OMB seeks FOIA info as part of annual e-gov update

Agencies must update the Office of Management and Budget on their progress in implementing recent changes to the Freedom of Information Act.

In an Aug. 25 memorandum Karen Evans, OMB administrator for E-government and IT, said that as part of their annual update of e-government projects, agencies must also list the steps they have taken to comply with an executive order that directed the government to streamline FOIA processing.

Agencies must submit a report to OMB each year on their implementation of e-government programs, which is later given to Congress, as directed under the E-Government Act of 2002.

“This year, your report will comprise three specific components, and the first two are the same as last year,” Evans wrote. “The third component addresses how your agency’s information dissemination activities are coordinated with your FOIA operations.”

The December 2005 order required agencies to appoint a chief FOIA officer and make information about how they handle FOIA requests available online by June 2006.

In the memo Evans said agencies are also directed to provide a brief overview of their FOIA process, particularly how it aligns with their implementation of e-government programs.

In particular, agencies must describe how they determine what types of information can be released on their Web sites and steps they are taking to improve public access to FOIA resources, the memo said.

“Your description must include a link to your agency’s information resources management strategic plan and FOIA improvement plan,” Evans wrote.

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