Last Friday, OIP posted the Department’s 2017 FOIA Litigation and Compliance Report. In accordance with the FOIA, each year the Department of Justice submits to Congress and the President a report detailing our efforts to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA. The report also contains 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 agencies to assist them in their FOIA administration and to promote agency accountability.
This year's report once again summarizes new policy guidance issued by OIP, which for 2017 includes:
- Defining a “Record” Under the FOIA
- Updated Department of Justice Handbook for Agency Annual Freedom of Information Act Reports
- Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2017 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment
- Processing Reminders for the Last Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017
- Guidelines for 2018 Chief FOIA Officer Reports
- Agency FOIA Websites 2.0
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’ 2017 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and Annual FOIA Reports, and the creation of new reporting guidelines for agency 2018 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As detailed in the 2017 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 1,500 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 2017 Report also details OIP’s work on several open government initiatives. This included working to establish a consolidated National FOIA Portal that allows the public to submit a request to any Federal agency from a single site. As part of another ongoing initiative included in the Second Open Government National Action Plan, the Director of OIP continued serving on the FOIA Federal Advisory Committee. Finally, during 2017 the Department completed its final FOIA initiative from the Third United States Open Government National Action Plan with the issuance of its new policy guidance on FOIA websites.
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 2017 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.