DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0

New guidance for more user-friendly FOIA webpages. (NARA ID 6609911)

The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) recently issued updated guidance for agency FOIA webpages. The guidance provides helpful recommendations for agencies to ensure that requesters can find useful resources and information.

OIP’s guidance suggests that agencies ensure that members of the public can easily locate agency FOIA webpages by including a clear link to the FOIA webpages on the homepage. OIP also recommends that agency FOIA webpages cover three general categories of information. The categories of information are:

  • Public Interest – this category includes the agency’s FOIA library, which should include all frequently requested documents;
  • Making and tracking an existing FOIA request – this category includes the agency’s FOIA Reference Guide, FOIA regulations, and contact information for the FOIA Requester Service Center and FOIA Public Liaison; and
  • FOIA performance and operations – this category includes the agency’s Annual FOIA Report and Chief FOIA Officer Report.

OIP’s guidance also includes other suggestions that agencies should take into consideration when reviewing their FOIA webpages. Specifically, OIP suggests that agencies:

  • ensure the FOIA webpages meet any agency or government-wide styling conventions;
  • use plain language;
  • regularly review content to ensure that it is up-to-date and that links are correct; and
  • work with their web team to improve the quality of the FOIA webpages.

OIP’s new guidance is based in part on feedback gathered in a joint Requester Roundtable we co-hosted with OIP in June 2016.  Do you have any other suggestions for how agencies can make their FOIA webpages more informative? If so let us know in the comments!