Category Archives: Best practices

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

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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

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The Department of State launches a new FOIA site

The Department of State received nearly 19,000 FOIA requests in fiscal year 2012 – clearly, people are interested in the agency’s records! To better satisfy the needs of the public, the department has launched a new FOIA website (available at … Continue reading

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FOIA Solutions: Little things mean a lot

The Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) hosted a Freedom of Information Act Administrative Forum on June 5, 2013, giving FOIA professionals – particularly FOIA Public Liaisons – a chance to discuss the issues they face. As with … Continue reading

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Forecast: Innovation Ahead

Did you check the forecast this morning to see if you should grab an umbrella before you headed out the door? If so, did you know that information collected and distributed by the government helped you to stay dry? Many … Continue reading

Posted in Best practices, Government information, innovation, Open Government | 1 Comment