1. When one component of an agency receives a consultation sent from another component of the same agency, should the receiving component count that incoming consultation in Section XII of the Annual FOIA Report?
Yes. Section XII of the Annual FOIA Report requires agencies, and agency components, to report information about consultations that they have received from other agencies as well as those received from other components within their own agency.
Agencies and agency components should be careful to report only consultations received from other agencies or from other components of their agency, and to not include consultations that they have sent to other agencies and/or components.
2. When an agency receives, processes and responds to a FOIA request all on the same day, how should the agency report the response time for that request in the Annual FOIA Report?
When an agency FOIA office receives a request directly from the requester and it is the proper FOIA office to have received the request, if that office processes and responds to the request within that same day, the agency should report this response time as “< 1” day (“less than one day”) in the Annual FOIA Report. In calculating time under the FOIA, the day after the day of receipt of a request is “day 1” of the twenty-day response period. Accordingly, if an agency receives, processes and responds to a request all on the same day, the time it takes to do so necessarily constitutes less than one day. This amount of time shall be reported as “< 1” day on the Annual FOIA Report. It should not be counted as “0” days.
Starting with requests received December 31, 2008, this rule will likewise apply when a FOIA office receives a misdirected request from another FOIA office in its agency which had routed it to the proper office on or before the tenth day from the original date of receipt. See FOIA Post, “New Requirement to Route Misdirected FOIA Requests” (posted 11/18/2008). In other words, when the proper FOIA office receives, processes and responds to a request on the same day and that day is the tenth day, or earlier, of the routing period, the proper FOIA office should report the response time for that request as “< 1” day.
This rule, on the other hand, will not apply if a FOIA office receives a misdirected request from another FOIA office in its agency if the proper office receives the request later than ten days from the original date of receipt. In this instance, the proper FOIA office must count the tenth day of the routing period as the beginning of the twenty-day response period and count forward accordingly to determine its response time for that request. Therefore, if, for example, the proper FOIA office receives the routed request on the eleventh day (rather than on or before the tenth day of the routing period) that day constitutes “day 1” of the twenty-day response period. In this example, if the proper FOIA office processed and responded to that request on the same day it received the request from the receiving FOIA office, it would report its response time as one day, not less than one day.
3. How should agencies account for requests which have been remanded following administrative appeal?
It is important that agencies keep track of the time spent on any request that is remanded for further processing after administrative appeal. In order to track a remanded request and capture the time taken to process it, agencies may give the remanded request a new number, or annotate the original tracking number to reflect that it has been remanded. The time spent processing a remanded request should then be included in the agency’s Annual FOIA Report, just as is done for all other FOIA requests. (posted 01/12/2009)
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