Last month, OIP posted the Department’s 2015 Litigation and Compliance Report. Each year by April 1, the Attorney General submits to Congress a report detailing the Department’s efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA, as well as a listing of all FOIA litigation cases received and decided in the prior calendar year. The report highlights the many ways that OIP works to provide guidance, trainings, and counseling to promote agency accountability with the FOIA.
This year's report once again summarizes new policy guidance issued by OIP, which for 2015 includes:
- Limitations on the Use of “Still-Interested” Inquiries, with an implementation checklist
- Proactive Disclosures of Non-Exempt Agency Information, with an implementation checklist
- Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment
The report also discusses a range of efforts by OIP to promote agency accountability with the FOIA, including through the review and assessment of agencies’ 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and Annual FOIA Reports, and the creation of new reporting guidelines for agency 2016 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As detailed in the 2015 report, in addition to direct one-on-one counseling, OIP hosted and facilitated numerous training programs and briefings on the FOIA, providing instruction to nearly 2,000 FOIA professionals across the government. The report also summarizes the many resources that OIP makes available online, such as the DOJ Guide to the FOIA, searchable summaries of court decisions, and information about FOIA news and events published in the FOIA Post blog.
The newly published 2015 report also details OIP’s work on several open government initiatives. Notably, pursuant to the United States’ Second Open Government National Action Plan, OIP created four distinct FOIA training resources and made them available to all agencies during 2015. These resources included an infographic covering FOIA basics for new employees, a brief video for senior government executives, and two e-Learning training modules - one for FOIA professionals and another for all government employees. As detailed in the report, OIP has also already begun making progress on commitments in the Third Open Government National Action Plan, which include expanding services available on FOIA.gov, conducting a proactive disclosure pilot, and improving agency FOIA websites.
Along with the narrative portion of the report, every year OIP compiles charts listing the FOIA litigation cases received and decided during 2015. As in previous years, OIP again provides these charts in both PDF and open (CSV) formats.
OIP invites both agencies and the public to review its 2015 Litigation and Compliance Report to learn more about all of our efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA. OIP looks forward to building on these efforts as we continue to work with agencies and the public to improve the overall administration of the FOIA in the years ahead.