DOJ FOIA 2006 ANNUAL REPORT - REPORT ON EXECUTIVE ORDER 13,392 IMPLEMENTATION

XII. REPORT ON EXECUTIVE ORDER 13,392 IMPLEMENTATION.

On December 14, 2005, the President issued Executive Order 13,392, entitled "Improving Agency Disclosure of Information," which established a "citizen-centered" and "results-oriented" approach to administration of the Freedom of Information Act. The Executive Order required each agency to conduct a review of its FOIA operations, to develop an agency-specific plan to improve its administration of the Act, and to include in its annual FOIA report a description of its progress in meeting the milestones and goals established in its improvement plan.

This section of the annual FOIA report contains the Department of Justice's description of its progress in implementing the milestones and goals of the Department's FOIA Improvement Plan, including highlights of each component's achievements.

The reporting period for Section XII is different from that used for the rest of this report, which is based on data compiled for Fiscal Year 2006. The reporting period for this section concerning Executive Order implementation activities includes progress made by components through January 2007.

OFFICE OF INFORMATION AND PRIVACY (OIP)

The Office of Information and Privacy (OIP) processes Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) requests for records it maintains as well as records maintained by the following seven senior leadership offices in the Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, Office of Legislative Affairs, and Office of Public Affairs. As a result, OIP's Executive Order implementation activities address the FOIA processing improvement efforts for all those Offices.

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

OIP has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. In particular, OIP accomplished a series of improvements in the processing of requests, far exceeded its backlog reduction goals, and is well underway in acquiring an electronic processing system that potentially will have applicability to offices beyond OIP.

 

In the area of improved FOIA processing, OIP enhanced the records search process in multiple ways, for example, by implementing the use of an electronic "search" button on the Office of Public Affair's Web site so that press releases are now searched electronically; by streamlining the procedure for obtaining records from the Federal Records Center (FRC) so that they can be retrieved more quickly; by scanning paper indices of client offices' records so that they can be searched electronically; and by establishing a mechanism for providing client offices with periodic reports of outstanding searches to facilitate their completion.

 

OIP also developed a system to encourage timely attention to consultations on the part of the entities with which it routinely forwards documents for consult, which included development of a "contact information" form which is now sent with all consultations and establishment of procedures to conduct periodic follow-up calls and send memoranda to any entity that has not responded to a consultation within a reasonable amount of time.

 

In the area of customer service, OIP established training for all new FOIA Specialists that emphasizes the importance of treating FOIA requesters with courtesy and respect. Additionally, OIP examined and will continually review its and its client offices' Web pages to ensure that they are up to date and complete and has established a new protocol for the identification of records that are appropriate for inclusion on the Web.

 

Next, and of particular importance is OIP's success in reaching and then greatly surpassing its backlog reduction goals. The overall backlog reduction goal set by OIP was to reduce the backlog of pending initial requests by ten percent by January 15, 2007. In fact, by the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30, 2006), OIP had decreased its backlog by thirteen percent. In the succeeding months, OIP continued to reduce its backlog of initial requests by another nine percent, for a total reduction of twenty-two percent in the number of pending initial requests. Moreover, as part of this backlog reduction effort, OIP closed its ten oldest pending FOIA cases. Although it has met all the backlog reduction goals for initial requests established in its plan, OIP is continuing to work on decreasing its backlog of initial requests even further.

 

OIP also notes that it exceeded its parallel backlog reduction goal for adjudicating administrative appeals. The backlog reduction goal set for administrative appeals was a twenty-five percent reduction in pending appeals. OIP far surpassed that goal and has decreased its backlog of pending appeals by thirty-nine percent, including the ten oldest appeals. As is the case with the initial request backlog, OIP will continue to work on decreasing the appeals backlog even further.

 

Finally, OIP has made extensive progress toward the goal of greater use of sophisticated information technology as part of a comprehensive electronic processing solution. The scope of this goal has expanded significantly beyond our initial intentions and has now evolved into a potential "enterprise" solution with applicability beyond OIP. In progressing towards this expanded goal, OIP has worked extensively with the Enterprise Solutions Staff (ESS) within the Justice Management Division towards the ultimate goal of purchasing and implementing an electronic FOIA processing system. ESS, with the approval and support of OIP, developed a position paper outlining the need for a comprehensive feasibility study to examine the functional and technical system requirements, which was presented to and approved by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). Subsequently, the OCIO, ESS, and the Systems Development Services Staff (SDS), working together with OIP, conducted the extensive study. Through an analysis of current FOIA processes and practices, the team identified at least 125 basic requirements for a new system. OIP and SDS identified four vendors for in-depth review and analysis; these vendors submitted pricing estimates for providing an electronic processing system. The team had multiple discussions and demonstrations with each of the vendors in order to throughly evaluate all aspects of their products. In addition, the team discussed and met with other agencies to obtain customer feedback on the vendors and viewed one of the vendor's systems in a real-world environment. In order to gain a greater understanding of issues associated with the implementation of a new system, OIP has installed and is now pilot testing a system used by the Justice Management Division. The OCIO, ESS, SDS, and OIP are also exploring the feasibility of expanding the reach of any electronic FOIA processing system purchased to include multiple components of the Department, thereby contributing to improved FOIA processing on a wide scale.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

In addition to its own responsibilities in implementing the Executive Order for the offices serviced by OIP and for OIP itself, OIP coordinated the Department's efforts to facilitate, in conjunction with OMB, governmentwide compliance with Executive Order 13,392. Such coordination efforts included conducting conferences, holding workshops, issuing written guidance, and working extensively with officials throughout the government during the plan development process. Once agency improvement plans were completed, OIP continued to work extensively with other agencies on their implementation activities.

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

The nine exemptions to the FOIA authorize federal agencies to withhold information covering: (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information; (2) internal agency rules and practices; (3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law; (4) trade secrets and other confidential business information; (5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges; (6) information involving matters of personal privacy; (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual; (8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological information on wells.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

February 5, 2002 to January 8, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

January 3, 2003 to December 29, 2006

G. Attachment: Agency improvement plan:

 

The FOIA Improvement Plan for the Department of Justice is attached.

ANTITRUST DIVISION

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Antitrust Division has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

As itemized in its plan, the Division concentrated its efforts in the following improvement areas: backlog reduction, electronic FOIA requests, acknowledgment letters, and politeness and courtesy. The Division exceeded its goal of reducing the existing backlog of pending initial FOIA requests for Fiscal Year 2006, and it is continuing efforts to further reduce the backlog with an emphasis on responding to the oldest requests. To accomplish that end, the Division contacted some requesters to determine their interest in pursuing their request and to discuss the scope of requests involving voluminous responsive records. The Division reviewed the backlog of pending requests to ensure that each request was placed in the appropriate track of the multi-track system already in use: Track One for expedited requests, Track Two for ordinary requests and Track Three for voluminous requests. Each paralegal was instructed to alternate processing Track Two and Track Three requests. Additionally, the Division holds staff meetings regularly to discuss the status of all pending requests.

 

To be more customer-friendly, the Division's FOIA Web site now contains an e-mail address link so requests can be submitted electronically. Letters acknowledging receipt of requests now contain the name, telephone number, and e-mail address of the paralegal handing the initial processing of the request so the paralegal can be contacted directly by requesters. Since including the e-mail address of the paralegal processing the request, some requesters are using e-mail as a quick and convenient means of communication. Furthermore, the Division emphasized for its entire FOIA staff the importance of treating callers with politeness and courtesy.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

June 3, 1999 to January 8, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES (ATF)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

During this time, ATF aggressively pursued reducing the backlog of requests pending over twenty days and, where possible, electronically responding to requests. ATF's streamlining of the search process for records maintained in the Criminal Enforcement System of Records helped to reduce the number of requests not completed within twenty days. Furthermore, reviewing and reassigning cases over twenty days old and responding to requests electronically also helped to improve response times. The ATF hired an additional Disclosure Specialist, which will help to further address the backlog of requests.

 

A particularly noteworthy improvement is the result of ATF responding to FOIA requests electronically, or in electronic format, such as on CD-ROM. In the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2007, ATF responded to nearly five percent of all FOIA requests via e-mail, with the requested information provided as an attachment. This practice has contributed to an improvement in response times and a reduction in the costs associated with responding to requests. ATF has also begun to acknowledge FOIA requests via e-mail, and this has helped to answer questions or address problems with requests.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

The ATF was unable to complete one milestone, the creation of a "Frequently Asked Questions" section for the FOIA Web site by the planned date of September 30, 2006, due to two staff vacancies. One of the vacancies has already been filled, and the other vacancy remains unfilled due to budget constraints. ATF will review and finalize the material for this step as well as post a link on the Web site by April 2007.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

June 12, 2006 to January 8, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (BOP)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, in order to improve the Web site, ensure compliance with affirmative disclosure requirements, and increase the proactive disclosure of information, BOP reviewed "bop.gov" and determined that information was easily located, presented in a clear and precise manner, and was accurate and current. BOP also designated a staff member to have sole responsibility for reviewing and maintaining the FOIA reading room disclosure list. Furthermore, BOP reviewed the list of most frequently requested records. BOP also concentrated on improving its expedited processing procedures. Specifically, BOP appointed a Central Office Expedited processing liaison, and implemented improved procedures to ensure immediate identification of requests for expedited treatment.

 

In its efforts to improve customer relations, BOP has established procedures within its FOIA Requester Service Center to compile and use any suggestions or concerns that users identify.

 

BOP has also restructured the procedures for the handling of incoming referrals and consultations, and has already noticed a substantial improvement. Along this same line, BOP conducted an intensive review of its FOIA administration structure in relation to centralization and decentralization. As a result of this review, BOP restructured the entire intake process by centralizing many procedures and decentralizing others. BOP also implemented a Backlog Reduction Project, the first phase of which included the review and culling of the backlog list.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

April 29, 2005 to January 9, 2007

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

None pending

 

 

CIVIL DIVISION

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Civil Division successfully completed the vast majority of goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Specifically, the Civil Division was able to accomplish the goals concerning the areas of Web site improvement, communications with requesters, customer service, updating staffing/position descriptions, training, docket control system, and multi-track processing. Also, although no complaints have been made to the FOIA Customer Service Center, the Civil Division has met its goal of establishing a system to review any such complaints.

 

Through the Civil Division's efforts to make improvements in such areas as its Web site and communications with requesters, the Civil Division was able make its procedures more user- friendly for the requester community. Furthermore, the review of staffing and position descriptions, as well as a review of its FOIA docket control system, allowed the Civil Division to update many different facets of its FOIA processing procedures.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

The Civil Division was unable to fully meet the milestones for two of its goals for this reporting period. The Civil Division's progress under the Department's improvement plan was constrained by litigation obligations, staffing limitations, and the focus on processing requests in a timely manner.

 

Specifically, staffing limitations and review requirements have delayed the accomplishment of the goal and the last two milestones found under the improvement area "E-FOIA publication requirements." The Civil Division now expects to locate the specific Civil Division records that meet the E-FOIA publication requirements by February 15, 2007. The Civil Division also expects to publish the responsive records and test Internet access to those records by February 15, 2007.

 

The concerns noted above have also delayed the goal found under the improvement area entitled "Acknowledgment letter responses." While the first two milestones were accomplished in a timely fashion, any necessary processing changes to the content of the Civil Division's acknowledgment letters still need to be implemented. The Civil Division now expects to accomplish this by February 15, 2007.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

October 24, 2006 to December 15, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

One consultation initiated on August 7, 2006

CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION (CRT)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Civil Rights Division (CRT) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. CRT had success in the improvement areas of staffing, training, and equipment, as well as customer service.

 

In particular, regarding improvements in timeliness for processing complex FOIA requests, the FOIA office developed information on the problem areas contributing to the high number of days in turnaround time for complex requests. A strategy to address these problem areas was developed, and soon after the FOIA office began to see results. The Division had set a goal of reducing the median processing time by thirty days for the fifteen percent of the workload consisting of complex requests. By October 1, 2006, the Division had dropped the median time to process pending complex requests from 528 days to 222 days and, for closed requests, from 359 days to 344 days for an overall average reduction of 160 days on complex FOIA requests. The Division is ahead of its goal targeted for February 1, 2007 and well on its way to continue reducing its processing time.

 

To improve both affirmative disclosure and proactive disclosure, the FOIA staff has reviewed the records immediately available for Web site posting and has met with the technical staff that is constructing a user-friendly system for easy transfer of tens-of-thousands of pages of frequently requested records to the electronic reading room.

 

In the area of customer service, the FOIA Branch achieved its goals by meeting with the staff to emphasize basic protocol in working with the public and continues to monitor the Branch's fulfillment of high standards in this area.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

As of October 1, 2006, the Civil Rights Division's backlog of only fifteen FOIA requests is the lowest it has been at any time in the last thirty years in spite of a generally stable average of incoming FOIA requests (529 received during Fiscal Year 2006). From all indications and the clear trend of the Division's processing, the Division's current practices will continue to reduce both the backlog and the turnaround time for processing its FOIA requests.

 

The Division has also made significant progress in the primary area previously noted as needing attention. A staff member is now assigned to handle requests that involve records related to the upper-level management of the Division. Work in this area has resulted in the closing of a portion of these pending requests with additional progress anticipated for the near future.

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

January 10, 2002 to January 9, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

COMMUNITY RELATIONS SERVICE (CRS)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Community Relations Service (CRS) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

To date CRS focused on two potential improvement areas: affirmative disclosure under subsection (a)(2) and Electronic FOIA (receiving/responding to requests electronically). After a review of CRS policy statements that are posted on the Web site, it has been determined that the current Web site is complete and no additional policy statements should be posted. CRS also examined the feasibility of responding to requests electronically. In light of the very small number of FOIA requests received by CRS over the past five years and the fact that most are "no record" responses, CRS determined that an electronic FOIA system is not necessary for its FOIA operations.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

CRIMINAL DIVISION

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Criminal Division successfully completed the milestones and goals in several of the improvement areas established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Most notably, the Criminal Division realized improvements through training and the purchase of new equipment. For instance, the FOIA/PA Unit received a new photocopier which is more efficient and will aid in increasing productivity. Furthermore, the FOIA Unit also conducted an in-house training session with an emphasis on courtesy and helpfulness especially for those individuals involved with the FOIA Requester Service Center. A Senior Analyst reviewed and revised the FOIA Unit's in-house training materials to help improve and accelerate its training process.

 

In addition, the completion of several measures helped to improve the Criminal Division's response time. For instance, to ensure that the analysts are handling requests as efficiently as possible, the Deputy Chief and Unit Chief are meeting quarterly with each analyst to discuss their workload and any problems they might be encountering. The Criminal Division also initiated a new procedure relating to consultations and concurrences where the analyst follows up every thirty days to check on the status with the section/agency involved. As part of the Criminal Division's efforts to improve its response time on consultations, it assigned an analyst the task of completing the ten oldest outstanding consultations. Also, to improve response time, the Criminal Division has worked towards hiring one attorney and one analyst. In fact, the Criminal Division has already made its selections and is awaiting the completion of the personnel process.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

The Criminal Division was unable to meet milestones for three of its goals for this reporting period. Some activities were dependent on an increase in funding, as well as additional personnel. However, due to a reduction in the budget, the Criminal Division deemed these additional resources unfeasible. Current staffing levels were also affected by an early out/buy out, and the extended leave required by one employee. The Criminal Division was advised that it may not be able to replace employees who are retiring, at least for the foreseeable future.

 

Specifically, as to the fifth milestone in its backlog reduction goal, which was to reduce by a proportionate share the Criminal Division's backlog by January 15, 2007 (i.e., reduce by approximately eighty requests), due to the reasons outlined above, the Criminal Division's backlog has instead increased from 872 to 892 as of January 9, 2007. Even with the current staffing limitations, the Criminal Division is continuing its efforts to reduce the backlog in proportional amounts. However, once its new staff is on board the Criminal Division still anticipates achieving its overall goal in this improvement area by December 31, 2008.

 

Second, the steps necessary to update the Criminal Division's Web site were not achieved. Due to the staffing concerns raised above, the Criminal Divison still needs to remove the out-of-date material and develop a better system to obtain (a)(2) material from the Criminal Division Sections in a timely manner.

 

After reviewing the status of each Sections' Web site within the Division, the FOIA Unit determined that most, if not all, Sections are already posting volumes of material on their Web sites. The Criminal Division anticipates full compliance by July 15, 2007.

 

Third, the Criminal Division's Declassification Officer has moved to the new National Security Division. Consequently, as set forth in its plan, the Criminal Division has requested that this responsibility be delegated to a new individual in the Criminal Division. While the FOIA Unit has made this delegation request, as of January 9, 2007, a new declassification officer was not yet designated. The FOIA Unit will continue to routinely inquire about its request for a new declassification officer, until that delegation is made.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

July 10, 1989 to January 8, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

August 2, 2002 to January 9, 2007

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (DEA)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has met nearly all of the milestones and goals established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, DEA has made great strides in the area of customer relations/communications. DEA created very specific critical elements to rate the performance of all employees handling FOIA requests in the area of customer service. Also, the implementation of a Customer Service Hotline has created a positive atmosphere of open communications between the customer/requester and the FOIA Specialist. Other positive results DEA has achieved include a decrease in the number of unperfected requests. Additionally, DEA is ahead of schedule in implementing its plan area related to automated tracking and automated processing/redacting capabilities (though the remainder of implementation activity in this area falls into later reporting periods).

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Despite implementing all of the steps in the plan, DEA has not achieved the goal of reducing the backlog by two percent on a quarterly basis due to a lack of human resources and to budget constraints. FOIA staffing is currently at seventy-five percent, which includes six vacancies. Also, since the submission of DEA's plan, a two-year hiring freeze was implemented. The members of the management team have continuously met to discuss alternative ways to eliminate the backlog. Certain alternative measures were implemented by DEA, including having personnel work compensatory time, and increasing communications with requesters in an effort to facilitate the processing of FOIA requests. DEA is committed to continue to look at the process and seek improvements where possible. DEA will continue to review its backlog reduction progress on a bi-weekly basis.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

November 5, 2005 to December 31, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

January 3, 2003 to December 29, 2006

ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION (ENRD)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) has met all of the goals and milestones it established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, ENRD has added an additional attorney consultation step for complex requests, reminded all ENRD staff how to properly bill FOIA-related time, reduced the processing time for requests in the Law and Policy Section, convened more frequent meetings between FOIA paralegals and section contacts, and incorporated Executive Order 13,392 into paralegal training. These accomplishments have facilitated the processing of the Division's FOIA requests, helping ENRD reduce the number of pending requests by fifty-three percent before January 1, 2007. ENRD devotes significant time and resources to process its FOIA requests. Efficiency and politeness continue to be hallmarks of ENRD's interaction with FOIA requesters.

 

Since March 2006, ENRD has held three meetings of all FOIA staff. In these meetings, the staff of the litigating sections met the new Law and Policy Section paralegal, discussed modifications of ENRD FOIA procedures, and learned about Executive Order 13,392. All three meetings were well attended and received positive feedback.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

August 11, 2005 to December 19, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time

 

None pending

EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR IMMIGRATION REVIEW (EOIR)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. Overall, EOIR recognized the importance of improving customer satisfaction, increasing efficiency, and reducing backlogs.

 

Highlights of EOIR's accomplishments include exceeding the aggressive backlog reduction goals established in the FOIA Improvement Plan. The plan set a Fiscal Year 2006 reduction goal of twenty-five percent, which EOIR exceeded by nineteen percent by obtaining an overall reduction in its backlog of forty-four percent during the fiscal year. This reduction included the processing of an additional 1000 complex requests and nearly double the number of expedited requests. In addition, EOIR was able to substantially reduce the median number of days taken to process requests in all categories. Simple requests went from 43 days to 27; complex requests went from 149 days to 129; and expedited requests went from 44 days to 16.

 

Another highlight is the increased cooperation that EOIR obtained internally with the Office of Planning Analysis and Technology (OPAT) and externally with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) FOIA staff. By shifting reporting from the Information Resources Management (IRM) unit to OPAT, many of the data issues identified for remediation were addressed, which in turn enhanced EOIR's efficiency. Externally, meetings were held with DHS that enabled both agencies to improve response times and decrease the need for referrals.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

EOIR was unable to fully meet three goals for this reporting period. First, EOIR planned to "improve customer satisfaction by creating a tracking mechanism to capture public comments." As conceived at the time the plan was established, the tracking mechanism was to be integrated into the existing FOIA database. In order to accomplish this, EOIR met the original two target dates, (evaluating the system by July 1, 2006, and meeting with the FOIA staff July 15, 2006 and August 1, 2006). Thereafter, EOIR began discussions with IRM to incorporate the information into the existing database. During these discussions, IRM advised that it did not have resources to allocate to this project. In fact, with the exception of essential issues, all new database changes are on hold at EOIR due to the phase-in of a major database system.

 

In light of these developments, in order to meet this goal the FOIA Service Center has decided not to integrate the FOIA tracking form into the existing system, but instead will create a separate, simple form that can be electronically maintained in a folder on the network system. In light of this changed approach, EOIR anticipates that this new tracking form should be in place and operational by March 15, 2007. Once in place, EOIR will conduct quarterly reviews, as well.

 

Second, EOIR planned to "centralize the filing of FOIA records and evaluate the feasibility of expanding bar coding to manage files" by November 30, 2006. EOIR did not meet that target completion date because the construction of the new storage location has been delayed. The file location designated for storing these records is part of a larger reconstruction effort at EOIR headquarters under the direction of the GSA. When EOIR created the implementation plan, the date of delivery was set for October 1, 2006. This date was not met and, therefore, none of the planned moves could be made. The revised completion date for the construction is March 2007. Once the build-out is actually complete and the space is available, the files will be relocated.

 

Additionally, the bar coding aspect of this goal ran into difficulties because the plan required IRM to participate and provide an evaluation of its feasibility. As noted above, the IRM unit is currently assigned to the major system implementation project and was unable to conduct a feasibility study for FOIA. Additionally, in light of these resource constraints, there is little likelihood of implementation at present, but the FOIA unit will pursue the implementation of bar coding within one quarter after IRM actually completes the phase-in of the major database system.

 

Lastly, EOIR planned to include FOIA compliance as part of its court-evaluation reviews by October 1, 2006. EOIR met the initial steps for this goal in a timely fashion. EOIR FOIA staff met with the Deputy Chief Immigration Judge in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) to discuss inclusion of FOIA compliance as part of the court evaluations. Despite obtaining agreement at this level EOIR has not been able to finalize or implement the questions to date. The initial target date for the meeting with the Court Evaluation Unit conflicted with the Annual OCIJ training meeting and was thus postponed. However, in light of the agreement that was reached at senior levels and recent conversations with OCIJ, EOIR now has set September 1, 2007 as the date for implementation of this goal.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

Requests: June 20, 2004 to January 17, 2007 (requests received daily)

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (EOUSA)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) has met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In the area of customer service, EOUSA reviewed all of its forms and changed some intake procedures which has generated a noticeable reduction in the number of correspondence and phone calls from requesters and the United States Attorneys Offices (USAOs). EOUSA is also responding with acknowledgment letters, on average, within five days of receipt of requests. The letters provide clear guidance on procedures. The processing team was trained and clearly understands that all form letters are for guidance and should be adjusted to address unique circumstances. In addition, the intake staff was trained and is fully knowledgeable about how to respond to requesters and the USAOs in a timely and clear manner. Requesters are not writing or calling as frequently because they are clearly aware of procedures, and the processors are able to spend more time processing requests.

 

EOUSA has aggressively been working toward reducing its backlog. The FOIA office does not house the majority of records the requesters seek. It is dependent upon receipt of records from ninety-three USAOs. As a result, the FOIA office worked aggressively with the USAOs that had very large backlogs and provided them with guidance on how to reduce the backlog. The Southern District of New York had at one time a very large backlog, which is now down to only one percent. The Central District of California and District of Massachusetts reduced their backlogs by more than fifty percent. The District of Columbia has the largest backlog. The FOIA office met with the District of Columbia office to help it establish workable procedures and provided guidance on ways to reduce its backlog dramatically. That district is now responding more promptly and consistently reducing its backlog. It was able to close all 1999 requests and has closed ninety-three requests dated between April 2006 and September 31, 2006. The FOIA office has also trained new FOIA contacts in its facilities from the Northern District of Illinois, the Southern District of Florida, the District of South Carolina, the Eastern District of Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and has designated a staff member to work closely with the District of Columbia office. In addition to training the new FOIA contact, the Northern District of Illinois contact helped to establish processing procedures, and as a result that District cut its backlog by twenty-five percent, all in one week. Moreover, the FOIA office has worked to more efficiently review responses from the districts and address concerns with the districts immediately. As a result, it has been able to respond to requesters in a more timely manner.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

EOUSA was unable to fully meet the milestones for one of its goals for this reporting period. In the improvement area for reducing its backlog , EOUSA set very aggressive goals with the desire of achieving a substantial percentage reduction in its backlog. It set a target for a seventy-five percent reduction by September 1, 2007, with interval targets dates. Its first interval target was to reduce the backlog by thirty-three percent by September 30, 2006. EOUSA did achieve a substantial reduction, though it did not meet the reduction desired.

 

Throughout the year (beginning in February), the Staff was operating with one attorney missing, since the Assistant Director had accepted a new position, but had not been replaced in the FOIA Staff. EOUSA also lost one of its highest producing paralegals (who accepted an attorney position elsewhere), and EOUSA had to dedicate the full time of both a senior attorney and one of the highest-processing paralegals to a litigation effort for the rest of the year. Another paralegal processor was committed to work closely with the Case Management Staff to assist with generating a new annual report before the end of the fiscal year. In addition, this processor had to work on a Federal Records Center Project. Finally, the senior attorney working on the litigation effort was transferred to another office within EOUSA, resulting in a temporary loss of that staff member. As a result, the processing team was reduced by a total of five full-time members. These staff losses had a severe impact on EOUSA's processing. However, as noted above, EOUSA took aggressive measures to reduce the backlog, with an almost continuous reduction throughout the year. EOUSA believes it could have achieved the goal of thirty-three percent reduction if it had had a full staff. EOUSA has been given the authority to fill the two vacant positions and is working to fill them. Also, the Assistant Director position should be filled soon. EOUSA expects to have a full complement of staff by the end of March 2007. Once these five positions are again dedicated to full time processing, it expects to be able to reduce its backlog further. As of September 30, 2006 its backlog had been reduced by about twenty percent. By May 2007, EOUSA expects to finalize a plan for continued backlog reduction.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

December 30, 1999 to January 9, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. TRUSTEES (EOUST)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. EOUST has successfully accomplished its goals and milestones with deadlines through December 31, 2006, and expects to meet its two January 31, 2007 deadlines.

 

In particular, EOUST highlights achievements in two areas of improvements, "Staff training," and "Processing procedures and times." With regard to the first area of improvement, the FOIA Public Liaison attended the Department's training for all FOIA Public Liaisons, a paralegal and a secretary from the FOIA staff attended the Department's Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act course, and the new FOIA/PA Counsel attended the Department's FOIA Guide Seminar. Additionally, during this time, all FOIA staff members received in-house training pertaining to: (1) the significance of carrying out EOUST's duties under the Executive Order; (2) customer service; (3) the use of REDAX, a software to redact records; and (4) the application of certain FOIA exemptions.

 

In addition, EOUST continued to successfully meet its milestones of holding staff meetings to identify and consider remedies to case-specific problems. The primary tracking mechanism utilized by the FOIA staff has been a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The FOIA staff identified a need to improve the overall efficiency of its tracking system. Although the FOIA spreadsheet indicated all due dates, the system did not contain a mechanism to alert the staff of due dates prior to, or contemporaneous with, the deadline dates. Beginning in July 2006, the members of the FOIA staff calendared all deadlines connected to all requests with early or contemporaneous pop-up reminders for each deadline on their individual Microsoft Outlook calendars. In December 2006 this procedure was further enhanced by the creation of one master Microsoft Outlook FOIA calendar with deadlines, which permits all FOIA staff members to be aware of all deadlines and alerts. EOUST expects the new calendaring practice is expected to reduce lag times and improve processing procedures in the future.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

May 8, 2006 to December 14, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has successfully completed the milestones and goals in several of the improvement areas established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Fiscal Year 2006 was highly successful for the FBI FOIA processing staff. Despite a forty percent increase in FOIA requests, from 10,873 (Fiscal Year 2005) to15,349 (Fiscal Year 2006), the FBI met or surpassed its primary goal of reducing the time required to process requests. The median time for processing small requests (less than 500 pages) decreased ten percent (ten percent goal) and the median time for processing medium requests (500 to 2499 pages) decreased sixteen percent (ten percent goal). The overall median time for all pending requests decreased thirty-six percent (twenty percent goal). Although not a specific goal, the number of pending requests decreased from 1796 (Fiscal Year 2005) to 1750 (Fiscal Year 2006). Simultaneously, the number of large pending requests (greater than 2500 pages) decreased fifty-eight percent from 122 (Fiscal Year 2005) to fifty-one (Fiscal Year 2006).

 

Furthermore, the FBI's Record Management Division continued its program to enhance the FBI's record-keeping processes, including the development of the new Central Records Complex in Winchester, VA. These initiatives will significantly improve the FOIA section's search and record-retrieval capabilities by increasing search accuracy, by decreasing search time, and by reducing lost files, missing serials, and the manual movement of files. When complete, the overall impact will be to reduce dramatically the FBI's FOIA processing times. The FOIA section completed its first phase of moving to the interim facilities in Winchester and began to build and train a new work force.

 

The FOIA section established a FOIA/PA Process Board and an IT Change-Management Board to improve existing processes, including the use of IT enhancements to the existing automated processing system. Specifically, these Boards looked into areas of improving customer service, handling of expedited and fee waiver requests, and developing meaningful system and individual metrics.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

The FBI was unable to fully meet three goals in the "Human resources" improvement area, three goals in the "FOIA process policies and design," one goal in the "Improvements in customer ability to determine the status of a request," and one goal in the "Improvements to the FBI's FOIA Web site reading room." These goals and their corresponding milestones are identified and discussed below.

 

First, in the "Human resources" improvement area, three goals were not fully met:

Goal: Fill vacant employee positions. (This will improve ability to process requests more quickly.) The original target completion date of September 30, 2006, is now moved to September 30, 2007.

 

Steps

 

• Fill sixty vacant positions. The original completion date of September 30, 2006 is now moved to September 30, 2007.

 

A number of FOIA employees have chosen not to relocate to Winchester, VA. In anticipation of this situation, the FBI began interviewing applicants in June, 2005 and continued this process throughout 2006. In all, 333 applicants have been interviewed with 35 new employees entering on duty. Also, 122 applicants are in the security-background check process. The FBI will continue to seek new applicants throughout 2007.

 

Goal: Develop and implement formal, in-house training programs. (This will improve quality and consistency of processing, and ability to process requests more quickly.) The original target completion date of December 31, 2006 is now moved to March 31, 2007.

 

Steps

 

•Develop and implement formal training programs for search skills, declassification, FOIA/PA redaction, and automated processing. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now moved to March 31, 2007.

 

The FBI developed two out of three formal training programs: search skills and declassification. (Automated processing was incorporated into each course.) These six-week courses were developed by an outside contractor. The initial target dates were exceeded due to the complexity of the courses. These courses have been highly successful in preparing employees for new positions. The courses have been adapted to provide refresher training for existing employees. The third course, FOIA/PA redaction, will be completed in March, 2007. A fourth course, FOIA/PA litigation, will be developed for completion in June, 2007.

 

Goal: Develop individual production metrics. (This will improve ability to process requests more quickly.) The original target completion date was July 31, 2006. This goal was completed on November 1, 2006.

 

Steps

 

•Implement automated individual production metrics for FOIA/PA declassification review teams. The original completion date was July 31, 2006. This goal was completed on November 1, 2006.

 

This goal required modifying the software to the FBI's automated FOIA processing system. The modifications took longer than expected. Individual production metrics are now automatically captured in the system and collated into reports.

Second, in the "FOIA process policies and design" improvement area, three goals were not fully met:

Goal: Develop within the automated processing system OCR capability parallel with scanned images to identify duplicate documents. (This will improve quality and consistency of processing.) The original target completion date of December 31, 2006 is now moved to August 1, 2007.

Steps

•Submit proposal before the IT Change-Management Board. The original completion date was July 1, 2006. This milestone was completed on December 15, 2006.

•Develop prototype process for testing. The original completion date of October 31, 2006 is now moved to July 1, 2007.

•Implement OCR capability. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now moved to August 1, 2007.

The FBI developed a process by which the FOIA data processing system can convert scanned images into the OCR format. The information then can be manipulated to identify duplicate documents. This capability is particularly useful in identifying duplicate e-mails embedded in different e-mail chains; however, it is only available on a case-by-case basis and is currently being used for large cases in litigation. The goal was modified to have this capability for all large and medium sized requests. This goal was rolled into a larger phased modification of the FOIA Data Processing System that was approved by the IT Change Management Board on December 15, 2006. The goal requires substantial modification to the software of the FBI's automated FOIA processing system.

Goal: Develop within the automated processing system enhanced recognition of similar requests. (This will improve quality and consistency of processing, and thus ability to process requests more quickly.) The original target completion date of March 31, 2007 is now moved to September 30, 2007.

Steps

•Submit proposal before the IT Change-Management Board. The original completion date was July 1, 2006. This milestone was completed on December 15, 2006.

•Develop prototype for testing. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now moved to June 30, 2007.

•Implement enhanced recognition of similar requests. The original completion date of March 31, 2007 is now moved to September 30, 2007.

This goal was rolled into a larger phased modification of the FOIA data Processing System that was approved by the IT Change Management Board on December 15, 2006. This goal required substantial modification of the software to the FBI's automated FOIA processing system. The complexity of the modification required its inclusion in the phased modification of the data processing system.

Goal: Continue emphasis on completing requests over two years old. (This will improve ability to process requests more quickly.) The original target completion date of August 15, 2007 is now moved to January 1, 2008.

Steps

•Identify, develop, and implement processing plans for all requests between August 15, 2003 and August 15, 2004. Completed as planned on August 15, 2006.

•Complete all requests older than August 15, 2003. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now August 15, 2007.

•Complete all requests older than August 15, 2004. The original completion date of April 15, 2007 is now August 15, 2007.

•Complete all requests older than August 15, 2005. The original completion date of August 15, 2007 is now January 8, 2008.

On August 15, 2005, the FBI identified seventy-four requests with an estimated 288,510 pages that had been received prior to August 15, 2003. As of November 30, 2006, sixty-five of these requests had been closed by reviewing 207,760 pages.

On August 15, 2006, the FBI identified thirty-six pending requests with an estimated 72,000 pages that had been received between August 15, 2003 and August 15, 2004. As of December 31, 2006, fourteen of these requests had been closed.

Almost all of these requests are large requests (greater than 2,500 pages), most require declassification review and consultation with other agencies or foreign governments. Because of these factors, the FBI is processing the requests simultaneously with interim releases being made in all of the remaining open requests.

 

Third, in the "Improvements in customer ability to determine the status of a request" improvement area, one goal was not fully met:

Goal: Determine feasibility of automatic generation of status letters as requests move through FOIA/PA sub-processes. The original target completion date of December 31, 2006 is moved to July 31, 2007.

Steps

•Discuss feasibility of automatic generation of status letters at the bi-monthly FOIA/PA Process Board. The original completion date was July 1, 2006. This milestone was completed on December 15, 2006.

•Develop prototype process for testing. The original completion date of October 31, 2006 is now March 31, 2007.

•Implement automatic generation of status letters. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now July 31, 2007.

The FBI was unable to begin revision of its automated processing system due to litigation deadlines and other priorities. Approved by the December 2006 IT Change Management Board, this project is now on-going.

 

Lastly, regarding the "Improvements to the FBI's FOIA Web site reading room" improvement area, one goal was not fully met.

Goal: Update the FBI's general reading room and its FOIA/PA Web site's electronic reading room. The original target completion date of December 31, 2006 is now December 31, 2007.

 

Steps

 

•Review reading room and electronic reading room materials that "begin with A to C." The original completion date of July 1, 2006 is now July 1, 2007.

 

•Delete seldom-visited items (if not required to be posted under subsection (a)(2)) and add more recent/topical requests. The original completion date of December 31, 2006 is now December 31, 2007.

 

The FBI was unable to begin revision of the materials in its electronic reading room due to litigation deadlines and other priorities. In December 2006, the FBI began a complete rewrite of the FBI's FOIA Web site. Work on revising the electronic reading room will begin after completion of the new Web site.

 

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

 

With the high volume of requests received by the FBI and the complexity of processing FBI records, maintaining consistent high quality processing is challenging. This past year, with the knowledge loss resulting from relocation of the division to Winchester, it has been an even greater challenge. To meet this challenge, the FBI has established promotional opportunities for the most skilled analysts to become "experts." Experts review work, mentor other employees, and conduct spot checks on the quality of processing. In 2006, the FBI twice posted for these expert positions to fill existing vacancies, ensuring there were experts for each processing team.

 

In 2006, the FBI also began a multilayered program to enhance quality processing. This program included: (1) emphasis on coordination with the divisions responsible for a particular type of investigation; (2) a quality review panel consisting of members of the FOIA section and the FBI's Office of General Counsel; and (3) analysis of certain appeal remands. The latter initiative will be developed in 2007 into a systematic review of all appeal remands. To capture the knowledge of experienced employees, the section has documented "best practices" of the most experienced employees, and with the knowledge gained from other initiatives, incorporated the information into the development of formal training programs. Additionally, the section inaugurated a series of presentations to enhance the understanding of the historical and investigatory context of FBI records. The first presentation was on organized crime investigations and the records associated with such investigations. This series will continue in 2007.

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

December 18, 1992 to January 9, 2007 (Oldest request is 21,000 pages, required 100% declassification review, and consultation with other agencies. Over 9,000 pages have been reviewed for release, the last interim release was made on December 29, 2006. It is estimated to be completed by March 31, 2007.)

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

January 8, 2002 to January 9, 2007

 

 

FOREIGN CLAIMS SETTLEMENT COMMISSION (FCSC)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. Specifically, the FCSC has trained its staff on the customer service requirements under the Executive Order and made improvements to its FOIA Web site.

 

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

None pending

 

 

JUSTICE MANAGEMENT DIVISION (JMD)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Justice Management Division (JMD) has met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, JMD has reached its goal of improving JMD FOIA Web pages to provide updated information to the public in a more user-friendly format. JMD removed obsolete records and consolidated or cross-referenced information via links. JMD also educated its staff via memorandum and briefings regarding Executive Order 13,392.

 

JMD has taken an important step towards its goal of increasing efficiency by using better information technology to track, process, and report on FOIA requests. JMD developed an automated system that allows the electronic tracking and reporting of FOIA requests and JMD actions regarding such requests. JMD formerly used manual tracking sheets to generate annual report statistics. Now, relevant data for each FOIA request handled by JMD is entered into an electronic database so that the annual report statistics for JMD are automated, including calculating the work days and hourly rates. In addition to generating the annual report more quickly and accurately, the new system improves JMD's ability to track FOIA requests. Annual report statistics were successfully generated using the new system. New FOIA request data are now entered in the system as requests are received and the responsible JMD staffs enter up-to-date tracking and processing information for each FOIA request they receive. The system has also already been used to increase efficiency and further JMD's goal of backlog reduction by allowing JMD to monitor the progress of pending FOIA requests and assist in their resolution.

 

JMD has also taken steps towards backlog reduction. JMD identified the oldest FOIA requests (pending for more than 100 business days), and considered whether reassigning and prioritizing work was possible to alleviate the delay. As a result of this step, twenty-one of the twenty-six requests identified have been resolved, and staff members are actively working to resolve the remaining requests. JMD also reviewed a representative number of referrals and "no record" decisions to ensure that the appropriate components are receiving referrals and provided feedback to staff.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

JMD was unable to meet three milestones as originally planned, but it subsequently completed those milestones during this reporting period. The milestone "Input FOIA tracking sheets electronically so that the annual report statistics for the JMD offices will be automated" was to be completed by September 30, 2006, as originally planned, but was actually completed on November 6, 2006. The new FOIA tracking system was in fact developed and set up, and test data was entered into the system by the originally planned date. During testing, however, JMD determined that it would be beneficial to make additional improvements and adjustments to the system before entering actual data. By October 5, 2006, real data was entered into the system for the purpose of training. On October 16, 2006, training on the use of the system began for eighty-six JMD staff members. Staff members practiced for one week using the actual computer systems that they would use on the live FOIA System. On November 6, 2006, JMD staff began utilizing the new system and entering relevant data into it.

 

The milestone "Check status of those requests identified and re-examine any requests not yet resolved" was to be completed by October 31, 2006. This milestone was actually completed on November 29, 2006, as it was delayed until after the new automated system was fully functional. Finally, the milestone "Provide in-house training to Procurement Services Staff (PSS) on FOIA legal issues" was to be completed by September 30, 2006, but it was actually completed on December 6, 2006. It was rescheduled in order for PSS to meet other pressing fiscal year deadlines and in order to allow the maximum number of staff to benefit from the training.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

March 7, 2005 (second oldest is October 20, 2005) to December 16, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

 

 

NATIONAL DRUG INTELLIGENCE CENTER (NDIC)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

NDIC does not receive a significant number of FOIA requests during any one year and for Fiscal Year 2006, the median response time for all requests at NDIC was twenty days. From a customer service standpoint, NDIC focused on paying closer attention to the NDIC FOIA Web site, placing more emphasis on getting acknowledgment letters in the mail as soon as possible, and ensuring that applicable staff were well versed in being courteous and professional when dealing with customers.

 

One of the primary accomplishments within the FOIA process that is ongoing are efforts to move each request through the approval process as quickly as possible. To accomplish that, the FOIA staff now provides a brief summary of the request and, when necessary, a memorandum with each case file, which facilitates review by the reviewing official.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

NDIC did not meet one goal for this reporting period. After careful consideration of Improvement Area 9, "Chain-of-command review process," NDIC determined that it was preferable to keep the current supervisory review system in place. NDIC originally planned to implement a system under which the first-line supervisor would sign off on "no records" responses, instead of such responses having to go up the chain of command for review and approval. This milestone was originally scheduled to be completed by September 1, 2006. However, after further discussion with the FOIA Team, NDIC reached the judgment that the existing procedure was preferable because it incorporated a review by the NDIC general counsel.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

December 15, 2006 to January 11, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

 

 

OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES (COPS)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

 

One noteworthy improvement, the initiative in the area of proactive disclosure, more than tripled the types and total volume of documents made available through the FOIA electronic reading room. COPS anticipates that many potential FOIA requests will no longer need to be filed as the information is now in the public domain via the COPS Web site.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time

 

None pending

 

 

OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL DETENTION TRUSTEE (OFDT)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Most notably, OFDT has begun the process to improving its FOIA Web site. OFDT consulted with a contractor regarding the Web design of its FOIA Web site and has received advice from that contractor. OFDT determined that the design of OFDT's Web site is straight-forward and simple and that the format, which is consistent with other DOJ components, will enhance familiarity and use. However, OFDT continues to explore options regarding layout and design that will make the Web site more prominent and user-friendly.

 

Further, OFDT concentrated on affirmative and proactive disclosure. Many documents were "coded" and posted on OFDT's Web site. These documents include OFDT's 2007 - 2010 Strategic Plan and a frequently-requested study on detention trends. Links to the documents and OFDT's FOIA Web site were also created at appropriate places throughout OFDT's home Web site.

 

In addition to OFDT's affirmative disclosure of these documents on its Web site, on September 26, 2006, OFDT went "live" with an electronic FOIA request form also found on its FOIA Web site. By completing a form available online, and electronically submitting it, a request that previously was required to be delivered manually through the Department classification unit and mail room, now can be delivered to OFDT in a matter of seconds. Additionally, for most of these requests, OFDT is electronically responding and delivering the requested documents. This represents a sixty-six percent decrease in response time compared to the response time for FOIA requests which are manually received.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

 

 

OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (OIG)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. OIG implemented several practices that have produced positive results.

 

For example, in the area of automated tracking, OIG enhanced the capabilities of its FOIA tracking system by expanding the number of searchable fields. This enhancement provides OIG with broader search capabilities when attempting to retrieve data from the database.

 

In the area of Customer Communications, OIG now includes its telephone number in its acknowledgment letters. And, it now provides FOIA requesters with the option of submitting requests by e-mail and facsimile. This option is particularly noteworthy. Given the frequent delays in regular mail delivery, OIG expects that this effort will enhance its ability to more quickly respond to FOIA requests.

 

OIG also created a separate system to track referrals and consultations. With this system OIG is now able to communicate more effectively with other agencies regarding the status of referrals and consultations. Another benefit of using this system is that it will help OIG avoid duplication of FOIA responses, a problem that can sometimes arise when processing a referral that duplicates a request received directly by OIG.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

December 28, 2005 to December 21, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

June 15, 2006 to September 11, 2006

 

 

OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE POLICY AND REVIEW (OIPR)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR) has met the majority of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Most notably, OIPR installed a "tickler" system to track and update the status of pending referrals and consultations and implemented a routine review of access community comments to ensure customer satisfaction. OIPR made these improvements as it continued to provide outstanding service to the requester community. Each of these initiatives has improved overall operations and reduced the number of pending requests. Specifically, through the use of OIPR's "tickler" system and as a result of consistent contact with FOIA liaisons at other agencies, OIPR has closed a number of backlogged requests.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

OIPR did not meet one milestone for one goal. OIPR's plan established a goal of reducing its backlog of ten requests by two requests quarterly, with a first milestone deadline of September 30, 2006, which OIPR was unable to meet. OIPR operations were severely hampered in August and September because of flooding in the Department of Justice's Robert F. Kennedy Building. OIPR was relocated to temporary offices and its databases were not fully operational. Since then, OIPR has concentrated on reducing its backlog. OIPR has now met its goal of reducing its backlog of ten requests by two requests quarterly. As of January 9, 2007, OIPR has six pending requests and will continue to monitor the backlog on a quarterly basis.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

February 21, 2006 to January 3, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

March 24, 2006 to January 5, 2007

 

 

OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS (OJP)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, OJP is pleased to report that it achieved its backlog reduction goal of responding to all requests that were submitted during calendar years 2004 and 2005. These requests were fairly complicated and the processing of them required coordination with subject-matter experts in the fields of science and research. OJP completed the processing of, and closed all thirty-seven requests from 2005 and all four requests from 2004.

 

OJP also has improved its communications with requesters by calling them to discuss their requests. These additional outreach efforts have successfully resolved a number of requests.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

OJP was unable to fully achieve two of its goals for this reporting period, one of which is the aggressive goal of reducing request processing time to twenty days. While OJP regularly responds to simple requests within twenty working days, some of OJP's more complex requests do take longer to process. Due to the highly-sensitive and oftentimes highly-technical nature of the programs and activities of OJP, some complex requests require assistance from subject-matter experts.

 

Additionally, for a number of reasons, OJP was not fully able to utilize the part-time law student interns as originally planned. First, OJP had fewer interns than usual, so the available interns had a greater workload. Second, OJP's Office of General Counsel (OGC) experienced the loss of two attorneys through attrition, and at least three attorneys were out on extended leave for considerable periods of time. This situation resulted in an even higher degree of reliance on the interns to provide support for other aspects of OGC's operations during its very busy grant season. OJP's continuing efforts to reduce processing time include: 1) OJP's Senior Counsel continuing to closely monitor the FOIA operation, at the behest of the OGC, to determine what, if any, additional resources are needed to meet the time provisions of the statute; 2) OJP's Senior Counsel making recommendations by April 2007 regarding the optimum mixture of FTEs and/or contract personnel to complete OJP's FOIA work; 3) OJP's Senior Counsel continuing to participate in the selection of contract personnel to ensure that the most qualified individuals are hired; 4) OJP FOIA staff continuing to work with the subject-matter experts for highly-technical documents, and reviewing progress in this area by May 2007 and on-going thereafter; and 5) OJP FOIA staff maintaining the assistance of the temporary contract paralegal on a full-time basis to assist with processing requests until approximately March 2007.

 

The second goal OJP was unable to fully meet as planned is the goal of obtaining responses from the internal OJP bureaus and offices within five days of receipt of the OGC search letter. OJP has achieved significant improvement in obtaining internal responses within five days. A small number of offices, however, respond outside of the five-day time-frame due to the voluminous nature of the requested documents and/or staff shortages. To address this, OJP will continue to monitor late internal responses and will continue to offer assistance to the offices so that they can respond within the five-day time-frame. OJP will review progress in this area by May 2007 and on-going thereafter. Additionally, OJP's Senior Counsel and Paralegal Specialist have been added to the agenda for the upcoming January 2007 OJP Managers and Supervisors meeting to reiterate the importance of adhering to OJP's five-day deadline in providing documents to the FOIA office, and to highlight the President's emphasis on improving compliance with the FOIA.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date or referral from another agency)

 

January 26, 2006 to January 11, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date or initial interagency communication

 

One consultation initiated on December 15, 2006

 

 

OFFICE OF LEGAL COUNSEL (OLC)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. Overall, these initiatives have improved OLC's FOIA operations and its interaction with the requester community.

 

In particular, OLC focused on its tracking capabilities. OLC has improved the log used to track the status of FOIA requests and has placed the log on the shared "G drive" so that it will be available to individuals monitoring the FOIA Requester Service Center. OLC will periodically update and revise the log to reflect any changes or developments in the office's FOIA practice.

 

In addition, OLC increased by one attorney the staff permanently assigned to work on FOIA requests. During the past year, it also occasionally enlisted paralegals and support staff to assist in processing larger FOIA requests. Should OLC's FOIA workload increase substantially in 2007, it will assess whether additional staffing might be necessary.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

In addition to achieving its planned goals for 2006, OLC took several further steps aimed at improving its processing of FOIA requests. More regularly than in the past, OLC has contacted requesters by phone or letter in an effort to narrow particularly broad requests. To date, OLC has narrowed two potentially overwhelming requests through this outreach approach. In part due to the improved tracking log, OLC is also managing its FOIA workload more efficiently. Thus, although OLC still receives complex and time-consuming FOIA requests, during 2006 it reduced the processing backlog by approximately fifty percent.

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

May 20, 2005 to December 21, 2005

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

 

 

OFFICE OF THE PARDON ATTORNEY (OPA)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. OPA chose to concentrate on four areas in order to provide the public with improved access to clemency-related records and information.

 

The first project was to provide up-to-date and accurate information on OPA's Web site. OPA satisfied the initial target date, and held meetings on a quarterly basis to ensure that information on the Web site is updated as appropriate.

 

The second project was to establish an e-mail account, accessible through OPA's Web site, that would allow the public to submit FOIA requests electronically, as well as providing an avenue for follow-up. OPA is utilizing a form letter that is sent out via e-mail, fax, or hard copy as appropriate to acknowledge having received the FOIA request. Additionally, the publicly available information that is accessible on OPA's Web site was added to the Pardon Attorney FOIA page.

 

The third project is customer service. OPA's FOIA personnel will continue to receive training as appropriate to ensure that the customer service provided with respect to requests for records from the public is accomplished in a timely and accurate manner.

 

The fourth project selected for review and improvement was the timeliness of our responses to FOIA requesters. In this regard, OPA has implemented a system in which the acknowledgment to the requester that his request was received is prepared within five workdays and mailed out within seven workdays. In addition, OPA uses electronic notification whenever possible to ensure that the acknowledgment is sent in a timely manner. Finally, when a FOIA request seeks access to records in a clemency file being housed in OPA's off-site storage facility, those files are being obtained in a timely manner to ensure that the requests are responded to within the statutory time-frame.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication.

 

None pending

 

 

OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY (OPR)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has met nearly all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period. OPR has implemented Executive Order 13,392 by improving the public's access to information, reviewing internal processing procedures, and improving communications with requesters.

 

The most important aspects of OPR's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program are making information available to the public, improving communications, and conducting reviews of OPR's FOIA processing procedures.

 

In particular, OPR used its FOIA improvement plan to review its records to identify (a)(2) material and other information that would be of interest to both FOIA requesters and the general public. OPR identified and posted two investigative reports that qualified as frequently requested records. In addition, OPR identified eleven statutes, regulations, and orders that OPR routinely utilizes in carrying out its mission and responsibilities and completed the posting of the text of, or links to, the eleven resource documents. OPR will continue to monitor its program activities to identify (a)(2) material on a quarterly basis and any other pertinent information appropriate for proactive disclosure on a semiannual basis.

 

OPR also utilized its FOIA improvement plan to implement several improvements in communications with FOIA requesters. These areas included adding a status field to the current database, creating a database to track information about FOIA calls, and adding the internal tracking/file numbers and OPR telephone number in routine FOIA correspondence. The adoption of these changes will help OPR staff to provide important information to FOIA requesters and will enable OPR to collect valuable information about FOIA calls from requesters or the general public.

 

Finally, OPR utilized the FOIA improvement plan to conduct studies of two important aspects of FOIA processing: its handling of requests for expedited processing and the processing of complex requests. While OPR determined that it was not necessary to modify its processing procedures, the Office will continue efforts to achieve improvements in information technology systems to quicken and improve FOIA processing, and, as staff resources permit, train administrative staff to provide some limited processing support.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

OPR was unable to complete one of the milestones for improvement area six which was to conduct FOIA Service Center training for OPR staff by July 31, 2006. OPR's inability to meet this goal was caused by the severe flooding of the Department of Justice's Robert F. Kennedy Building on June 26, 2006. The flooding forced the closure of the building and suspended access to OPR records and files. The Office was able to continue essential operations in borrowed space off-site. On July 21, 2006, OPR returned to the RFK Building, but the lack of electrical power to one-third of OPR's offices further complicated efforts to reschedule the training. Nevertheless, OPR conducted the FOIA Service Center training on September 29, 2006.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

December 7, 2006 to December 20, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (OSG)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Specifically, OSG concentrated on customer service and the availability of information found on its FOIA Web site. OSG was also able to hire a volunteer intern to assist in these improvement areas.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not pplicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

October 6, 2006 to January 9, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

November 27, 2006 to December 18, 2006

OFFICE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN (OVW)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has met the Web site improvement goal established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that was to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Specifically, OVW redesigned its Web site to make information more accessible and to enable users to obtain information directly from the site. The new Web site makes it easy for users to navigate between various categories and subcategories to find the information they are seeking. As part of the improvement process, OVW evaluated and updated all of the information on the Web site. The new site was launched on the scheduled date of July 31, 2006. OVW has a designated an employee to regularly update the Web site, including identifying information that is frequently requested and adding this information to the site.

 

OVW also planned to develop FOIA acknowledgment postcards to send to anyone making a FOIA request. In the interest of politeness and courtesy, as well as improved communications with requesters, and in light of the small annual volume of FOIA requests OVW receives (twenty-one in Fiscal Year 2006), OVW determined that it is more appropriate to send individual letters to each requester. OVW began using the individual acknowledgment letters in December 2006, and has substituted this practice in place of the postcard item mentioned in the plan.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

OVW was unable to meet one goal related to training. OVW planned for two staff members to receive FOIA training. Because the two previously identified staff members left OVW prior to receiving this training, this step will be completed later than planned. Two other staff members have been recently designated to process FOIA requests. Both of these employees will attend training offered by OIP on January 23-24, 2007.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

November 16, 2006 to December 18, 2006

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time

 

None pending

PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY ADVISORY OFFICE (PRAO)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Professional Responsibility Advisory Office (PRAO) has met nearly all of its goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392 that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Specifically, PRAO has established the capability to process FOIA request records electronically, improved politeness and courtesy when interacting with FOIA requesters, and increased awareness of the appropriate use of "safeguarding labels" and their relationship to FOIA-processing decisions. In addition, the current PRAO FOIA staff has taken advantage of available FOIA training.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

PRAO was unable to fully meet one goal for this reporting period. PRAO's FOIA improvement plan contained the following goal: "Ensure that PRAO is taking full advantage of the government-wide FOIA training that is available." To attain this goal, PRAO established a milestone that "PRAO's FOIA staff will attend 'The Freedom of Information Act for Attorneys and Access Professionals' training provided by the Department of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy." This step was to be completed by August 31, 2006. When PRAO completed its FOIA improvement plan, two staff members shared PRAO's FOIA duties. PRAO subsequently assigned its limited FOIA tasks to a single staff member. This staff member had already completed the training course entitled "The Freedom of Information Act for Attorneys and Access Professionals" that was held in January 2006. As a result, the milestone to attend the same course offered in August was inapplicable to this staff member, as the training requirement had already been met.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

 

 

TAX DIVISION

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The Tax Division has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

Most notably, the Tax Division has completed the goals and milestones concerning the processing of complex requests. One review level of requests for certain types of form documents has been eliminated. Furthermore, time limits have been set for processing complex requests.

 

The Tax Division also completed the milestones and goals in the improvement area of training. The Division's FOIA paralegal attended OIP's seminar "The Freedom of Information Act for Attorneys and Access Professionals" and the Division's FOIA Requester Service Center staff received training on how to respond to phone calls by viewing a training tape entitled "Professional Telephone Skills."

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

None pending

 

 

UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE (USMS)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

USMS completed the majority of the goals and milestones established in the report submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392 that were to be completed for this reporting period. USMS has made significant progress in the past six months primarily by improving customer service, reducing the backlog, and reducing the processing time for requests.

 

Most notably, USMS has reduced its backlog by fifty-two percent. Furthermore, the median processing times for both simple and complex requests have been significantly reduced. USMS also met its goals regarding the improvement of search procedures. Specifically, by using e-mail to send search requests to USMS FOIA Liaisons in the various district offices and by encouraging liaisons to send responsive records electronically USMS has reduced its FOIA processing times. In furtherance of this effort, USMS rewrote the FOIA/PA guidance given to the USMS FOIA liaisons and program managers resulting in a more user friendly guide to procedures and applicable FOIA/PA standards.

 

In the past six months USMS has made it a priority to improve its correspondence with requesters. USMS specialists regularly call requesters regarding their requests, to update them on the status, discuss search fees, or identify ways to narrow the scope of their request. USMS has also increased the use of e-mail, where appropriate, to respond to inquiries or to send forms and other USMS documents. In addition, USMS continues to have discussions regarding possible customer service improvements as a regular part of its monthly FOIA staff meetings.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

USMS was unable to fully meet the milestones in the time frame anticipated for two of its goals for this reporting period. While USMS has been receiving requests via e-mail through the USMS Public Affairs e-mail box and through individual requesters, in particular from media requesters, there was a delay in establishing an e-mail address for the USMS FOIA staff on the USMS FOIA Web site. This milestone is now completed and the USMS contact information has been posted on the USMS Web site.

 

Other Web site milestone improvements were delayed, due to resource limitations within the IT department resulting from required staff leave. Several of these were completed in December 2006. Specifically, links were established for Department of Justice FOIA material, forms, and references; for the Department of Justice Office of the Detention Trustee; and for historical documents.

 

The one outstanding milestone is the posting of processed awarded contracts and policy material on USMS's Web site, which was to be completed by September 15, 2006. Currently, the USMS FOIA/PA team is working with the USMS information technology staff to compress the scanned files for posting on the USMS Web site. The target completion date is February 15, 2007.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency)

 

April 20, 2005 to January 9, 2007

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies, by date of initial interagency communication

 

August 4, 2003 to September 11, 2006

 

 

INTERPOL-U.S. NATIONAL CENTRAL BUREAU (USNCB)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The INTERPOL-U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed for this reporting period.

 

In particular, the USNCB has achieved positive results in the areas of customer relations/communications and in multi-track processing. USNCB has successfully utilized telephone contact with requesters to clarify requests. This practice has eliminated mail-related delays and helps to ensure a more timely response to the requester. Similarly, when the USNCB receives requests which seek records that it does not maintain, it calls the requester and directs them to the appropriate agency, if that information is known. The USNCB also created a log to track the customer relations/communication activities within the USNCB's FOIA Requester Service Center.

 

Another area in which the USNCB achieved positive results is in the refinement of its multi-track processing system. Formerly, one FOIA Specialist was handling everything involved in processing all FOIA requests. Now, the responsibility for all requests in the simple track, and the retrieval of responsive records and photocopying are delegated to additional component personnel. This delegation has permitted the USNCB's primary FOIA Specialist to concentrate on processing the more complex and expedited requests, thus creating a shorter response time.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Although an area relating to the redesign of the USNCB Web site was included in the USNCB FOIA improvement plan, the redesign of the Web site, in fact, does not relate to USNCB's FOIA practice. Still, the content of the FOIA portion of the USNCB Web site was reviewed to ensure its accuracy and to explore any possible areas of improvement. This review was completed on October 30, 2006, and the Web site will continue to be reviewed on a quarterly basis to ensure that the information posted is current.

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

None pending

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION (USPC)

A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area

 

The United States Parole Commission (USPC) has met all of the goals and milestones established in the report it submitted on June 14, 2006, in response to Executive Order 13,392, that were to be completed by December 31, 2006, and fully expects to meet the last milestone for this reporting period, as planned by January 31, 2007.

 

In particular, in the area of recruitment, the USPC had great success in meeting its goals, both through the hiring of three students to assist with FOIA processing, and the hiring of a FOIA officer at a higher pay grade. The new FOIA officer officially joined the Commission in November 2006.

 

In the area of technology improvements, the USPC established the goal of exploring improvements in the software to allow for clearer statistical reports and ways to make the system more user friendly. After discussions with the FOIA unit, the IT staff installed a new software program that allows the FOIA unit to obtain monthly statistics by fiscal year. The report also includes a list of pending cases by name, which the FOIA staff members can use to verify the accuracy of the statistical reports each month.

 

In the area of customer relations/communications, the USPC began communicating more frequently with requesters and worked on improving the quality of telephone interactions. Also in the area of customer relations/communications, the USPC made more frequent use of communicating with requesters who were awaiting parole hearings to explain to them that there was no need to submit a FOIA request since they would be automatically receiving documents prior to their hearing as outlined in the parole statute.

 

In regard to improving multi-track processing, the USPC has already changed to a three-track system for sorting requests. Finally, in regard to backlog reduction, the USPC has recently hired a new FOIA Specialist who is working very hard to reduce the outstanding backlog. The USPC is also hoping to retain several students to assist with its backlog reduction goals.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)

 

Not applicable

D. Additional narrative statements regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)

 

Not applicable

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions

 

See section E of the OIP portion of this report, above.

F. Additional Statistics:

 

1. Time range of requests pending, by date of request (or, where applicable, by date of referral from another agency).

 

February 7, 2006 to the present

 

2. Time range of consultations pending with other agencies at this time.

 

None pending

 

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