WASHINGTON – Responding to the President’s and Attorney General’s call for increased transparency, federal agencies across the government have released more documents, made more information available on websites and decreased backlogs in the past year, the Department of Justice today announced. This year, for the first time ever, 94 agencies were required to submit reports from their Chief FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Officers detailing their progress in improving transparency as part of the President’s FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines.
“These 94 agencies have taken significant steps forward in providing the American people with the transparency they want and deserve,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Much work needs to be done in the effort to open up the government’s FOIA process and improve its efficiency, but these results indicate we have made important strides in the right direction.”
In the Chief FOIA Officers’ Reports, agencies were asked to describe the steps they had taken to improve transparency in accordance with the President’s FOIA Memorandum, www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/FreedomofInformationAct/, and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines, www.justice.gov/ag/foia-memo-march2009.pdf. The department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) analyzed the reports and provided a summary of its findings and guidance for further improvements that can be found at www.justice.gov/oip/foiapost/2010foiapost23.htm. The results are significant. Among other things:
President Obama’s Memorandum concerning transparency and open government was issued on Jan. 21, 2009. Attorney General Holder’s FOIA Guidelines were issued on March 19, 2009.
The Office of Information Policy is responsible for encouraging agency compliance with the FOIA and ensuring that the President’s FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney General’s FOIA Guidelines are fully implemented across the government. To carry out these responsibilities OIP develops and provides guidance to agencies relating to the FOIA and regularly conducts training for FOIA personnel. OIP also manages the department’s responsibilities related to the FOIA. Additional information regarding the OIP and FOIA can be found at OIP’s website, www.justice.gov/oip/oip.html.