Category Archives: Best practices

Customer Service: it’s a Smart Practice—and it’s the Law!

Our last post offers some practical tips for FOIA professionals wishing to incorporate alternative dispute resolution into the FOIA process. We picked up more good ideas later in the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) 7th Annual National Training Conference … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, Customer service, FOIA Public Liaisons, Mediation services, Ombudsman, Plain Language | Leave a comment

FOIA and Dispute Resolution: Voices from the Field

This year’s American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) Annual Training Conference included a panel titled “FOIA and Dispute Resolution.” The panel included Kathy Ray from the Department of Transportation and Brad Heath, a USA Today reporter and frequent FOIA requester. … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, FOIA Public Liaisons, Mediation services, OGIS events, Ombudsman, Team approach | Leave a comment

Getting Ready for Sunshine Week

Sunshine Week is less than six weeks away! Agencies, what are you doing to prepare? Last year, Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero sent a message during Sunshine Week to National Archives’ staff reminding them that FOIA is everyone’s … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, Ombudsman, Open Government, Sunshine Week 2014 | 1 Comment

Upcoming FOIA Requester Roundtable: Estimated Completion Dates

We’ve written before about the importance of providing estimated completion dates to requesters — not only is it good customer service, but since 2007, it’s the law. Unfortunately, OGIS still hears from many requesters with delayed requests who have not … Continue reading

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Providing Consent

  Repeat OGIS customers may wonder why we sometimes ask them to provide consent to discuss their requests with agencies and other times we don’t. We recently contacted a requester whose consent we had asked for a few weeks earlier … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, definitions and concepts, Privacy | Leave a comment

Do You Copy?

When agencies respond to a FOIA request with released records, they retain a copy of those records along with the response letter in a file documenting the request. This is important for a couple of reasons—so that the agency can … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, Electronic records, FOIA Exemptions, Mediation services, OGIS Case Study, Ombudsman | 3 Comments

FOIA Fever: It’s Contagious

We’ve written about the positive difference that executive support for FOIA can make in federal agencies. We’ve made this point in our recommendations and,  whenever we can, we encourage agencies to make FOIA a priority (and communicate this across the … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, Ombudsman | 1 Comment

Shutdown Didn’t Stop FOIA Clock

FOIA request processing came to a screeching halt during the 16-day government shutdown as the vast majority of FOIA professionals were furloughed as “non-excepted” employees. We don’t like the term “non-essential” since we consider FOIA essential, as Sen. Patrick Leahy … Continue reading

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Managing Emails & Government Records: Are your ducks in a row?

In his November 28, 2011 Presidential Memorandum -Managing Government Records, President Obama noted “proper records management is the backbone of open Government.” Sound records management helps agencies carry out their missions, promotes accountability by documenting agency activities, and fosters open … Continue reading

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Making “Publicly Available” Records Available

As the government strives to find ways to improve FOIA, proactive disclosure seems to be one strategy that everyone agrees on; if agencies make more information publicly available, people will not need to make FOIA requests for those records. In … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, About OGIS, Best practices, Electronic records, Ombudsman, Open Government, Records Management | Leave a comment