FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting Round-up

On Tuesday, October 20, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Advisory Committee held its sixth meeting in the Archivist’s Reception Room. The purpose of the meeting was for the Committee’s three subcommittees – Oversight and Accountability, FOIA Fees, and Proactive Disclosure – to provide updates on their work. As the Committee moves into the backstretch … Continue reading FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting Round-up

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

Make your voice heard: the FOIA Advisory Committee seeks public comments

On January 27, 2015 the FOIA Advisory Committee met to discuss its progress on examining three important FOIA issues: proactive disclosures, FOIA fees, and FOIA oversight and accountability. The Committee opened the meeting by voting unanimously to approve the October 21, 2014 meeting minutes. The Committee also approved the bylaws drafted by the Committee’s Bylaws … Continue reading Make your voice heard: the FOIA Advisory Committee seeks public comments

10/21 FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting Wrap-Up

On October 21, 2014, the FOIA Advisory Committee met to continue its efforts to examine and address FOIA oversight and accountability, proactive disclosure, and FOIA fees. Archivist of the U.S. David S. Ferriero opened the meeting by noting that the momentum behind government openness and transparency is growing around the globe. In September, President Obama … Continue reading 10/21 FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting Wrap-Up

Improving FOIA Regulations: We Need Your Help!

Developing a common FOIA regulation is one of the commitments of the second Open Government National Action Plan to modernize FOIA. Agency FOIA professionals and regulatory specialists interested in what a common FOIA regulation might look like are invited to a meeting that will kick off the interagency process of developing the regulation. The meeting … Continue reading Improving FOIA Regulations: We Need Your Help!

Customer Service: it’s a Smart Practice—and it’s the Law!

Our last post offers some practical tips for FOIA professionals wishing to incorporate alternative dispute resolution into the FOIA process. We picked up more good ideas later in the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) 7th Annual National Training Conference during a session titled “Customer Service—It’s the Law!” The session, which included FOIA professionals Jay … Continue reading Customer Service: it’s a Smart Practice—and it’s the Law!

FOIA and Dispute Resolution: Voices from the Field

This year’s American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP) Annual Training Conference included a panel titled “FOIA and Dispute Resolution.” The panel included Kathy Ray from the Department of Transportation and Brad Heath, a USA Today reporter and frequent FOIA requester. The session was completely full, and there were lots of questions and excellent discussion. The … Continue reading FOIA and Dispute Resolution: Voices from the Field

Giving Thanks

In this season of reflection and good cheer, we at OGIS are giving thanks for some improvements we have seen recently in the FOIA world: While backlogs remain a significant problem, agencies are making strides in reducing them—they are down 45% in five years—even as requests increase and staffing decreases. OGIS constantly beats the drum … Continue reading Giving Thanks

Upcoming OGIS Training Session: Developing Dispute Resolution Skills

Do you find yourself flummoxed when faced with an angry FOIA requester? Do you regularly take "no" for an answer from your agency’s program people? We can help! OGIS will present a training session designed to help FOIA professionals develop dispute resolution skills on Monday, December 9, 2013 at the Archives building on Constitution Ave … Continue reading Upcoming OGIS Training Session: Developing Dispute Resolution Skills

Scoping Out a Successful FOIA Request

Describing the scope of a FOIA request -- and on the agency’s side, interpreting the scope of that request -- often feels like more art than science. Requesters naturally describe requests in expansive terms to be sure that they don’t exclude potentially valuable information. On the other hand, agency FOIA staffers often feel like they … Continue reading Scoping Out a Successful FOIA Request