Summary and Assessment of Agency 2021 CFO Reports Issued

September 21, 2021

Today the Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to release its summary and assessment of agencies’ 2021 Chief FOIA Officer (CFO) Reports.  As in prior years, OIP’s summary and assessment focuses on steps agencies have taken to improve FOIA administration in five key areas addressed in the Department's FOIA Guidelines:

  • Applying a Presumption of Openness,
  • Ensuring Agencies Have Effective Systems for Responding to Requests,
  • Increasing Proactive Disclosures,
  • Greater Utilization of Technology in FOIA Administration, and
  • Improving Timeliness and Reducing Backlogs.

This past March marked the twelfth year that agency CFOs submitted these reports to the Department of Justice.

OIP encourages agencies and the public to read both OIP’s summary and each agency’s individual report to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various steps taken to improve the administration of the FOIA across the government.

In addition to the summary, OIP’s 2021 assessment provides a broad overview of agency efforts in several key areas of FOIA administration.  The assessment covers those agencies that received more than 50 requests and distinguishes between high and medium volume agencies, using a five-step scoring system to denote agency success for each milestone.  For the 2021 assessment, OIP selected twenty-one milestones for scoring high volume agencies and nineteen milestones for medium volume agencies.  The full assessment, including a detailed methodology, is available in both an open format and PDF.

Based on the review of the 2021 reports, OIP has included guidance to assist agencies in making further improvements to FOIA administration in the years ahead.  This guidance includes emphasizing the importance of FOIA training for FOIA professionals and agency program personnel; planning ahead and leveraging lessons learned to reduce backlogs and processing times; maintaining standard operating procedures; and updating agency FOIA regulations in accordance with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. 

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 2021 Summary and Assessment of Agency CFO Reports on our Reports page alongside previous summaries and assessments.  OIP’s guidance for further improvement based on our review of agency 2021 CFO Reports is available both as a part of this year’s summary as well as on our Guidance page.

Topic(s): 
FOIA

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Updated September 21, 2021