Archive for 'Best practices'
Describing the scope of a FOIA request — and on the agency’s side, interpreting the scope of that request — often feels like more art than science. Requesters naturally describe requests in expansive terms to be sure that they don’t exclude potentially valuable information. On the other hand, agency FOIA staffers often feel like they [...]
In last week’s post we discussed the difference between positions and interests. In brief, positions are what an angry person presents during a confrontation; interests are the secret, unmet needs that anyone in a dispute may be reluctant to share. We also learned that the only way to move toward a resolution is to discuss [...]
As part of providing mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes, we OGIS staffers regularly have conversations that can be characterized as “difficult.” We listen to FOIA requesters who are furious about delays or denials. We also hear from agency FOIA professionals who are defensive about agency practices or frustrated by overly persistent requesters. Thanks to [...]
This week’s guest blogger is Gery Huelseman, Principal Technical Advisor to the Air Force’s Knowledge Ops Branch, National Air & Space Intelligence Center and key member of the OGIS-facilitated FOIA Information Technology Working Group. IT Working Group members will occasionally use the FOIA Ombudsman to share their thoughts on technology solutions. Do you need to [...]
While Sunshine Week provides many opportunities to celebrate open government achievements, it also provides the perfect context to reflect upon changes that could improve FOIA. Think of it as a little spring cleaning. Since opening in September 2009, we’ve worked with agencies and requesters on more than 1,500 FOIA matters, giving us a unique perspective [...]
In the course of our work as the FOIA Ombudsman, we regularly hear from agencies and requesters about FOIA practices that work well. We also hear about practices that don’t work as well. Too often, such problems result in legal action by requesters. We have observed that the following agency practices can be “litigation invitations”: [...]
Posted by Candace Boston on February 3, 2012, under About FOIA, About OGIS, Alternative dispute resolution, Best practices, definitions and concepts, FOIA Public Liaisons, Ombudsman, Plain Language.
FOIA requests for third-party information present a difficult balancing act for Federal agencies. On Tuesday January 24, OGIS and the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) hosted a Requester Roundtable to discuss issues that arise from third-party requests. If you couldn’t make it, we’re here to share some tips. When a requester asks [...]
Throughout 2011, OGIS observed a recurring concept: Federal agencies are succeeding through internal collaboration. This “team approach” to government operations promotes efficiency, reduces redundancy, and helps an agency successfully meet its statutory mandate. One area where teamwork is particularly important is records management; we’ve observed that many agencies are getting wise to this fact. President [...]
As regular readers of this blog know, OGIS moved from College Park, MD, to Washington, D.C., one month ago. Our mailing address, email addresses and toll-free number remain the same, but our local telephone and fax numbers have changed. (For anyone concerned that our mail stills goes to College Park, MD, rest assured that there [...]
Back in May, we posted a recommendation on this blog regarding referrals. We’d recently had several OGIS cases in which agencies making referrals neither identified the name of the agencies to which they referred requests nor offered to assist requesters in determining the status of the referred requests. The requests appeared to have disappeared into [...]