Category Archives: Best practices

FOIA Improvement: Making It Easier to Help FOIA Requesters

Note: This entry is another in our series of occasional blog posts providing updates on our efforts to implement new provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) signed into law by President Obama on June 30, 2016. As we … Continue reading

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FOIA Improvement: Informing Requesters of OGIS Services

Note: Last week President Obama signed into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, locking many of the Administration’s openness policies and initiatives into the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including advancing open government and highlighting the importance of OGIS … Continue reading

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June 16 Requester Roundtable on FOIA Websites

Have you ever spent far too long searching for something on an agency’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website or thought to yourself, “there are certain types of information that every agency should include on its FOIA website”? If so, … Continue reading

Posted in Best practices, OGIS events, Requester Roundtable | 1 Comment

OGIS Recommendations Regarding Agency Use of Still Interested Letters

As we have discussed the last few weeks, still interested letters are a source of great frustration for many Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesters and can give requesters the appearance that an agency’s FOIA process does not work. For … Continue reading

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Have a FOIA Question? We are Here to Help

As the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Ombudsman, one of OGIS’s important functions is to help FOIA requesters better understand how the FOIA process works. We do this by working directly with those who contact our office and by making … Continue reading

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Case Study in Clarity

We play a valuable role in facilitating communications between a requester and an agency. A recent request made by National Public Radio (NPR) to the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) provides an example of this function. NPR reporter Caitlin Dickerson made … Continue reading

Posted in About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, Customer service, FOIA Public Liaisons, Mediation services, OGIS Case Study | 1 Comment

The Appeal of the Appeal Letter

While the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires agencies to notify requesters of the legal reasoning for upholding either all or part of an initial denial, the statute gives agencies very little—well, actually, no—additional guidance about what should be in … Continue reading

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Smart Solutions to FOIA Problems

We have learned through both our mediation services and agency assessment programs that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to administering a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program. Agencies process different kinds of requests for vastly different records, and each agency … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, Best practices, Customer service, National Archives and Records Administration, Review | 1 Comment

Agencies Using Technology to Provide Estimated Dates of Completion

Providing estimated dates of completion can be a challenge—but it’s also the law. As we’ve previously noted, Congress amended FOIA in 2007 to require agencies to provide requesters with estimated dates of completion when asked.  We think that estimated dates … Continue reading

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Every Day is Conflict Resolution Day at OGIS

Since OGIS opened in 2009, we’ve worked to improve the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process by providing mediation services to help resolve disputes between requesters and Federal agencies.  We handled more than 1,200 requests for assistance in Fiscal Year … Continue reading

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