We realize that it was a very busy Sunshine Week, so we understand if you missed the fact that in addition to testifying on the Hill and hosting and participating in great events, we also released our Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Annual Report. This year’s report chronicles our first full year since the passage of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which highlighted OGIS’s crucial role in improving compliance with the statute, and improved our ability to share our frank observations about methods to improve the FOIA process.
Here are a just a few of the report highlights:
- We experienced a 160 percent overall increase in our caseload and closed more than double the number of cases closed in FY 2017 compared to FY 2016.
- Our compliance assessment reports continue to show the value of investing in technology to improve the FOIA process; strong management that ensures staff has a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and the FOIA program has sufficient leadership support; and that good communication helps ensure a smooth FOIA process—and helps to prevent disputes that may otherwise lead to litigation.
- We redesigned our website to make it easier to navigate and mobile-friendly.
- We held our first Annual Open Meeting, and hosted a meeting of the Chief FOIA Officers Council to discuss the importance of clear communication with requesters and ways to improve customer service.
- We improved our understanding of the relationship between FOIA and Records Management offices, and supplemented our understanding of how agencies across the government are implementing FOIA by including targeted FOIA questions in the Records Management Self-Assessment.
If you are interested in learning more about our year at OGIS – including how many proposed updates to FOIA regulations we reviewed, agency responses to our compliance assessment reports, and more – we encourage you to download and read the report!