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

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OLA Data Access Policy

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13. As a result, people may request access to information OLA has obtained or created, and maintained.1 The purpose of this policy is to help people understand the type of information OLA maintains and how people can request access to that information.

In responding to a request, OLA has a dual obligation: we must provide access to information the requester has a right to examine, but we must also protect from “unlawful disclosure” information the requester does not have a right to examine.

OLA Information

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.

The quickest way for a person to find out what information OLA has about agencies and programs is to examine the list of reports OLA has issued. These reports contain a significant amount of information, and they are immediately available without charge. The list of OLA reports can be accessed from the homepage of this website.

In addition to the information OLA discloses in its reports, OLA maintains “work papers” for each audit, evaluation, and special review. The primary purpose of work papers is to document the process by which an audit, evaluation, or special review was conducted, as well as to provide detailed evidence to substantiate and support what is contained in an OLA report. OLA maintains work papers for five years after we release a report.

OLA also maintains information related to our personnel, budget, and other administrative activities. People may also request this information. In response, as the law requires, OLA will provide information that is public and protect from unlawful disclosure information that is not public.

Access to OLA Information

As noted, OLA reports are immediately available without charge. However, if you want additional OLA information, here are several important things to keep in mind:

  • If you want access to OLA work paper or other information not contained in a public report, you must submit a request on an OLA Data Access Request Form.
  • State law classifies OLA work papers as not public until OLA releases the report connected with the work papers. Work papers then become public except information classified as not public, and OLA work papers typically contain a significant amount of not public data. For example, if information we collect from an agency is classified as not public, we must maintain that classification. OLA also has authority to classify as not public data that could identify certain individuals from whom we obtain information.
  • If you request information about yourself (i.e., you are the “data subject”) and the law classifies the information as private, you have a right to access the information, but you must prove your identity by personally showing OLA a government-issued photo ID. You may not access information about yourself if it is classified as confidential.
  • If your request requires OLA to copy a large number of documents, we may charge you for the costs, but we will tell you the amount before we proceed to make the copies. The law allows you to inspect (i.e., look at) documents without charge.
  • Please remember that we must carefully review all documents and data you have requested to ensure that we do not unlawfully disclose information classified as not public.

For more information about your rights to access government data, see Minnesota Statutes, 13.03. For more information about OLA’s data disclosure authority and responsibilities, see Minnesota Statutes, 3.979.

James Nobles, Legislative Auditor, is the “Responsible Authority” at OLA for administration of the Government Data Practices Act.

1 The Government Data Practices Act uses the term “data” to include any information contained in a physical form (for example, in a document, e-mail, photograph, audio and video recording, etc.). In this policy, we use data and information as synonymous terms.

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