The Office of Information Policy (OIP) has released its Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. This summary provides a synopsis of FOIA activities across the government during the previous fiscal year, looks at key statistics in FOIA administration, and identifies trends in FOIA processing. Each summary serves as a resource for both agencies and the public to gain an understanding of overall FOIA administration.
As highlighted in this year's summary, the government received over 838,000 requests during FY 2021. As discussed in agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports, the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020, continued to have varying impacts on agencies' FY 2021 FOIA administration. Despite some residual challenges, agencies' collective efforts resulted in more requests being processed (838,668) than received (838,164) as well as more appeals being processed (15,522) than received (15,244). Of note, the government processed the highest number of FOIA appeals ever processed during a fiscal year, resulting in a more than 7% appeal backlog reduction as compared to FY 2020. Moreover, the average processing time for adjudicating appeals decreased by more than 8 working days.
OIP's latest summary is available on its Reports page, where it can be compared with previous summaries dating back to FY 2006. As previously announced on March 2, 2022, all agencies subject to the FOIA finalized their FY 2021 Annual FOIA Report data. This information can be easily viewed, compared, and analyzed on FOIA.gov's Data page. Subscribe to FOIA Post email updates to receive additional FOIA updates from OIP.