“[R]enew their focus on their ten oldest requests and the steps that can be taken to ensure that every effort is made to close those requests by the end of the current fiscal year. This is a good time to reassess the steps needed to close [these] requests, to identify any barriers to closing them, and to develop solutions that will allow for the processing to be completed by the end of this fiscal year.”Additionally, with the government processing over 25,000 consultations in fiscal year 2011 alone, it is important that agencies also set a goal of closing their ten oldest pending consultations. Because the consultation process relies on the efficiency of multiple agencies, “any delay [for an agency] in receiving a response back on [a] consultation necessarily also delays the final response to the request.” Only through agencies working together will it be possible to achieve success. Closing the ten oldest pending requests and consultations each year will represent a significant step not only toward reducing overall backlogs at agencies, but also to improving FOIA administration across the government. OIP’s FOIA counselor service is available to answer any questions on this, or any other FOIA matter, and can be reached at (202) 514-FOIA (3642). You can read the full guidance article here.
Renewed Effort to Close the Ten Oldest Requests and Consultations
April 5, 2012
Last month we celebrated Sunshine Week 2012, a time set aside to commemorate the accomplishments in FOIA administration and open government initiatives every year. Sunshine Week also presents us with the opportunity “to renew our efforts and set goals for the year ahead.” In guidance issued today, Director Melanie Ann Pustay called on all agencies to "establish a goal of closing both their ten oldest requests and their ten oldest consultations each year." Many strides have been made in the last few years by agencies to close their ten oldest requests. This past fiscal year at the Department of Justice, we were not only able to close our ten oldest pending requests, but we were able to significantly reduce the age of our oldest pending requests in the process. However, throughout the government, there is still more work that can be done in this area, with Director Pustay noting in this new guidance that agencies should:
Closing the Ten Oldest Pending Requests and Consultations At the start of Sunshine Week, representatives from various agencies highlighted their considerable efforts and achievements in applying the presumption of openness, increasing efficiencies, utilizing technology, reducing agency backlogs, and improving timeliness. Overall, agencies have made great strides in improving the administration of the FOIA. A number of these success stories are featured on the Office of Information Policy's...
Updated August 21, 2014
June 12, 2013
Over the last four years, agencies have made important strides to improve the government's overall FOIA administration. As discussed in OIP's recently posted Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 (PDF), agencies continued to respond to increasing numbers of incoming FOIA requests in the last fiscal year by processing a record high number of requests and reducing the government's overall backlog by 14%. Agencies achieved these important milestones while improving overall...
Updated August 6, 2014
August 1, 2012
As agencies approach the last two months of the fiscal year, FOIA professionals are doing all that they can to keep up the pace and to close as many FOIA requests and appeals as possible by September 30th. Heading into the home stretch of the fiscal year agencies are working with requesters, completing records searches, and reviewing records for disclosure, as part of their efforts to close out this fiscal year as strongly as possible. While there might not be a gold medal and cheering fans, or...
Updated August 6, 2014
Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2013 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment As illustrated by OIP's 2013 Assessment of Agency Progress in Implementing the President's and Attorney General's FOIA Memoranda , agencies have accomplished a great deal over the past year to apply the presumption of openness, make more proactive disclosures, utilize technology for the benefit of FOIA administration, improve timeliness, and reduce backlogs. While the government overall has made...
Updated August 15, 2014
Updated August 6, 2014