Topic Number2.4.11Effective Date

July 1, 2013

March 1, 2018

ProcedureResponding to External Requests for Information & Engagement with Elected Officials
PurposeTo document protocols and expectations in response to external requests for information and for communication witlh elected officials and legislators
Accountability Indicators
  • WWRC employees understand and appropriately act in their role using corresponding protocol(s) when responding to external requests for information and/or in any communication with legislators or other public officials.
  • Documented violations are the exception, not the norm.
  • Where violations exist, there is readily accessible documentation of corrective action.
Policy Reference

Code of Virginia Title 2.2, Chapter 37 :  Virginia Freedom of Information Act

DHRM State Employee Handbook Page 28
DRS Policy Manual Chapter 1.4:  Freedom of Information Act
WWRC Policy 3.3.8:  Privacy & Disclosure

Detailed Governance ReferenceN/A
Executive Staff ContactRick Sizemore, WWRC Director

 

Every Day in Every Way We…..  

Put Our Clients First

Take Care of Customers

Work in Teams

Value our Staff

Are Organized, Utilized, and Valuable

Preserve Leadership Ethics, Accountability, Center Values, and Public Trust

 

Governance Procedures

These governance procedures, aligned directly with Commonwealth of Virginia and Agency policy, standards and expectations, apply to requests for information received from the media, other state agencies, and, the general public.    These governance procedures also apply to all communications with Elected Officials, including Legislators.

 

All WWRC employees, permanent and temporary, are expected to understand and carefully follow the stated requirements corresponding to the type of external request received.   Questions and/or clarification should be addressed by the employee's supervisor and/or Division Director.  

 

Contact with the Media
 
WWRC maintains a transparent approach of sharing information with the media to maintain the public trust.  The WWRC Director's Office routinely notifies the media to share information about WWRC and its programs.  The WWRC's Director's Office, in collaboration with the DARS Communications Team, also provides timely press releases to update the public about specific events, when appropriate.  Any WWRC employee who believes the Center has an upcoming event or activity that might interest local or other media should consult with their supervisor and Division Director.  The Division Director will forward to the WWRC Director's Office for consideration, as relevant. 

 

WWRC employees are expected to refer any external media requests to the WWRC Director's Office.  WWRC employees are expected to obtain clearance through the WWRC Director's Office before releasing any information to the media about center events, programs, or issues in their capacity as a Center employee.  

 

The release of client information, including photographs, to the media in any form always requires expressed written permission of the client (and/or parent/guardian, if a minor) using the Authorization to Release Information for Publication which can be found in the Forms Cabinet under the section for Marketing.  This form must be maintained by WWRC.  The WWRC client must be informed by WWRC staff that:

  • his/her comments or photograph may go on the Internet and/or be shared through social media channels; and
  • if s/he decides later to rescind his/her permission, it may not be possible to remove the past media interaction, but the Agency will strive to curb or prevent future use of the material.  

 

Contact with Local, State, and Federal Legislators and Other Elected Officials

State and federal laws restrict the political activities of state employees during state time. Employees may not participate in any political activity on state time or use the name of their Agency, or the Commonwealth of Virginia in support of legislation or political candidate campaigns.  However, employees may participate in political activities as an individual citizen on their own time and using personal email or other type of personal communication method.   

 

If a WWRC employee is contacted by a legislator, refer the request or inquiry to the WWRC Director's Office.   If approved, the WWRC employee may choose to respond in an unofficial capacity using personal resources. 

 

Similarly, employees are restricted from engagement of other elected officials using state resources without prior approval from the Director's Office. 

 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. A FOIA request can be made for any agency record.

  • WWRC employees are expected to refer any client-related FOIA requests to the WWRC Records Management Services Department.  The Records Management Services Manager is accountable to determine if FOIA applies to the external request for information.  The Records Management Services Manager is expected to respond to external requests for information within fourteen (14) days or immediately, if an emergency or life-threatening situation.  
  • WWRC employees are expected to refer any non-client-related FOIA requests to the WWRC Director's Office.  The WWRC Deputy Director & Division Director, Facility Operations will coordinate the response in consultation with the DARS Agency Policy and Planning Director, if needed.

 

Deposition, Subpoena, and Court Orders

WWRC employees are expected to refer client-related deposition, subpoena, and court orders to the WWRC Records Management Services Department and to notify their supervisor and Division Director immediately upon receipt.    Employees are expected to respond in a timely manner to any follow-up requests by the WWRC Records Management Services Department or their supervisor/Division Director. 

 

WWRC employees are expected to refer deposition, subpoena, and court orders that involve staff participation to the WWRC Director's Office.  The WWRC Deputy Director & Division Director, Facility Operations will coordinate the response in consultation with the DARS Agency Policy and Planning Director, if needed. 
 
Data Requests

WWRC employees are expected to contact the WWRC Organizational Development and Quality Assurance (OD&QA) Division for any internal or external requests related to data.   OD&QA will consult with the WWRC Director's Office, as appropriate, prior to release and distribution.