VIII. COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS YEAR(S).
A. Comparison of numbers of requests received 230,492 vs. 181,388, a 27% increase
B. Comparison of numbers of requests processed 223,644 vs. 195,105, a 14.5% increase
C.Comparison of median numbers of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year varies by component and processing track
D. Any other statistic significant to agency ____________
E.Other narrative statements describing component efforts to improve timeliness of FOIA performance and to make records available to the public (e.g., backlog-reduction efforts; specification of average number of hours per processed request; training activities; public availability of new categories of records):
Overall, the Department has continued to pay strong attention and devote its resources to the reduction and elimination of backlogs of pending FOIA and Privacy Act requests. Partnerships fostered between FOIA staff and Information Resources Management personnel have promoted greater access to Department records electronically and extensive volumes of records have been posted on the Department's FOIA Web sites. Although the numbers of incoming FOIA/PA requests have not yet decreased as a result of the availability of information on Department Web sites, component response times have been significantly enhanced by automation. The installation of automated document-management systems within individual component FOIA/PA offices continues to streamline operations and improve productivity. With few exceptions, FOIA/PA backlogs continue to decline and four components eliminated their backlogs in FY 1999.
The Civil Rights Division's FOI/PA Branch posted extensive amounts of documents on its Web site -- particularly records regarding Division activity in the area of Disability Rights. This posting resulted in a reduction in the Division's backlog, the median turnaround time in nearly all categories, and the number of incoming requests. The Division has also been able to reduce the number of contractors which has made some impact on the overall quantity processed. Categories that have not improved in turnaround time have remained steady. The Branch has also conducted training sessions with program sections to improve responsiveness.
The Drug Enforcement Administration is currently in the process of implementing an electronic redaction program.
The U.S. Trustee FOIA Web site helped improve public availability of U.S. Trustee records. Numerous frequently requested records were made available via the Web site including: private trustee names and addresses, bankruptcy manuals, bankruptcy regulations, bankruptcy prosecutions, press releases, weekly reports to the Attorney General, and bankruptcy statistics. Many potential requesters called U.S. Trustee offices and were referred to the FOIA Web site, where they retrieved information instantly instead of having to submit a FOIA request.
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