In his welcoming remarks at Monday’s Sunshine Week celebration at the National Archives (video), the Archivist of the United States noted the substantial effort our agency has put towards improving open government over the last few years, and noted that there is – of course – a lot of work left to do. Our newly-released Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Annual Report shows that OGIS agrees with that sentiment.
FY 2016 was a particularly exciting time for OGIS: our mediation and compliance programs continued to grow, and the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 increased our role and visibility in the FOIA process. We also welcomed the second term of the FOIA Advisory Committee and the establishment of the Chief FOIA Officers Council, and organized the National Archives’ inaugural Sunshine Week event in the William G. McGowan Theater.
The passage of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 had a profound impact on OGIS. Our dispute resolution program’s caseload has grown steadily over time, but in the fourth quarter of 2016—after the passage of the FOIA Improvement Act—requests for our services grew by 142 percent over the same period in FY 2015. We are working to ensure that we can continue to meet the incredibly diverse needs of our customers.
We hope you enjoy reading through the report. If you have any thoughts on our activities or suggestions for how to improve our work, we want to hear from you! An hour before the next FOIA Advisory Committee meeting on April 20, 2017, at 9:00 am, OGIS will host our first public meeting to gather input on our activities. Be sure to watch this blog and follow us on Twitter to be reminded about the public meeting and ways in which you can participate.