Each year, federal departments and agencies are required by law to submit a report to the Attorney General detailing many statistics regarding their agency’s FOIA activities, such as the numbers of requests processed and received, and the time taken to process them. These Annual FOIA Reports, ninety-nine reports total in Fiscal Year 2011, are compiled by OIP and posted on the Reports page of our site. For the past two fiscal years, the data from agency Annual FOIA Reports has also been uploaded onto FOIA.gov, the Justice Department’s government-wide FOIA resource.
In order to provide a snapshot of government-wide FOIA activity, OIP routinely creates a summary of the information contained within agency Annual FOIA Reports. Yesterday, we posted our summary of these reports for Fiscal Year 2011. This summary looks at data for many key statistics in FOIA administration from the most recent fiscal year, and breaks down the numbers to see how individual agencies contributed and affected these totals, while also looking at data from past fiscal years to identify trends in FOIA processing. In Fiscal Year 2011, the government as a whole:
- Received and Processed more FOIA requests: 644,165 total requests received and 631,424 total requests processed, an 8% and 5% increase (respectively) over the total numbers in Fiscal Year 2010
- Decreased the use of Exemptions 2 and 5: Use of Exemption 2 fell 62% in Fiscal Year 2011 from Fiscal Year 2010 which can largely be attributed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Milner v. Department of the Navy, and use of Exemption 5 fell 13% in Fiscal Year 2011 from Fiscal Year 2010
- Processed more FOIA consultations: Agencies processed 25,878 consultations in Fiscal Year 2011, a nearly 35% increase over the total in Fiscal Year 2010, which also helped decrease the number of pending consultations at the end of the fiscal year by nearly 80%
Our summary of agency Annual FOIA Reports focuses on key FOIA processing metrics from the data contained within these reports. You can compare this summary to previous Annual FOIA Report summaries compiled by OIP which are all available on the Reports page of our site. To view, compare, and analyze data collected by agencies each year for their Annual FOIA Report, please visit FOIA.gov.