In this season of giving and receiving, we thought we’d share our OGIS holiday wish list. We have only three things we want this year!
1 – Estimated Dates of Completion (EDC) are important in the FOIA process. We hope all agencies are using them to help requesters better understand the timeline for a response and ensure that agencies are communicating clearly with the requester. Learn more about EDCs in this blog post and remember EDCs are the law.
2 – Just as this holiday wish list is simple, we want all FOIA programs to also think simple and use plain language in their communications. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Plain Language Act which requires federal agencies to ensure that language is clear, concise, well-organized, and easy to understand. We often hear from requesters who are frustrated with bureaucratic language. Check out this plain language website and keep your letters simple, please!
3 – We would be oh so merry and bright if every federal agency had accurate and complete contact information on their FOIA website. The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy published guidance for agency FOIA webpages. Their suggestions include working links as well as key information such as proactive disclosures, information on making a FOIA request, and agency FOIA reporting. OGIS’s wish list includes a mailing address, an email address, and a phone number along with contact information for your agency’s FOIA Public Liaison(s). A good example can be found here.
So that we can be full of good cheer, this is all we want for the holidays!