Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
The auditor of Minnesota state government

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Data Requests

 

Data Requests

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA) presumes that all government data are public, unless a law provides that the data are not public. The MGDPA provides you with the right to inspect public data, and to receive copies of public data for a cost. The MGDPA also provides you with the right to inspect data about yourself or a person for whom you are a guardian.

Who can request information?

Public data is available to any member of the public who submits a request. Individuals who are the subject of data can obtain both public and private data about themselves.

How do you request information?

You can use this website to make a data request. For your convenience, this website has separate forms and instructions for requesting public data and requesting data about yourself. This website also provides contact information to submit a request by letter or e-mail.

When will you get the information?

OLA will strive to fulfill all requests within 30 days. OLA will acknowledge all requests within 10 days and provide an estimate of when the information will be available, along with any associated fees.

OLA Data

What information does OLA have?

Almost all of the information OLA maintains is related to the audits, evaluations, and special reviews we conduct. Therefore, OLA information is largely about other government agencies and the programs they administer.

How do I get information about OLA work?

The quickest way to find out what information OLA has about agencies and programs is to examine the list of reports on this website. All OLA reports are available without charge.

Is there more detailed information that is not in OLA reports?

OLA maintains “workpapers” for each audit, evaluation, and special review. Workpapers document the process by which an audit, evaluation, or special review was conducted. Workpapers also include detailed evidence to substantiate and support what is contained in an OLA report.

How long does OLA maintain data?

OLA reports are available on the website indefinitely. However, OLA only maintains workpapers for five years after the report release date.

Does OLA maintain any other information that is not related to reports?

OLA also maintains information related to our personnel, budget, and other administrative activities.

Requesting Government Data

How do I make a data request?

For your convenience, OLA has a form on this website to streamline the government data request process.

What if I do not want to use the form?

Using contact information on this website, you can make a data request through e-mail or by letter.

What information do I need to provide?

Your request for government data should describe what data you are seeking. Providing as much detail as possible, including date ranges, will help OLA promptly respond to your request. Your request should also describe whether you would like to inspect the data, receive copies, or both.

Can I make an anonymous request?

OLA cannot require people to identify themselves or explain the reason for their request. However, providing contact information will help OLA gain a better understanding of requests that are not clear. Contact information will also help OLA provide status updates on requests that are in the process of being fulfilled.

How does OLA fulfill government data requests?

OLA will review all requests to determine if it has responsive data. If so, OLA will assess how much data exists, its form (electronic or physical) and how long it will take to collect, review, and produce the information.

For requests with contact information, OLA will reach out to requestors as soon as possible to communicate how long it will take to provide information and any associated fees.

After gathering all relevant information, OLA will contact requestors to arrange a date and time to inspect the data. For requests that include copies of documents, OLA will notify requestors when all relevant information has been sent through the mail or by e-mail.

Requesting Data about Yourself

How do I make a data request?

For your convenience, OLA has a form on this website to help you request data about yourself or a person for whom you serve as a guardian.

What if I do not want to use the form?

Using contact information on this website, you can request data through e-mail or by letter.

What information do I need to provide?

Your request for data about yourself or a person for whom you serve as a guardian should describe what data you are seeking. Providing as much detail as possible, including date ranges, will help OLA promptly respond to your request. Your request should also describe whether you would like to inspect the data, receive copies, or both.

How does OLA protect against giving sensitive data to the wrong people?

OLA takes special precautions to confirm that it only provides private data to people who are authorized to have that data.

  • Before OLA will begin work to fulfill a request, you must come to our office and prove your identity. If requests include data about a person for whom you serve as a guardian, OLA also requires documentation to prove that that you are authorized to obtain data for that person.
  • OLA will only release data to requestors that come to our office and provide proof of their identity. OLA will not mail or e-mail any private data on individuals.

What are acceptable documents to prove my identity?

You may prove your identity by providing one of the following:

  • State driver’s license
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • Minnesota ID
  • Minnesota Tribal ID

What are acceptable documents to prove that I am a legal guardian?

For parents or guardians of a minor, you must provide OLA one of the following:

  • Certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate, or
  • Certified copy of documents that establish the parent or guardian’s relationship to the child, such as:
    • A court order relating to divorce, separation, custody, or foster care
    • A foster care contract
    • An affidavit of parentage

For legal guardians of an individual, you must provide OLA one of the following:

  • Certified copy of court order showing your appointment as guardian, or
  • Valid power of attorney

How does OLA fulfill government data requests?

OLA will review all requests to determine if it has responsive data. If so, OLA will assess how much data exists, its form (electronic or physical) and how long it will take to collect, review, and produce the information.

OLA will reach out to requestors as soon as possible to communicate how long it will take to provide information and any associated fees.

After gathering all relevant information, OLA will contact requestors to arrange a date and time to inspect the data and pick up any requested copies.

Fees

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act states that public government data can be inspected free of charge. However, OLA may charge for copies of government data that exceed 100 pages.

Copies of documents (100 or fewer pages)

No charge

Copies of documents (100 or more pages)

We will tell you in advance the anticipated cost of fulfilling requests that exceed 100 pages. Cost components include:

25 cents per page copied
Actual staff cost to locate, collect, and produce copies
Actual mailing and delivery costs

 

Data Request Contacts

What is a responsible authority?

A responsible authority is the person made responsible for an agency's data and for administration of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Legislative Auditor and responsible authority

James Nobles
651-296-4708

Address

Office of the Legislative Auditor
658 Cedar Street, Room 140
St. Paul, MN 55155

Data practices general e-mail

Datapractices.ola@state.mn.us

 

 

Office of the Legislative Auditor ♦ Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155