Summary and Assessment of Agency 2023 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and New Guidelines for 2024 CFO Reports Issued
Today the Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to release its summary and assessment of agencies’ 2023 Chief FOIA Officer (CFO) Reports. OIP’s 2023 summary and assessment focuses on steps agencies have taken to improve FOIA administration in five key areas highlighted in the Attorney General’s 2022 FOIA Guidelines:
- FOIA Leadership and Applying a Presumption of Openness;
- Ensuring Fair and Effective FOIA Administration;
- Proactive Disclosures;
- Utilizing Technology to Improve Efficiency; and
- Steps Taken to Remove Barriers to Access, Improve Timelines, and Reduce Backlogs.
This past March marked the fourteenth 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 2023 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 2023 assessment, OIP selected twenty-three milestones for scoring high volume agencies and twenty-one milestones for scoring medium volume agencies. The full assessment, including a detailed methodology, is available as both a spreadsheet and PDF.
Based on the review of the 2023 reports, OIP has included guidance to assist agencies in making further improvements to FOIA administration in the years ahead. This guidance includes best practices on processing simple track requests; maintaining interoperability with FOIA.gov; and confirming the foreseeable harm standard was considered in response letters.
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 2023 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 2023 CFO Reports is available both as a part of this year’s summary as well as on our Guidance page.
OIP is also issuing new guidelines for agencies’ 2024 CFO Reports, which continue to focus on the five key areas of FOIA administration highlighted in the Attorney General’s 2022 FOIA Guidelines. The 2024 CFO Report Guidelines once again include separate reporting requirements for agencies depending on the number of FOIA requests received in the prior fiscal year. Agencies that received 50 requests or less in Fiscal Year 2022 are encouraged to report on any efforts or success stories that are not captured in their Fiscal Year 2023 Annual FOIA Report. All other agencies receiving more than 50 requests have more extensive reporting requirements.
Agencies that received more than 50 requests must submit their draft 2024 Chief FOIA Officer Reports to OIP for review by no later than Tuesday, January 16, 2024. For the remaining agencies receiving 50 requests or less in Fiscal Year 2022, if they do have information to report, they must provide their reports by no later than Friday, February 9, 2024. A listing of all agencies with a link to their reporting requirements is included at the end of the Guidelines.
Additional details on the review and submission process are included in the Guidelines. OIP will once again host refresher training courses on the preparation of both the 2024 Chief FOIA Officer Reports and the Fiscal Year 2023 Annual FOIA Reports.