Office of Information Policy Releases Assessment of 2023 Chief FOIA Officer Reports

OIP’s Assessment of 2023 CFO Reports

The Office of Information Policy (OIP) is pleased to announce the release of its summary and assessment of agencies’ 2023 Chief FOIA Officer (CFO) Reports.

This comprehensive review focuses on the progress made by agencies in key areas outlined in the Attorney General’s 2022 FOIA Guidelines, reflecting efforts to enhance FOIA administration.

Key Areas of Assessment

OIP’s 2023 summary and assessment concentrate on five critical facets of FOIA administration highlighted in the 2022 FOIA Guidelines:

  1. FOIA Leadership and Applying a Presumption of Openness
  2. Ensuring Fair and Effective FOIA Administration
  3. Proactive Disclosures
  4. Utilizing Technology to Improve Efficiency
  5. Steps Taken to Remove Barriers to Access, Improve Timelines, and Reduce Backlogs

Fourteenth Year of CFO Reports

This year marks the fourteenth year of agency CFOs submitting these essential reports to the Department of Justice, demonstrating their commitment to transparency and improved FOIA practices.

Encouragement for Comprehensive Review

OIP encourages both agencies and the public to thoroughly examine both OIP’s summary and each agency’s individual report.

This comprehensive review offers insights into the diverse steps taken to enhance FOIA administration across the government.

Assessment and Scoring System

In addition to the summary, OIP’s 2023 assessment provides an extensive overview of agency efforts in key areas of FOIA administration.

The assessment distinguishes between high and medium volume agencies, utilizing a five-step scoring system to evaluate agency success across milestones.

For this year’s assessment, OIP selected twenty-three milestones for high volume agencies and twenty-one for medium volume agencies.

The full assessment, along with a detailed methodology, is available in both spreadsheet and PDF formats.

Guidance for Further Improvements

Based on the analysis of the 2023 reports, OIP has developed guidance to assist agencies in enhancing FOIA administration in the future.

This guidance includes best practices for processing simple track requests, maintaining interoperability with, and ensuring the consideration of the foreseeable harm standard in response letters.

OIP’s Role in Acknowledging Success and Identifying Areas for Growth

OIP’s yearly assessment serves as a platform to recognize agency achievements in FOIA administration while also pinpointing areas that require further improvement.

It aims to foster ongoing progress in transparency and responsiveness within government agencies.

Upcoming Guidelines for 2024 CFO Reports

OIP is issuing new guidelines for agencies’ 2024 CFO Reports, maintaining the focus on the five key areas of FOIA administration outlined in the Attorney General’s 2022 FOIA Guidelines.

The 2024 CFO Report Guidelines include distinct reporting requirements for agencies based on the number of FOIA requests received in the previous fiscal year.

Agencies are encouraged to submit their draft 2024 Chief FOIA Officer Reports by specified deadlines, with more extensive reporting requirements for high request volume agencies.

Conclusion: Ongoing Commitment to FOIA Transparency

The release of OIP’s assessment and forthcoming guidelines for 2024 CFO Reports underscore the ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability in FOIA administration.

These efforts aim to strengthen FOIA practices across government agencies, ultimately serving the public interest. Additional details on the submission process and requirements are available in the provided guidelines.

OIP will also offer refresher training courses to support agencies in preparing their reports for 2024.

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