FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: ICYMI, FOIA initiatives included in National Action Plan

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

This week, the United States released its third National Action Plan, which includes 45 commitments to advance transparency, accountability, participation and/or technological innovations.  Among these commitments are a number of FOIA initiatives, which are summarized below.

Expand the Services Offered on FOIA.gov.  Additional new features will also be explored, including a guided request tool, online tracking of request status, simplified reporting methods for agencies, improved FOIA contact information, and tools that will enhance the public’s ability to locate already posted information.

● Improve Agency Proactive Disclosures by Posting FOIA-Released Records Online.  The Department of Justice will lead a pilot program with seven agencies to test the feasibility of posting FOIA-released records online so that they are available to the public. 

● Improve Agency FOIA Websites.  The Administration will issue guidance and create best practices for agency FOIA web pages, including developing a template for key elements to encourage all agencies to update their FOIA websites to be consistent, informative, and user-friendly.

● Increase Understanding of FOIA.  The National Archives will develop tools to teach students about FOIA. 

Proactively Release Nonprofit Tax Filings.  The Internal Revenue Service will launch a new process that will remove personally identifiable information before releasing the public information within electronically filed nonprofit tax filings.