2018-2020 FOIA Advisory Committee Draft Final Report Available for Public Comment

19-2601aIncluding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in agency strategic plans, providing mandatory annual FOIA training, and briefing new senior leaders on their obligations and responsibilities under FOIA are among 22 recommendations in a draft final report from the third term of the FOIA Advisory Committee to the Archivist of the United States. The Committee will consider and vote on the draft report at its June 4, 2020, meeting – the final of the 2018-2020 term. 

The draft report, available on the FOIA Advisory Committee webpage, includes recommendations the Committee passed at its previous two meetings on March 5th and May 1st. Check out an at-a-glance look at the recommendations, which include encouraging agencies to release FOIA documents in both human-readable and machine-actionable formats to the extent feasible, and training FOIA professionals in records management.

We invite the public to comment on the draft report by emailing foia-advisory-committee@nara.gov by June 2, 2020. We will compile all comments and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, will make them public. (At the May 1st meeting, we announced our intention to post the report on the collaboration platform GitHub. We opted not to do that for logistical, technical and practical reasons.) 

If you are interested in attending the June 4th virtual meeting of the FOIA Advisory Committee, we ask that you complete a two-step registration process. First, please register by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday June 2nd, on Eventbrite

The week of the meeting, an email from foia-advisory-committee@nara.gov will allow registrants to complete the second step of the registration process to receive a link and phone number for connecting separately to the visual and audio portions of the meeting. There will be a  public comment period.

We are aware that some attendees had trouble accessing the May 1, 2020, meeting, the first ever virtual meeting of the FOIA Advisory Committee. We are working to ensure smoother access for the June 4th meeting and appreciate your patience as we continue to acclimate to meeting remotely. A video stream of the May 1st meeting is available on the National Archives YouTube channel. 

A working group of five Committee members drafted the final report to the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, who appointed 20 FOIA experts from both inside and outside of government to serve on the Committee. Mr. Ferriero recently signed the charter for the 2020-22 term of the Committee, the fourth term since it was established in 2014. If you are a government FOIA professional or member of the requester community, please consider submitting your nomination to serve on the next term of the Committee. Look for a follow-up announcement in this blog space for a call for nominations in the near future.

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