Reserve a Seat for Dispute Resolutions Skills Training Session

We are happy to announce that registration is now open for the October 18 session of our popular Dispute Resolution Skills for FOIA Professionals training. The free day-long session will be at the National Archives in downtown Washington, DC, location. During our training sessions, we help FOIA professionals develop a working knowledge of Alternative Dispute … Continue reading Reserve a Seat for Dispute Resolutions Skills Training Session

The ABC’s of OGIS Training

As summer winds down and pictures of kids on their first day of school fill up our social media feeds, we thought it might be a good time for a pop quiz on OGIS’s training program. Test your knowledge with the true/false statements below. Statement 1: OGIS recently launched its training program. Answer 1: False. … Continue reading The ABC’s of OGIS Training

Upcoming Training Opportunity for FOIA Professionals

FOIA Public Liaisons and the professionals who staff FOIA requester service centers play a key role in the FOIA process—they provide valuable assistance with a process that can confuse requesters. The recently passed FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 expands the role that these professionals play, requiring agencies to notify requesters about FOIA Public Liaisons and … Continue reading Upcoming Training Opportunity for FOIA Professionals

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 a variety of resources available on our website While many of the requests for assistance … Continue reading Have a FOIA Question? We are Here to Help

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 a request to the NRL for records about a World War II-era medical experiment that … Continue reading Case Study in Clarity

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 an appeal response. As you might know, we at OGIS are big fans of the … Continue reading The Appeal of the Appeal Letter

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 faces its own challenges. For this reason, a practice that works for a small independent … Continue reading Smart Solutions to FOIA Problems

Photograph of District Ranger Harley Hamm Using a Surveying Compass

FOIA Advisory Committee Surveys: Examining the FOIA Landscape

As we’ve previously mentioned, two subcommittees of the FOIA Advisory Committee -- Oversight and Accountability, and Fees -- have developed surveys to learn more about the areas they are examining. These surveys were recently sent to FOIA Public Liaisons (FPLs) and Federal FOIA professionals across the government. The purpose of the FPL survey is to … Continue reading FOIA Advisory Committee Surveys: Examining the FOIA Landscape

Let’s Talk About Estimated Dates of Completion

In 2007 Congress added a provision into the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that requires agencies to provide a requester with an estimated date by which the agency expects to  complete work on a request, when the requester asks for one. This requirement helps the requester better understand the agency’s FOIA process and gives the … Continue reading Let’s Talk About Estimated Dates of Completion

Let’s Make It Easier for Requesters to Use the FOIA Process

Agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations are one of the most important resources available to those requesting information from the federal government. As we’ve mentioned in the past, agency FOIA regulations are essentially the rule book the agency uses to process a request.  And, as anyone who has ever played a new board or … Continue reading Let’s Make It Easier for Requesters to Use the FOIA Process