OGIS celebrates 10th anniversary


OGIS marked its 10th anniversary in September 2019. While aluminum or tin are the traditional gifts to commemorate a decade, we are celebrating our 10 years as the FOIA Ombudsman with cake–-on October 10, 2019, National Ombuds Day!

We are pleased that our work has resulted in a culture shift in the FOIA landscape. Dispute resolution—both through OGIS and agency FOIA Public Liaisons—is baked into the FOIA process, and communication between requesters and agency FOIA professionals occurs much more often than it did a decade ago. On a more systemic level, agencies have welcomed OGIS as a neutral assessor of their FOIA policies, procedures and compliance.

Whether helping individual requesters or with systemic issues, we are proud that we have established ourselves as an advocate for the FOIA process.

Since opening our doors in 2009, OGIS has:

  • Responded to nearly 20,000 requests for assistance;
  • Published 17 assessments of agency FOIA programs and FOIA issues;
  • Published nine Annual Reports which are submitted to Congress and the President;
  • Taught hundreds of FOIA professionals dispute resolution skills to help them fulfill their statutory duties;
  • Testified before both the Senate and the House of Representatives;
  • Reviewed and commented on countless agency FOIA regulations;
  • Chaired and managed three terms of the FOIA Advisory Committee, which brings together FOIA experts from inside and outside of government to identify solutions to FOIA’s biggest challenges;
  • Organized four Sunshine Week celebrations at the National Archives
  • Hosted four Chief FOIA Officer Council meetings; and
  • Connected both nationally and internationally with individuals and organizations who are working to make access happen at every level of government both here and abroad.

We are so grateful for the opportunities we have had to improve the FOIA process over the last 10 years, both individually and systemically. While we don’t know what the next 10 years will bring, we do know that OGIS will continue to advocate for the FOIA process to work as intended.