Best Practices for Bettering Your FOIA Program

640355_2018-002 smallerAgency FOIA professionals who are looking for ways to improve their FOIA programs may wish to consider 43 Best Practices from the 2016-2018 term of the FOIA Advisory Committee. The Best Practices, which offer a range of suggestions regarding accessibility, process management, talent management, technology, and proactive disclosures, are detailed in the Committee’s 2018 Final Report and Recommendations.

Among the recommended best practices:

  • Provide training for FOIA professionals on their agency’s major record-keeping systems
  • Create a career model for information management
  • Centralize processing where appropriate
  • Promote collaboration among employees to ensure coverage of cases during periods of leave or peak times
  • Post an agency organization chart and a directory listing contact information for all offices
  • Publish the calendars of top agency officials

The  2014-2016 and 2016-2018 terms of the Committee recommended a total of eight recommendations to the Archivist of the United States for actions to improve the implementation of FOIA, including search technology, accessibility, performance standards, and fees. Of the eight recommendations, four are complete and four are ongoing. OGIS updates the status of the recommendations at each FOIA Advisory Committee meeting.

Interested in what the 2018-2020 term of the FOIA Advisory Committee is considering for its recommendations? Check out the Records Management Subcommittee’s proposed recommendations, shared at the September 5, 2019 meeting. And stay tuned to this blog for information about the next FOIA Advisory Committee meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, December 6, 2019, in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives in Washington, DC, where additional recommendations may be discussed.

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