Yesterday OIP posted the Department’s 2016 Litigation and Compliance Report. In accordance with the FOIA, the Department submitted this Report to Congress and the President detailing our 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.
New policy guidance issued by OIP is also summarized in the report, which for 2016 includes:
- Guidance on the Prohibition on Assessing Certain Fees When the FOIA’s Time Limits Are Not Met, with a Decision Tree for Assessing Fees
- Guidance on the New Requirements for Agency Annual FOIA Reports
- Guidance for Agency FOIA Regulations, with a Template for Agency FOIA Regulations
- Guidance on the New Requirements for FOIA Response Letters, with an Implementation Checklist
- Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2016 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’ 2016 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and Fiscal Year 2015 Annual FOIA Reports, and the creation of new reporting guidelines for agency 2017 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As detailed in the 2016 Report, in addition to direct one-on-one counseling, OIP hosted and facilitated numerous training programs and briefings on the FOIA, providing instruction to over 2,100 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.
OIP's work on several open government initiatives is also detailed in the Report. Notably, pursuant to the United States’ Second Open Government National Action Plan, OIP concluded work on the initiative to assess the feasibility and develop the potential content of a “core” FOIA regulation. In 2016, OIP published guidance for agency FOIA regulations, which included a regulation template that provides sample language for agencies to use as they update their own regulations. The 2016 Report also details the Department’s work on initiatives from the Third United States Open Government National Action Plan.
Along with the narrative portion of the Report, every year OIP compiles charts listing the FOIA litigation cases received and decided during the reporting year. 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 2016 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.