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Getting Started in a Single User account

How to I practice responding to a request?

This guide will take you through the most common actions that you will take while working on a request in NextRequest. If you have any questions as you work your way through the guide please reach out to support@nextrequest.com

 

Action 1: Create a test request

In order to try out the various features in NextRequest you will need to first create a test request. It is important when creating a test request to use a different email address than the one associated with your existing NextRequest account. We recommend using a personal email or a second work address if you have one. To submit a request follow these steps:

  1. Go to your portal ( [your agency].nextrequest.com )
  2. If you are currently Signed In, click the Sign Out link in the upper right
  3. Click the MAKE REQUEST button in the top left
  4. Enter request description
  5. Enter a email address for the requester (different from your NextRequest account email. Example: myemail+test@gmail.com)
  6. Click the MAKE REQUEST button


Action 2: Find the notification email and go to request

You will have received and automatic notification email (it should have the subject “[Opened] [your agency] records request 17-XX”) when the request was created. If you don’t see the email check your spam/junk folder. Click the view request button in the email to access the request


Action 3: Post an internal message on the request

As part of fulfilling a request you may need to add an internal note to the timeline of a request. You can post an internal “note” on the request that will only be viewed by you, not the requester (or the public). To do follow these steps:

  1. Click the Chat icon (chat_icon.png) in the top right of the screen above the message window
  2. Type your message in the box
  3. Click the ‘Add Message’ button
  4. Look for the note in the Request Timeline below the message window

 

Action 4: Upload a document to the request

You can upload documents and release them to a requester, all within NextRequest. The requester can log into the system and download the files or view them within NextRequest. To upload a document follow these steps:

  1. Click the Paperclip icon (attach_icon.png) in the top right of the screen
  2. Click the green ‘Upload Files’ button
  3. Select one or more files from your computer and click the ‘Open’ button
  4. (Optional) Enter a folder name in the box where it says ‘Folder name (optional)’. This is useful if you will be working with a large number of documents and want to keep them organized, for example by batch or department
  5. DO NOT check the ‘Release to Public’ box. You’ll be releasing the document(s) later
  6. Click the ‘Save’ button
  7. Go to the ‘Documents’ section on the left hand side in the middle. You’ll see the document(s) in the ‘Staff Only’ section. Currently they are only visible to you, not the requester or the public

 

Action 5: Release the document

Once documents are ready to release you can choose to release them to the requester only or to the entire public. To release a document follow these steps:

  1. Locate the document you want to release in the ‘Documents’ section on the left. If the document is in a folder you may need to click the Expand icon (expand_icon.png) next to the folder name to make the document visible
  2. Click the Release icon (release_icon.png)
  3. Select either the ‘Public’ or ‘Requester’ button
  4. Click the ‘Save’ button
  5. Check the section you selected for your document

 

Action 6: Post an external message on the request

You can use external messages to provide information to the requester. You can use these messages to do things like give the requester a time or cost estimate, or to clarify the scope of the request. When you have supplied all responsive documents that you are able to, you should send a message to the requester explaining what has been done. To message the requester follow these steps:

  1. Click the Envelope icon (envelope_icon.png) in the top right of the screen
  2. (Optional) Click the ‘Insert Template’ button and select a template from the list
  3. Type your message in the box
  4. Check the box ‘Yes, send to requester’
  5. Click the ‘Message Requester’ button
  6. Look for the message in the Request Timeline below the message window

 

Action 7: Close the request

When you are done fulfilling the request you can close it out and notify the requester. To close the request follow these steps:

  1. Click the Close button (close_icon.png) in the top right of the screen above the message window
  2. Click the box where it says ‘Select closure responses…’
  3. Select a reason from the drop-down
  4. (Optional) edit the closure response text
  5. Click the ‘Close Request’ button
  6. Look around the request page - you’ll notice that the status at the top of the screen is now ‘Closed’ and several buttons have disappeared. If you need to update the request you can do so by clicking the Reopen button (reopen_icon.png) in the top right.

 

Action 8: Publish the request

Certain requests may be sensitive enough that you want to permanently restrict access, however requests that are appropriate for the public can be a resource for future visitors to the NextRequest portal. In some cases it may prevent a new request from being filed because the visitor finds what they need in a previous request! While you can change the visibility of a request at any time, the most common workflow is to publish a request after closing it out. To publish a request follow these steps:

  1. Click the ‘Change’ button in the orange visibility bar at the top of the screen
  2. Select the ‘Published’ option
  3. Click the ‘Save’ button
  4. The visibility bar at the top will change to white and the text will say “Visibility: Published”

 

Action 9: Logging Time

NextRequest has a time tracking feature that let’s you easily log time spent on a request. This can be useful for seeing how you are spending your time, and depending on local laws you may be able to charge the requester for some or all of time spent. The total number of hours logged for a request is shown at the bottom of the Staff section on the request page. Agencies that have purchased the Payments module and entered hourly rates for staff will see the total cost of fulfilling the request here as well. Navigate to the request you want to log hours for

  1. Click the Log Hours icon (log_hours_icon.png)
  2. Enter the hours and minutes spent
  3. Enter a description of how the time was spent
  4. Click the ENTER HOURS button
  5. (Optional) if you are entering hours for the first time on the request, refresh the page to start showing the total hours

 

Bonus Task: See the request from the Requester POV

When requesters log in and view a request that they submitted, they see only a subset of what you see as internal staff. For example they don’t see internal messages or unreleased documents. You can see what the requester sees by following these steps:

  1. Note down the number of the request that you were working on. It will be in the form #17-XX at the top of the screen
  2. Click the ‘Sign Out’ link in the top right
  3. Click the ‘Sign In’ link in the top right
  4. Click the ‘Lost password/Can’t sign in’ link
  5. Go through the steps to setup a password and confirm your account
  6. Log in using the email address and password you just set up
  7. Locate the request you were working on and click on it


Congratulations!

You’ve now completed all the actions you would take on a typical request. If you would like to learn about how you can use NextRequest with multiple users and/or departments reach out to sales@nextrequest.com.