Category Archives: Best practices

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

Posted in Best practices, Review | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Best practices, Customer service, Ombudsman, Plain Language | 1 Comment

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

Posted in About FOIA, Best practices, Customer service | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Best practices, innovation, IT Solutions, Requester Roundtable

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

Posted in About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, Mediation services

Compliance Review of Coast Guard FOIA Program Now Available

Our assessment of the FOIA program at the United States Coast Guard is now available. The Coast Guard’s FOIA process is decentralized, meaning that requests received in the nine districts and more than 1,200 units are processed by those districts … Continue reading

Posted in About FOIA, Best practices, Review | 1 Comment

OGIS Releases Compliance Review of FEMA FOIA Program

We’re happy to announce the release of our assessment of the FOIA program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is now public. As our regular blog readers may know, the assessment of FEMA is one of six compliance reports … Continue reading

Posted in Best practices, Review

(FOIA) Appeal is in the Eye of the Beholder

It’s easy for requesters and agencies to agree that administrative appeals are an important part of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. It’s not as easy for agencies and requesters to agree on what warrants an appeal. FOIA requires … Continue reading

Posted in Best practices | 2 Comments