Freedom of Information Act advocacy group, Center for Effective Government, recently conducted an analysis of 15 federal agencies’ FOIA performance and posted their results in a report card format. The study found that USDA and SSA lead the pack when it comes to criteria like processing requests, disclosing rules, and quality of their websites. The Department of Justice also did well according to the study, scoring 100% for its website and disclosure rules. Overall, many agencies improved since last year’s report.
The Center for Effective Government judged many of the agencies in the study harshly based on their processing ability, and rightfully so. Speedy and accurate processing is important to the FOIA process. Backlogs of requests can be costly to federal agencies. One of the best ways to improve processing ability is through automation and standardization of the FOIA process.
Automation tools like FOIAXpress can reduce backlog, speed processing reply time, and ensure proper tracking and management of related documents. FOIA solutions like this one feature tools for fee and billing tracking, connections to public websites, redaction capabilities, and deadline tracking. With more tools in their arsenal, FOIA workers can more effectively and quickly respond to FOIA requests. Once more federal agencies adopt FOIA software for tracking and processing, we should see a bump in next year’s report card.
Courtney James is AINS’ Marketing & Graphic Design Associate. She has experience with social media, public relations, graphic design, event management, and many other marketing topics. Courtney loves to blog about topics dealing with technology in government, social media, and case management. She holds degrees in Communication and Art from the University of Maryland, College Park.