FOIA National Portal Guidelines and Deadlines

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Information Policy (OIP) released further guidance on Monday regarding FOIA National Portal interoperability. The guidance is in accordance with requirements and timelines issued by the Executive Office of the President in February, 2019 (Memo M-19-10) for federal agencies to achieve interoperability with the National Portal by the end of Fiscal Year 2021.

In this week’s correspondence, OIP has requested agencies to submit a “status update indicating the date by which [the] agency plans to become interoperable via API.” This includes a “breakdown by component” for decentralized agencies with multiple components interoperable with the National Portal. The update is due by Wednesday, April 7. OIP will also be hosting a Q&A session over Webex on Wednesday, April 7 from 10-11 a.m. ET to answer agency questions.

Unsure where to start? Through FOIAXpress, AINS can provide the software, services, and guidance to fulfill the requirements set by OIP.

 

How to establish API interoperability

The OIP correspondence lists a number of guidelines for agencies looking to establish interoperability with the FOIA National Portal. Agencies will need to work with their system providers to create and test the API. Specifications are available on the FOIA.gov Developer Page. Additionally, agencies should appoint an Agency Manager to oversee the agency webpage and API fields in FOIA.gov. OIP Attorney Advisor Karen Hopkins is available to facilitate new Agency Manager accounts and API testing.

Agencies can also refer to the updated Steps for Enabling API-based Submissions on the National FOIA Portal. With FOIAXpress, the process of configuring, testing, and deploying the API is handled by our expert team of implementation specialists.

 

Current customers of FOIAXpress

Current customers of FOIAXpress can achieve interoperability with the FOIA National Portal through the FOIAXpress Public Access Link (PAL). With a one-time setup fee, configuration of the API can be completed by our expert team in as few as one to two business days. If your agency requires custom fields for requesters, you will need to communicate these changes to DOJ. AINS can facilitate communication between the appropriate parties.

If your agency does not have PAL, please contact us to learn about costs and the configuration process. With PAL, agencies can offer a personalized, secure web portal for public FOIA requests. Beyond receiving and delivering records, PAL enables agencies to communicate with requesters, collect fees, and provide access to released documents in a public reading room in accordance with agency proactive disclosure guideline.

 

Future customers of FOIAXpress

Agencies without a plan to achieve interoperability with the FOIA National Portal can contact AINS for a consultation and demo of FOIAXpress and PAL. Our software leads the market in enabling fast and secure processing of FOIA requests. We can also connect your agency with DOJ to establish a timeline and requirements for achieving interoperability with the National Portal.

 

AINS is working hard to make the transition to FOIA National Portal interoperability as painless as possible for our customers. If you have further questions or would like to receive a quote, please contact us at info@ains.com.