One government institution that we work with often has developed a search checklist “Responsive Records Search Log”, which has really assisted them and my office knowing that a thorough search was made. I asked permission and permission was given to take their search checklist and modify it so that it might be applicable to any government institution or local authority.
I encourage Access and Privacy coordinators to take a look at the sample search checklist and decide whether such a search checklist would help in ensuring thorough searches. Certainly, one should feel free to adapt the search checklist to the circumstances in one’s organization.
The search checklist could be distributed by the Access and Privacy coordinator to those that he or she has identified as part of his or her search strategy. Along with the search checklist, the Access and Privacy coordinator should give the recipient a timeline to complete the search and indicate whether he or she is only seeking a representative sample for building a fee estimate or a full search for responsive records.
I believe the search checklist is helpful when multiple employees in an organization have to do searches. I believe it assists the Access and Privacy coordinator in determining whether the organization has done a thorough search.
Please take a look at the sample search checklist on our website here. Of course if you have any suggests to improve this search checklist, please email my office.