Since OGIS opened in 2009, we’ve worked to improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process by providing mediation services to help resolve disputes between requesters and Federal agencies. We handled more than 1,200 requests for assistance in Fiscal Year 2015 alone. In addition to mediating cases, we provide twice-yearly training to help agency FOIA professionals develop the skills they need to communicate productively with requesters.
OGIS’s mediation services fall under the broad category of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The use of ADR across the Federal government has surged in recent decades as agencies search for ways to improve customer service and reduce litigation. Agencies have employed ADR to help resolve issues ranging from workplace conflict to contracts and procurement and beyond.
To recognize the increasing importance of ADR in the Federal government, OGIS joined Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and the National Archives and Records Administration’s General Counsel, Gary Stern, in issuing a statement recognizing October 15, 2015, as Conflict Resolution Day. You can learn more about how other Federal agencies are embracing ADR by browsing adr.gov and reading other agency’s Conflict Resolution Day messages.