For Sunshine Week 2016, DOJ celebrated the 50 year history of the FOIA. During the Department's Sunshine Week event, Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery remarked,
Over the last 50 years, the public demand for information through the FOIA has grown considerably. And so have agencies’ abilities to meet that demand.
Today, OIP highlights a number of FOIA success stories from 2015-2016 for the 15 cabinet agencies. As in prior years, these success stories come from agencies 2016 Chief FOIA Officer Reports, which detail all the efforts taken place throughout the year to implement the President's and the Department of Justice's FOIA policy directives.
For the last seven years, the Chief FOIA Officer Reports have played an important role in allowing agencies to go beyond the statistics of their Annual FOIA Reports to more fully illustrate the various concrete steps they have taken to implement the presumption of openness and improve their FOIA administration. The reports give agencies the ability to provide depth and context to the varied steps that they are taking to increase efficiency and improve performance in the FOIA process. They also provide a vehicle for agencies to describe the innovative ways information is being released to the public proactively.
Some of the successes from the selection highlighted today include:
- The Department of Homeland Security launched the first ever eFOIA mobile application and made remarkable achievements in backlog reduction, eliminating over 65% of backlogged requests.
- In response to public interest, the Food and Drug Administration processed and posted all records concerning a listeria outbreak related to ice cream. By proactively posting the records, the public and the media were able to readily obtain information about the outbreak and the contaminated products involved.
- The Department of Energy continues its efforts to open up data to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and innovation, providing a central online location for information about data released by the agency.
- Despite a marked increase in incoming requests, the Department of the Interior reduced its overall backlog of requests and closed its ten oldest requests.
As in prior years, OIP will soon be issuing its detailed summary and assessment of agency 2016 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. In the meantime, however, we encourage you to take a look at the individual agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports for more on all the important work that is being done to improve access to information.
For more information on agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports, including the reports filed by agencies in previous years, please visit our Reports page.