Responsible Authority, Designee, and Data Practices Compliance Official
The Data Practices Act (Chapter 13 of Minnesota Statutes) and Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1205, assign a number of duties to government entities. The specific employees in the entity who have the authority and responsibility for carrying out these duties are the:
- responsible authority (RA);
- designee (one or more); and
- data practices compliance official (DPCO).
Each entity must identify, designate or appoint one individual as its RA. The RA is the person who ultimately is responsible for the collection, use, and dissemination of all entity data, and for all of the entity’s data practices decisions. The RA also must make sure the entity complies with all of the requirements of the Act and the Rules. Both the entity and the RA are liable for violations of Chapter 13. (Minnesota Statutes, sections 13.02, subdivision 16; 13.05; Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subparts 12-15, and 1205.0800-1500)
- State agency: the RA is the commissioner, the chief executive officer, or an agency official appointed by the agency’s governing body. (Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subpart 13)
- Constitutional officer: the constitutional officer is the RA for his/her office. (Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subpart 13)
- Elected official: the elected official is the RA for his/her office. (Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subpart 14(A))
- Data outside of offices of elected officials: the governing body must appoint a county employee to be the RA. (Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subpart 14(A))
- County social services agency: the RA is the director of the agency. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.46, subdivision 10)
- City or school district: The governing body must appoint a city or school district employee, respectively, to be the RA. (Minnesota Rules 1205.0200, subparts 14(B) and (C))
If your entity is not one described above, look to Minnesota Rules 1205 and Chapter 13 for guidance.
A designee is a person designated by RA to help administer and implement the requirements of Chapter 13 and the Rules. The law specifically states that a designee is responsible for receiving and complying with requests for government data, and for answering inquiries from the public concerning the provisions of Chapter 13 or the Rules. The RA decides whether to appoint designees and how many are appointed. The RA is not required to appoint designees.
The law defines the designee as a person who is in charge of and responsible for individual files or systems containing government data. Often, an RA will appoint a division head – or the director of a unit within the entity – as the designee for the data maintained by that division or unit. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.02, subdivision 6)
Data Practices Compliance Official
The RA must designate or appoint one employee to be the entity’s DPCO. Instead of making this appointment, the responsible authority may choose to serve as the DPCO. The DPCO receives and responds to questions or concerns about data practices problems, including problems in obtaining access to data the entity keeps. (Minnesota Statutes, section 13.05, subdivision 13)