related to Your Request
If you are not satisfied with the access decision made by the City, or have an issue with the data maintained by the City, there are several options available to the public for appeal and resolution of issues related to data requests.
- Challenging the Accuracy or Completeness of Data – Individuals have the right to challenge the accuracy or completeness of data of which they are the subject. An individual must notify the Responsible Authority in writing, describing the nature of the disagreement. The Responsible Authority then has 30 days to do one of the following:
- Correct data found to be inaccurate or incomplete and attempt to notify past recipients of inaccurate or incomplete data, including recipients named by the individual.
- Notify the individual that the Authority believes the data to be correct.
- Request an Opinion from the Commissioner of Administration – The Commissioner of Administration has the authority to issue advisory opinions on the MGDPA and the Minnesota Open Meeting Law (OML). These opinions may be requested:
- By a city, when the Responsible Authority is unsure how to classify data or respond to a data request.
- By a person, when that individual disagrees with a data practices determination.
- Administrative Remedies – Persons with data practices disputes may file a complaint with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). A complaint must be filed with the OAH within two years of the alleged violation and must:
- Be in writing
- Be submitted under oath
- Detail the factual basis for the alleged violations
- Be accompanied by a filing fee of $1,000 or bond to guarantee payment
- Compel Compliance – Any aggrieved person seeking to enforce their rights or obtain access to data may bring an action in district court to compel compliance with the MGDPA and may recover costs and disbursements, including reasonable attorney’s fees, as determined by the court.
Requests for Summary Data
Summary data are statistical records or reports that are prepared by removing all identifiers from private or confidential data on individuals. The preparation of summary data is not a means to gain access to private or confidential data. We will prepare summary data if you make your request in writing and agree to pay for the cost of creating the data. Upon receiving your written request, we will respond with the data or details of when the data will be ready and how much we will charge.
Last updated Jul 12, 2017