As detailed in OIP’s Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year 2016, the government overall received a record high number of FOIA requests last fiscal year, receiving 788,769 requests. Agencies collectively processed nearly 760,000 requests, with many agencies successfully closing their ten oldest pending requests and consultations. Now that we are in the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2017, OIP is issuing new guidance encouraging agencies to continually look for ways to increase efficiencies so that they can continue to process high numbers of requests, while also ensuring that their oldest pending requests and consultations are closed each year.
One area of FOIA administration where OIP has found particular success in achieving efficiencies is the use of multiple tracks for processing requests. As discussed in the guidance, by differentiating between requests that will require minimal time to process and those that take a longer time to complete, agencies will be able to process more requests more efficiently. Additionally, with multiple processing tracks, agencies can offer requesters a meaningful opportunity to have their request processed more quickly if they limit their request so that it can qualify for the agency’s “simple” track. OIP encourages agencies to focus on processing their simple track requests within an average of twenty working days. OIP’s guidance also emphasizes the importance of agencies closing their ten oldest requests and consultations, and reviews longstanding procedures for consultations with the White House.
The full text of the guidance, along with all other guidance issued by OIP, is available on our guidance page. If you have any questions regarding this new guidance, please contact OIP’s FOIA Counselor Service at (202) 514-FOIA (3642).