The Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to announce that nominations are open for the 2021 Sunshine Week FOIA Awards, recognizing the contributions of FOIA professionals from around the government. As the Supreme Court declared, “[t]he basic purpose of [the] FOIA is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society . . . ” Agency FOIA professionals are vital to ensuring that the important purpose of this law is fulfilled and we are pleased and honored to celebrate the work of these individuals from around the government. For this year’s event, OIP is seeking nominations for five categories of awards:
- Exceptional Service by a FOIA Professional or Team of FOIA Professionals
- Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee
- Exceptional Advancements in IT to Improve the Agency’s FOIA Administration
- Exceptional Advancements in Proactive Disclosure of Information
- Lifetime Service Award
Nominations can be submitted by agencies or by a member of the public. All nominations are due to OIP by Monday, March 1st.
Awardees will be recognized virtually during the Department’s 2021 Sunshine Week event on March 15th.
All agency personnel are eligible for the awards listed below. These personnel can include Government Information Specialists, supervisors, FOIA attorneys, or FOIA administrative specialists.
We invite nominations for these awards from agencies as well as members of the public. Agency submissions should be made by the agency’s principal FOIA contact or Chief FOIA Officer.
Nominations must include:
- The full name, title, agency (or organization if applicable), and contact information for the person submitting the nomination,
- The name(s) of the individual(s) they are nominating,
- The award category that best reflects the nominee(s)’ accomplishments,
- A summary, not to exceed two single-spaced pages, that describes the nominee’s or group’s accomplishments, why the individual or group should receive the award, what they have done that sets them apart, and how their actions benefited FOIA administration, and
- A short abstract (100 words or less) that briefly outlines the nominee’s accomplishments.
Nominations must be submitted to DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail) with the subject line “2021 Sunshine Week FOIA Award Nomination” by March 1, 2021.
Award for Exceptional Service by a FOIA Professional or Team of FOIA Professionals
- Recognizing exemplary performance by a FOIA professional or team of FOIA professionals in carrying out the agency’s administration of the FOIA. This award recognizes those individuals or teams whose exceptional contributions have significantly benefited FOIA administration. These benefits could include increased efficiency, greater use of technology, reduced backlogs, improved timeliness, and increased proactive disclosures.
Award for Outstanding Contributions by a New Employee
- Recognizing exceptional performance and notable contributions in carrying out the agency’s FOIA responsibilities by a new employee with fewer than three years of work in FOIA.
Exceptional Advancements in IT to Improve the Agency’s FOIA Administration
- Recognizing exceptional achievements in greater utilizing technology to make information more accessible. These efforts could include the implementation of new and advanced technologies to increase efficiencies as well as to improve proactive disclosures and the online availability of information.
Exceptional Advancements in Proactive Disclosure of Information
- Recognizing exceptional achievements by an agency or team of professionals at the agency to proactively make more information available online. These efforts can include both the posting of more information online and steps taken to make that information more useful to the public.
Lifetime Service Award
- Recognizing an agency FOIA professional with at least 20 years of work in FOIA administration who has demonstrated high standards of excellence and dedication in the administration of the FOIA throughout their career.