When agencies respond to a FOIA request with released records, they retain a copy of those records along with the response letter in a file documenting the request. This is important for a couple of reasons—so that the agency can respond to any questions from the requester, or that the information can be passed along … Continue reading Do You Copy?
We are pleased to share OGIS's 2012 report, Office of Government Information Services: Building a Bridge Between FOIA Requesters & Federal Agencies. We hope that you will read about our accomplishments over the past year and our thoughts for the coming year. Please email us with your thoughts and feedback.
A few of us from OGIS recently attended a presentation by the Interagency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group, an organization for Federal employees who work in the area of alternative dispute resolution. The title of the presentation was “How an Ombuds Office Serving Employees, Customers, and Citizens Can Bring Greater Success to Your Agency.” The … Continue reading In Good Company
Experienced FOIA requesters can attest that FOIA requests follow a well-established process: a requester submits a request; the agency responds to that request; if the requester is dissatisfied with the response, he/she submits an administrative appeal; the agency responds to the appeal. Before OGIS opened in 2009, a requester who remained dissatisfied after the agency … Continue reading Timing is Everything: When Does OGIS Get Involved?
When OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet opened the office in September 2009, three requests for OGIS assistance awaited her attention, yet she had no process in place for dealing with cases or any staff members to work on them. Since its inception, one of the great challenges OGIS has faced is figuring out how to do … Continue reading Thinking about process
In last week’s post we discussed the difference between positions and interests. In brief, positions are what an angry person presents during a confrontation; interests are the secret, unmet needs that anyone in a dispute may be reluctant to share. We also learned that the only way to move toward a resolution is to discuss … Continue reading Difficult Conversations, Part 2: How do we get there from here?
As part of providing mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes, we OGIS staffers regularly have conversations that can be characterized as “difficult.” We listen to FOIA requesters who are furious about delays or denials. We also hear from agency FOIA professionals who are defensive about agency practices or frustrated by overly persistent requesters. Thanks to … Continue reading Difficult Conversations, Part 1: Interests vs. Positions
Since opening in late 2009, we’ve received requests for assistance from requesters and agencies at every stage in the FOIA process. We’ve heard from requesters planning to sue within days of contacting us and we have heard from agencies asking for help communicating with just such a FOIA requester. While we do our best to … Continue reading Striving for Perfect Pitch: OGIS and Agencies’ Administrative Processes
My name is Jean Whyte, and I serve as Director of the National Archives and Records Administration’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. I’ve been invited to write this guest post about the intersection of FOIA and ADR and why I believe these two are made for each other. First, a little about our couple: Freedom … Continue reading FOIA and ADR: Will You Be My Valentine?
This week, after a year in the works, OGIS launched our new website and case management system, the OGIS Access System (OAS). Our excitement over the completion of this process isn’t just sky high — we’re literally in the cloud. The new OAS will manage more effectively and efficiently the requests for assistance that FOIA … Continue reading OGIS on ‘Cloud Nine’