TO: Principal FOIA Administrative and Legal Contacts at All Federal Agencies
FROM: Richard L. Huff
Daniel J. Metcalfe
Office of Information and Privacy
SUBJECT: Further Efforts to Implement E-FOIA Provisions
final opinions and orders issued in the adjudication of administrative cases;
specific agency policy statements;
administrative staff manuals that affect members of the public;
records that are "frequently requested" by FOIA requesters, which must be made available in their FOIA-processed form; and
an index facilitating public access to all such information.
See GAO Report at 21. These statutory requirements are all
contained in subsection (a)(2) of the FOIA, as amended by E-FOIA, and they apply to any such record that was created by an
agency since November 1, 1996. See 5 U.S.C.
an index of the agency's "major information systems";
a description of the agency's "major information systems";
a description of the agency's "record locator systems"; and
a handbook for obtaining agency information.
See GAO Report at 22. These statutory requirements are all
contained in subsection (g) of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C.
the agency's FOIA regulations;
information describing the agency's multi-track processing system (if one is used);
information regarding expedited processing;
the agency's fee schedule; and
the agency's annual FOIA reports.
See GAO Report at 20-21. All of these items are closely related.
First, the FOIA explicitly requires that each agency publish
regulations that govern its individual rules and practices for
administering the Act, see 5 U.S.C.
1. The Department of Justice was found by GAO to be in full compliance with E-FOIA's electronic availability requirements in this respect, see GAO Report at 22, as well as with regard to all other categories of information, see id. at 20-21. The report also includes a complementary statement about the quality of the E-FOIA implementation guidance that agencies have received from the Justice Department. See id. at 31.
2. It should be noted that GAO found proper compliance in the categories of regulations, fee schedules, and annual FOIA reports for all twenty-five of the agencies that it examined. See GAO Report at 20-21. However, it found far less than universal compliance in the multi-track and expedited processing categories. See id.
3. This guidance will supplement the "Guidelines for Agency Preparation and Submission of Annual FOIA Reports" that were issued by the Department of Justice in 1997. See FOIA Update, Vol. XVIII, No. 3, at 3-7; see also FOIA Update, Vol. XIX, No. 3, at 2 (clarifying that annual FOIA reports should uniformly use "working days" for statistical measurement wherever practicable).
4. As of 2001, FOIA Post has replaced the Department of Justice's FOIA Update newsletter publication, which was published from 1979-2000 and which is now entirely archived in electronic form for reference purposes on the Department's FOIA Web site. See FOIA Post, "Introducing FOIA Post" (posted 3/14/01). By this memorandum, we ask that you please pass this information along to all FOIA personnel and any other interested persons within your agency, with the suggestion that this new part of the Department's FOIA Web site be electronically "bookmarked" for ready reference purposes. (We are enclosing an information page on FOIA Post, which includes its electronic address, to facilitate this.)
The above memorandum, with an attached copy of the GAO report, was mailed to all federal agencies (to two agency FOIA contacts wherever applicable) on March 23, 2001, as a foundation step in the implementation of the GAO report's findings and recommendations. (posted 3/23/01)
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