Open Government

Agencies, what's up with your FOIAs?

Shutterstock image: National Archives front columns.

Mandated to review the handling of Freedom of Information Act requests at 99 agencies but unable to speedily get to all of them, the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of Government Information Services is asking agencies to assess themselves.

In a January letter, OGIS Director James Holzer invited the chief FOIA officers at 60-odd agencies that field more than 95 percent of FOIA requests to take a SurveyMonkey self-assessment.

The request comes on the heels of a majority staff report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that declared the FOIA process to be broken.

Holzer promised to be nonjudgmental. "We will use the survey answers to identify trends governmentwide as opposed to grading or ranking agencies against each other," he wrote.

The 27-question survey will serve as a complement to the typical OGIS reviews of agencies' FOIA processes, websites and regulations.

An official familiar with the initiative said the results will be used in two major ways: as part of a March 2017 report on governmentwide FOIA trends and in individual agency reports that will include anonymized responses from FOIA officers.

The survey is hosted on an open web app that could invite fraudulent answers, but the official said OGIS would check any suspect responses against the provided contact information.

The survey, which will be open until March 11, is meant for FOIA staff only, and respondents must provide their names, positions and contact information to log answers.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a former FCW staff writer.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.