The Department of Justice recently updated guidance on questioning whether or not requesters were still interested in the results of their FOIA cases. Freedom of information requests must be responded to within (timeline), but extenuating circumstance can lead to a longer amount of time before records are processed. Changes in circumstances or an extended request processing time can lead to FOIA requests no longer being needed by the original requester. In these cases, DOJ has put out new guidelines on when and how to ask requesters if they are still interested in the results.
“When done judiciously, this is entirely appropriate because agency resources should not be expended on processing a request when the requester is no longer interested in the records,” the guidance says.
Automation of the FOIA process through solutions like FOIAXpress can help alleviate backlogs and speed response time, but the fact remains that some cases can still slip through the cracks. New guidelines such as these can ensure that agency time and resources are being spent on FOIA requests that are still valid.