What is the Information Network of Arkansas?

The Information Network of Arkansas Board (INA) was created in 1995 and operates under the authority of Arkansas code 25-27-101 et. seq. with the statutory responsibility of assisting the state in exploring and improving citizen and business access to public information and services.

The objective of INA is to improve the accessibility of Government in the form of public information or electronic transactions.  These transactions may be between Citizens and Government, Businesses and Government or between Governmental Agencies and offices.  INA manages the State’s web portal Arkansas.gov and provides online payment processing through Arkansas GovPay, the State’s payment portal.

Is INA a “For Profit” Private Company?

No.  INA is a State Governing Board that consists of individuals from both the public and private sector that represent different communities of interest.  These board members provide contract oversight to a private company, the Arkansas Information Consortium, LLC portal network.  The Portal Network Manager operates under a self-funded model.  The Portal Network Manager builds, manages and markets applications and websites for the agencies, offices, associations, commissions and municipalities that request work.  No money is appropriated from the state to fund this operation.  The private company receives funding through fee-based portal services that are explained below.

Does INA only work for Arkansas Government?

Yes. Under its contract, INA can only do work for any of the agencies and offices of the State as well as county and local government.  INA also works for associations such as the Arkansas Bar Association, Municipal League and Association of Counties.

Does INA charge for Information that is currently free from another source?

No.  INA only charges for access to information that is currently available from the state or one of its agencies for a fee.  In some cases, online access is less expensive than in person or manual transactions.  For example, Motor Vehicle Records and Criminal Background Check information are available to only those people that legally have the right to access that information. INA provides monthly billing services for these transactions for the agency and users of the information, or provides instant payment processing services via a credit card.

Less than five percent of all online services with statutory fees fund the 648+ online services and the entire portal of information and operations.  Professional license searches, licensed day care providers, school information report cards, state jobs system,  corporation search, unclaimed property search, and many online forms are among the information that is available at no cost.  As you can see, a majority of the information made available electronically by INA and our agency partners is free.

What types of things does INA charge for and why?

INA charges for information that is currently only available from the agency with a statutory charge.  INA’s “portal transaction fees” may be added to these transactions or the agency may assume the portal fee in lieu of savings realized by electronic transactions.  INA develops, hosts, and maintains these online applications at no charge to the agency requesting it.  Included in these systems is the ability to take credit card payments or originate electronic funds transfer (EFT or eCheck) using the Arkansas GovPay portal payment engine.  All financial and administrative overhead charges associated with processing payments are incurred by INA as the Merchant.

INA does charge an hourly rate for graphic design and maintenance of websites.  Agencies receive a Statement of Work/Interagency Service Level Agreement (SOW/SLA) with a quote for services before the start of a site.

INA also provides marketing services at no charge for the Arkansas.gov portal and the online services developed.  Media releases, graphic design, brochures, agency direct mail, social media buzz and even tradeshow attendance and speaking engagements are all important to increasing the usage of the portal and its services.  Because the portal is funded through the use of online services, INA maintains a vested interest in driving people to Arkansas.gov, creating a true partnership rather than a traditional vendor relationship.

Why does INA have subscriptions?

To access information limited by statute such as Driver Records or Criminal Background Checks, an individual has to sign a document that states that they are eligible for access and will not misuse, distribute or copy the information.  This document must be on file before a secure login and password is assigned.  The secure login, or PIN, constitutes an electronic signature providing an audit trail of records accessed.  Subscriptions are yet another layer of security to prevent unauthorized access to limited access data.   The annual cost of a subscription is $95.  A subscribing company is allowed up to 10 logins on one subscription account.

The annual $95 subscription fee provides funding for support via the phone and online live chat support, administration of the usernames and passwords, and training on the use of services.  It also helps to fund the cost of monthly billing and collections. Users can opt to receive a monthly invoice or pay with a credit card or ACH account on file.

For example, a law firm needing access to services across agencies such as business entity filings with the Secretary of State, criminal background checks with the State Police, and motor vehicle records with the Department of Finance and Administration, can be billed once per month for all agency services.  Funds are collected and disbursed to the various agencies by INA.  This is a tremendous one-stop service for businesses transacting with Arkansas government.

How are portal fees set?

The appropriate dollar amount is determined by looking at cost models that consider all variables; the cost of administration, billing, development, ongoing maintenance, support, and the cost of the financial processing is considered individually with each application developed.  A portal fee is determined by INA and the agency and is presented to the INA Board for adjustment and/or approval.

For additional information, please contact the Information Network of Arkansas at 501-324-8900 or via e-mail at info@ark.org.