This past January, OIP issued guidance to all agencies on implementation of a new FOIA reporting requirement. As announced by OIP, all agencies are now required to post four key FOIA statistics each quarter of the fiscal year which are then also displayed on FOIA.gov. Agencies began posting their quarterly reports for Quarter 1 of Fiscal Year 2013 in January 2013. On January 28, 2013, the Department launched a new feature on FOIA.gov that displays each agency’s quarterly report data.
As detailed in OIP’s Quarterly Reporting Guidance, agencies are now required to report on the following four statistics on a quarterly basis:
- the number of requests received during the reporting period,
- the number of requests processed during the reporting period,
- the number of requests in an agency’s backlog at the end of the reporting period, and
- the progress being made to close the agency’s ten overall oldest pending FOIA requests from the prior fiscal year.
By requiring agencies to submit this data on a quarterly basis, rather than after the end of each fiscal year, the Department is enhancing the public’s ability to more regularly track agencies’ progress in processing FOIA requests, while at the same time encouraging agencies to focus on areas critical to improving their overall administration of the FOIA.
Agencies as well as the public can view quarterly report data by going to FOIA.gov, selecting the “Reports” tab, and clicking the “Find an Agency Report” button. Once an agency’s Snapshot Report is selected, users may toggle between viewing key statistics from the agency’s most recent Annual FOIA Report and its quarterly data.
The next deadline for agencies to submit their data for Quarter 2 of Fiscal Year 2013 will be May 3, 2013. Moving forward after this deadline, agencies will be required to post their quarterly report data no later than the last Friday of the month which follows the end of the quarter. Accordingly, for the rest of Fiscal Year 2013, the quarterly report deadlines are:
Quarter 2, Fiscal Year 2013: May 3, 2013
Quarter 3, Fiscal Year 2013: July 26, 2013
Quarter 4, Fiscal Year 2014: October 25, 2013
OIP has updated its Quarterly Reporting Guidance to include this schedule of deadlines and to address frequently asked questions. If your agency has additional questions about this updated guidance or about the quarterly reporting requirements in general, you can contact OIP’s Quarterly Reports Team at DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov.