Postal Regulatory Commission

Online publication of Quarterly and Annual Public Inquiry Logs enhance transparency and save money

The Postal Regulatory Commission receives hundreds of rate and service inquiries each year (informal complaints about postal service), along with thousands of other comments and questions from the public. The Commission is also contacted by journalists and by members of Congress.

These inquiries are fielded by the Commission’s Public Affairs and Government Relations (PAGR) Office and are recorded in the PAGR Log. A public version of this log is published on the Commission public website each quarter in two convenient formats (Excel and pdf). The Commission maintains the public version of the log to omit personal details to protect the privacy of those who contact the Commission.

The log includes data fields such as the date, location and description of the inquiry, the action taken by the Commission and its date. The Commission has created a tree of the most common inquiry topics and sub-topics for categorization purposes. The logs also contain a report analyzing the topics on which people have contacted the Commission. The reports are posted on the agency home page and are then published on a dedicated archive page. They serve as a useful reference for both the public and for staff, without any Privacy Act concerns.

This process has been a way to provide useful information on trends of postal service concerns for Commissioners, agency staff and for the public. Recording the descriptions with an eye to protect privacy from the outset, and posting the reports online, enhances transparency and prevents the need to review and redact these records in the future. This idea also saves money because it precludes the need for laborious records review when a public records request for such data is received.

 

 

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Postal Regulatory Commission
This idea is well-suited to a variety of federal agencies.  Agencies can establish a public version of an existing internal inquiry log, with enough substantive information to make it useful and illuminating.  In addition, agencies can download a copy of one of the Excel spreadsheets and analysis published by the Postal Regulatory Commission to serve as a model, and modify it for agency-specific purposes. The quarterly reports are published on the Commission’s website at www.prc.gov and serve to inform the public, the Commission, and the Postal Service of the nature of public concerns addressed to the Commission.

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