Yesterday we published our analysis and observations of FOIA compliance issues based on the responses to FOIA questions included in the 2017 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). This report is the result of our continued collaboration with the Chief Records Officer (CRO) of the United States Government to gather government-wide information about FOIA policies and procedures. The 2017 survey responses further enhance our understanding of the critical relationship between strong records management and FOIA, add to observations about agency compliance noted in our agency compliance assessments, and explore issues about agency FOIA search practices raised by the FOIA Advisory Committee.
Key results from the 2017 survey include:
- FOIA and Records Officers generally work together and FOIA Officers report that records needed to respond to FOIA requests are generally accessible.
- Records tend to be more readily accessible when FOIA professionals and records managers are located in the same office/division and when the Records Officer and FOIA Officer have a good working relationship – or are the same person.
- Most agencies report that FOIA offices can conduct some searches without contacting other agency employees.
- Most agencies are notifying requesters of OGIS’s dispute resolution services during the FOIA process.
- A majority of agencies are primarily using email to send records – and responses – to FOIA requesters.
Please download the report for our additional analysis and observations. OGIS is grateful for the CRO’s continued willingness to include FOIA questions in the RMSA, and we look forward to continuing this successful collaboration. The RMSA is a valuable tool for helping us expand our review of agency FOIA policies and procedures, and for identifying potential compliance issues that merit further exploration. The tie between strong records management and a compliant and efficient FOIA process is crucial, and helps promote a more open and transparent government.