This week, the Office of Information Policy (OIP) posted the Department’s 2021 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 and the Department, including guidance on the Supreme Court’s Exemption 5 ruling in United States Fish & Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, Inc. 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’ 2021 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and Annual FOIA Reports, and the creation of new reporting guidelines for agency 2022 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As detailed in the 2021 Report, in addition to direct one-on-one counseling, OIP hosted and facilitated numerous training programs and briefings on the FOIA and offered training to approximately 5,700 registered attendees. The Report also summarizes the many resources that OIP makes available online, such as the recently updated chapters to 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 2021 Report also details OIP’s work in continuing to maintain and enhance the National FOIA Portal on FOIA.gov that allows the public to submit a request to any Federal agency from a single site. The Director of OIP also continued serving as co-chair of the Chief FOIA Officers Council and as a member of the FOIA Federal Advisory Committee.
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 2021 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.