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Archive for 'Best practices'

Do You Copy?

When agencies respond to a FOIA request with released records, they retain a copy of those records along with the response letter in a file documenting the request. This is important for a couple of reasons—so that the agency can respond to any questions from the requester, or that the information can be passed along […]

FOIA Fever: It’s Contagious

We’ve written about the positive difference that executive support for FOIA can make in federal agencies. We’ve made this point in our recommendations and,  whenever we can, we encourage agencies to make FOIA a priority (and communicate this across the board). One effective way that agency heads can spread the word that FOIA matters is […]

Shutdown Didn’t Stop FOIA Clock

FOIA request processing came to a screeching halt during the 16-day government shutdown as the vast majority of FOIA professionals were furloughed as “non-excepted” employees. We don’t like the term “non-essential” since we consider FOIA essential, as Sen. Patrick Leahy noted October 5 on the Senate floor. “We … take for granted that our open […]

Managing Emails & Government Records: Are your ducks in a row?

In his November 28, 2011 Presidential Memorandum -Managing Government Records, President Obama noted “proper records management is the backbone of open Government.” Sound records management helps agencies carry out their missions, promotes accountability by documenting agency activities, and fosters open Government. As we’ve written before, good records management is essential for good FOIA programs. That’s […]

Making “Publicly Available” Records Available

As the government strives to find ways to improve FOIA, proactive disclosure seems to be one strategy that everyone agrees on; if agencies make more information publicly available, people will not need to make FOIA requests for those records. In many cases, this strategy has worked. Thanks to efforts like data.gov and agencies’ FOIA libraries, […]