Summary and Assessment of Agency 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports Now Available

July 22, 2015

Since 2010, agency Chief FOIA Officers have submitted to the Department of Justice an annual report detailing all of their agency’s efforts in implementing President Obama’s and Attorney General Holder’s FOIA Memoranda. These Chief FOIA Officer Reports have served as a valuable resource for agencies to describe the various initiatives undertaken to improve their administration of the FOIA.  With the completion of agencies’ 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports this past Sunshine Week, today OIP releases its summary and assessment of these reports and the progress made in implementing Attorney General Holder’s 2009 FOIA Guidelines.

Similar to last year, this year’s summary is broken down into five parts detailing the efforts of agencies in each of the five key areas from Attorney General Holder’s 2009 FOIA Guidelines:

  • Applying the Presumption of Openness,
  • Having Effective Systems for Responding to Requests,
  • Making Information Available Proactively,
  • Utilizing Technology, and
  • Reducing Backlogs and Improving Timeliness.

Agencies and the public are encouraged to read both OIP’s summary and each agency’s individual report to learn more about the various efforts and steps taken over the last reporting year to improve the administration of the FOIA across the government.

In addition to the summary, OIP’s 2015 assessment once again provides a visual snapshot of agency efforts in several key areas of FOIA administration. The assessment includes all of the enhanced features introduced last year, including an expanded five-step scoring system, overall scores for each assessed section, and the inclusion of a detailed methodology. The full assessment is provided in both an open format and in PDF.

As announced in September 2014, a significant change for agency 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports is the separate reporting requirements for large and small volume FOIA agencies. This difference is incorporated into the 2015 assessment so that the milestones are tailored to the distinctive FOIA processes at different size agencies.

Finally, as a part of the 2015 summary and assessment, OIP has once again included guidance based on our review of the 2015 reports to assist agencies in making further improvements in the years ahead.

Based on our review of agency 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports, and as stated in OIP’s summary and assessment, “agencies have persevered through a difficult year of tight resources and ever-increasing demands to continue improving their administration of the FOIA through various initiatives connected to the five key areas of Attorney General Holder's 2009 FOIA Guidelines.” At the same time, the level of success achieved by agencies in these efforts varies and there is still work to be done. OIP’s yearly assessment is intended to serve as a vehicle to both recognize agency successes and to identify areas where further improvement can be made.

You can read OIP’s 2015 Summary and Assessment of Agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports on our Reports page alongside previous summaries and assessments. OIP’s guidance for further improvement based on our review of agency 2015 Chief FOIA Officer Reports is available as a part of this year’s summary as well as on our Guidance page.

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Updated July 24, 2015