The Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to announce two upcoming Best Practices Workshops this March focused on agencies’ administration of the FOIA in the face of the workplace challenges presented by the pandemic.
Last March, agencies quickly adjusted to new workforce policies to protect the health and well-being of their employees while continuing their agencies’ missions. In May 2020, OIP issued guidance encouraging agencies to, among other things, continuously assess their FOIA programs as circumstances evolve with a focus on finding workable solutions to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their FOIA programs. In December 2020 and February 2021, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) issued two reports detailing its review of agency FOIA websites for public notices on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agencies’ FOIA administration in accordance with OIP’s guidance. In addition, agencies detail the various challenges they faced during the year due to the pandemic and the steps taken to mitigate those challenges in their 2021 Chief FOIA Officer Reports. As reflected in these reports, many agencies have made changes to their FOIA programs since last March to continue to effectively administer the FOIA in the current environment. This has also been a topic of continued interest for the Chief FOIA Officers (CFO) Council Technology Committee. OIP, OGIS, and the CFO Council Technology Committee invite agencies to join us for these upcoming opportunities to discuss current challenges and to learn successful strategies agencies have implemented to adjust to the workplace challenges associated with the pandemic.
FOIA programs in the Intelligence Community are confronted with some of the biggest challenges in this area, which is why we are very pleased to focus our first workshop on March 11 (1pm – 3pm), on best practices specific to the Intelligence Community.
Following this event, on March 30 (1pm - 3pm), a second workshop will be held on this topic featuring a broad panel of experts from a diverse group of agencies, including small, medium, and large agencies.
Both workshops are open to all agency FOIA professionals and interested personnel. Registration is required for attendance. Government employees must use their government email address to register for the event through Eventbrite.
As with prior workshops, after the event, the best practices discussed by the panels and other resources, will be added to the Best Practices Workshop Series page of our website as a resource for all agencies and interested individuals.
OIP launched the Best Practices Workshop series in 2014 as a way to share and leverage successes in FOIA administration across the government. Each workshop in the series focuses on a specific topical area and includes a panel of representatives who share their success stories and strategies. The series continues to be an opportunity for professionals at every level of the FOIA process to learn from one another and to leverage the successes of other agencies for their own organizations.
As we hold these workshops, we continue to invite your suggestions on future meeting topics and potential panelists. If you would like to suggest a topic or panelist, please email us at DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail) with the subject line “Best Practices Workshop Suggestion.”