Got an Idea? Here’s How You Can Share It!

“Do You Have Any Bright Ideas” (National Archives ID: 514120)

Interested in sharing with OGIS your thoughts about and experiences with FOIA? There are a number of ways to do that, and we’re happy to help you figure out where to best share your ideas. 

The best venue to share your FOIA experiences and suggestions for improvement is directly with OGIS at As the federal FOIA Ombudsman, we identify issues and recommend opportunities for change. Each year, we handle thousands of individual requests for OGIS assistance which help us identify trends in the federal FOIA landscape. (We handled more than 4,100 requests from both requesters and agency FOIA professionals in fiscal year 2020.) We use our extensive knowledge and experience to identify which recommendations are workable, and where to channel those recommendations to be most effective.

Our website provides comment sections for you to share your ideas, concerns and observations on FOIA. If you wish to submit public comments regarding ideas to improve the FOIA process, your best venue is the OGIS Annual Open Meeting. While the FOIA Advisory Committee and the Chief FOIA Officers Council welcome public comments, both of these bodies focus on specific topics and public comments should be tailored to those topics; they are not the best venues for ideas that do not relate specifically to topics being addressed by those entities.

Before submitting a comment to OGIS about the OGIS Annual Open Meeting, FOIA Advisory Committee, or the Chief FOIA Officers Council, please read our posting policy. For all three venues, we use our discretion to decide whether and how to respond to public comments. OGIS will not post comments it receives regarding requests for or concerns about specific FOIA requests or issues in any of these venues; please send any individual concerns for which you seek OGIS assistance to

We offer the following table to guide you in submitting public comments. This table is also available on our posting policy page.

Venue:OGIS Annual Open MeetingFOIA Advisory CommitteeChief FOIA Officers Council 
Purpose: To present on the “review and reports” by OGIS. 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(6)To study the federal FOIA landscape and recommend to the Archivist of the United States improvements to the administration of FOIA. To develop recommendations for increasing FOIA compliance and efficiency; disseminate information about agency experiences, ideas, best practices, and innovative approaches to FOIA; Identify, develop, and coordinate initiatives to increase transparency and compliance with FOIA; and promote the development and use of common performance measures for agency compliance with this section. (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(5)(A))
Membership:Not ApplicableNo more than 20 individuals, including FOIA professionals  from federal agencies and non-governmental members, appointed by the Archivist of the United States for two-year terms in accordance with the charter of the FOIA Advisory Committee The Directors of OGIS and the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice, the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget, agency Chief FOIA Officers, and any other officer or employee of the United States as designated by the co-chairs (OGIS and OIP Directors.)  (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(2))
Written or Oral Statements:OGIS shall at its annual meeting allow “interested persons to appear and present oral or written statements” 5 U.S.C. § 552(h)(6)Any member of the public is permitted to file a written statement with the Committee in accordance with federal regulations governing all federal advisory committees. (41 CFR § 102–3.140(c)). Any member of the public may speak to or otherwise address the Committee, (41 CFR § 102–3.140(d)), if agency guidelines permit. The FOIA Advisory Committee By-Laws, Article 4 Subsection H, state that members of the public “may at the determination of the Chairperson, offer public comment during a meeting.” 

There is no requirement for the Committee to respond, either orally or in writing, to any person who submits comments although the Committee may respond at its discretion. There also is no requirement for the Committee to post submitted written comments to its website. OGIS’s posting policy states that comments “should be substantive commentary on topics pertaining to the Committee’s work.”
“Not less frequently than annually, the Council shall hold a meeting that shall be open to the public and permit interested persons to appear and present oral and written statements to the Council.” (5 U.S.C. § 552(k)(6)(B)) There is no requirement for the Council to respond, either orally or in writing, to any person who submits comments, although the Council may respond at its discretion. There is no requirement for the Council to post submitted written comments to its website (although OGIS has done so in the past).
Public comments page: Public Comments Submitted for the OGIS Annual Open Meeting Public Comments Submitted to the FOIA Advisory CommitteePublic Comments Submitted to the Chief FOIA Officers Council