Update: Due to the government shutdown, the October 7th Annual FOIA Report and Chief FOIA Officer Report refresher training has been rescheduled for Thursday, October 24th. The updated details for this training are located below. We apologize for the inconvenience.
As Fiscal Year 2013 draws to an end, agencies will soon begin working on preparing their Annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reports. Each year, agencies are required by law to submit to the Attorney General a report containing a range of statistics and details regarding their administration of the FOIA. In an effort to assist agencies, today OIP issued a comprehensive handbook that includes all of the legal, procedural, and technical requirements concerning agency Annual FOIA Reports.
In 2008 the Department of Justice, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued guidance to agencies on the submission of these reports. The Department has since continued to provide additional guidance to agencies and has also developed an Annual FOIA Report tool to assist in producing these reports in a uniform open format. The new handbook updates and centralizes all of this guidance into one resource designed for both agency professionals processing FOIA requests and appeals, and those professionals responsible for producing the Annual FOIA Report after the end of each fiscal year.
Recognizing the key role agency FOIA professionals play in properly tracking the information that goes into the Annual FOIA Report, an entire chapter of the Handbook is devoted to providing all of the guidance those professionals need as they process requests and appeals throughout the year. Additionally, the Handbook contains detailed guidance for those agency professionals responsible for preparing the Annual FOIA Report itself, including step-by-step instructions on using the DOJ Annual FOIA Report Tool, submitting the report to OIP for review and clearance, and finally posting the report to their agency’s website.
Along with issuing this new handbook, the Department is also releasing an enhanced version of the Annual FOIA Report Tool. First released in 2010, the Annual FOIA Report Tool assists agencies by providing built-in data validation checks and allowing them to produce their Annual FOIA Report in a uniform open format (NIEM-XML). In addition to these features, the new Tool will now also assist agencies in preparing the human-readable version of their report by producing all of the required data charts. Using the same source of data to produce both versions of the Annual FOIA Report, the new Tool will ensure better accuracy between the two versions, while at the same time eliminating the need for agencies to work on two entirely separate reports every year.
As announced last week, OIP will host a refresher training seminar for all agency personnel on the preparation of both the Fiscal Year 2013 Annual FOIA Report and 2014 Chief FOIA Officer Report. The details for the training are:
Refresher Training for FY 2013 Annual FOIA Reports and 2014 Chief FOIA Officer Reports
Department of Justice, Robert F. Kennedy Building
10th and Constitution Ave., NW – Great Hall
October 24, 2013, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Training is open to agency Chief FOIA Officers, Principal FOIA Contacts, and any other agency personnel who prepare Annual FOIA Reports and/or Chief FOIA Officer Reports (including appropriate IT staff)
If you are interested in attending this refresher training seminar, please e-mail your name and phone number to OIP’s Training Officer at DOJ.OIP.FOIA@usdoj.gov with the subject line “Annual Report and Chief FOIA Officer Report Refresher Training.” Please note that registration is required to attend and that you will need a picture ID to enter the building. If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact OIP’s Training Officer at (202) 514-3642.
You can access the new Department of Justice Annual FOIA Report Handbook here, or through OIP’s Reports page.