As we’ve previously mentioned, two subcommittees of the FOIA Advisory Committee — Oversight and Accountability, and Fees — have developed surveys to learn more about the areas they are examining. These surveys were recently sent to FOIA Public Liaisons (FPLs) and Federal FOIA professionals across the government.
The purpose of the FPL survey is to obtain information about the role of FPLs in the FOIA process and how the position functions in the Executive Branch. While the FPL role was described in an Executive Order (Executive Order 13392, Improving Organization Disclosure of Information) and legislation (the OPEN Government of Act of 2007), the Committee has observed that how FPLs work within a particular agency seems to vary widely. The survey results will provide valuable insight into how FPLs are accomplishing their statutory role of reducing delays, increasing transparency, understanding the status of FOIA requests and resolving FOIA disputes.
FOIA fees remain a source of much confusion for requesters and agencies. The goal of the FOIA Fees survey is to gather information about the administration of FOIA fees and its impact on the Executive Branch. The Fees Subcommittee hopes that the results of the survey will suggest new approaches to this tricky FOIA issue.
OGIS and the FOIA Advisory Committee look forward to sharing the results of the surveys with the public; in the meantime, the draft FPL and draft fees surveys are available on the FOIA Advisory Committee’s website.
If you a FOIA Public Liaison, you should have received both surveys by email within the last week; other Federal FOIA professionals should have received the FOIA Fees survey from a supervisor. We asked that FPLs forward the survey to the FOIA professionals within their organizations. If you fall into either of these categories but did not receive the survey(s), please contact Christa Lemelin at firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey closes on June 22, 2015. Thank you in advance to those of you participating in the surveys!
Please visit the FOIA Advisory Committee’s webpage, including the Contact Us/Submit Comments page, for information about the Committee and how you can get involved and make your voice heard by submitting comments to the Committee. We post public comments submitted to the Committee and we would love to hear your thoughts on improving FOIA oversight and administration.