Each year, federal departments and agencies are required by law to submit a report to the Attorney General detailing various statistics regarding their agency’s FOIA activities, such as the numbers of requests processed and received, and the time taken to process them. These Annual FOIA Reports, ninety-nine in total for FY 2013, are compiled by OIP and posted on the Reports page of our site. The data from the agency Annual FOIA Reports is also uploaded onto FOIA.gov, the Justice Department’s government-wide FOIA resource.
In order to provide agency personnel and the public with a comprehensive picture of the government’s FOIA activities during the fiscal year, OIP routinely creates a summary of the information contained within agency Annual FOIA Reports. Today, we posted our summary of these reports for FY 2013 (PDF). As in previous years, the summary looks at government-wide data for many key statistics in FOIA administration and highlights significant numbers reported by individual agencies. Additionally, the summary identifies trends in FOIA processing by comparing the FY 2013 Annual FOIA Report data with data from prior fiscal years.
As described in this year’s summary, during FY 2013 the government overall showed good progress in a number of areas despite difficult challenges and an ever increasing demand of incoming FOIA requests. During FY 2013, the government overall received a record high 704,394 requests, and in response to this high demand, agencies processed a record high 678,391 requests. While this impressive effort was not enough to offset the increase of incoming requests for overall backlog reduction, many individual agencies were able to reduce their backlog of requests in FY 2013. Further, seventy three of the ninety-nine agencies reported low backlogs of 100 requests or fewer, with twenty-nine of those agencies reporting no backlogs at all. The government overall also continued to maintain a high release rate of over 91% and it improved its average processing times for simple track requests.
OIP’s Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for FY 2013 is available on our Reports page where it can be compared with previous summaries dating back to FY 2006. The data collected in agency Annual FOIA Reports can also easily be viewed, compared, and analyzed on FOIA.gov.