WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales submitted to President Bush today the Department’s report regarding the government-wide administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Today’s report (pdf) is the result of the first of three Justice Department reviews required under Executive Order 13392 titled, “Improving Agency Disclosure of Information.”
The executive order, signed by the President on Dec.14, 2005, directs agencies to ensure citizen-centered and results-oriented agency FOIA operations. The order directed federal agencies to develop and implement plans in order to improve the performance of their FOIA programs. The order also established, for the first time ever, a Chief FOIA Officer for every agency, FOIA requester service centers and FOIA public liaisons.
Today’s report noted that all 91 federal agencies subject to the FOIA have prepared improvement plans, have refined them wherever necessary, and have posted them on their Web sites for public review. It found that the combined efforts of thousands of FOIA personnel to implement the executive order to date “already have yielded significant results.”
The report also made several recommendations, including holding a follow-up meeting for all Chief FOIA Officers; having agencies review all of their standard forms and correspondence formats used for FOIA purposes; and enhancing the use of technology for FOIA administration through a new government-wide technology initiative.
The next report is due to the President by June 1, 2007, after agencies report the successes of the first stage of their improvement plan implementation by Feb.1, 2007.