Last month, agency FOIA professionals and representatives from the FOIA requester community gathered together at OIP for the most recent FOIA Requester Roundtable. The topic of this meeting was how agencies provide estimated dates of completion to FOIA requesters.
The roundtable focused on the statutory requirements of the FOIA to assign tracking numbers to requests and provide status information to requesters, including:
- Subsection (a)(7)(A) – requiring agencies to assign an individualized tracking number to requests that will take longer than ten days to process, and
- Subsection (a)(7)(B) – requiring agencies to establish a telephone line or Internet service that requesters can use to inquire about the status of their requests using the request’s assigned tracking number.
After discussing the legal requirements of these provisions during the meeting, attendees shared a number of best practices for calculating an estimated date of completion, methods for providing this information to requesters, and the importance of good communication between agencies and the requester.
OIP has previously issued guidance to agencies on the FOIA’s requirements to assign tracking numbers and provide status information for requests and today, OIP is issuing an updated version of that guidance. This guidance further clarifies agencies’ responsibilities under these statutory provisions, and can be found on the Guidance page of our website.
For further information about training and outreach opportunities from OIP, please visit our Training page.