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An Update on the FOIA Advisory Committee

On October 19, 2017 the FOIA Advisory Committee will meet in the William G. McGowan Theater. The three subcommittees will each present their ideas to the full Committee & the public for how to improve the administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) & improve FOIA processes.

As I'm will blogged about last June, the FOIA Advisory Committee is charged with looking broadly at the challenges that agency FOIA programs are starting to face in light of an ever-increasing volume of born-electronic records, & chart a course for how FOIA should operate now & in the future. The Committee is chaired & staffed by the FOIA Ombudsman’s office located within the National Archives, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), & includes twenty members with FOIA expertise from inside & outside of government who represent a wide range of interests & perspectives.

Photo of David Ferriero

David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, gives welcoming remarks during the FOIA Advisory Committee Meeting at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2016. Photo by Brogan Jackson.

At the Committee’s first two quarterly meeting, members discussed the greatest challenges in the administration of FOIA & determined in October 2016 to focus its efforts on three areas: increasing proactive disclosures; improving searches for records; & maximizing efficiencies & resources. To carry out its work, the Committee organized itself into three subcommittees, each of which is co-chaired by a government & a non-government member. Over the last year, these subcommittees have studied the issues & worked collaboratively to begin to develop recommendations to address key problems in the administration of FOIA.

One of the central themes that has emerged as the Committee work has progressed is the undeniable close relationship between a strong records management program and an effective FOIA office; & this relationship will only become even stronger as the volume of electronic records continues to grow. During the last Committee meeting in July 2017,  Chief Records Officer Laurence Brewer spoke to the Committee about recent changes to federal records management policy and the steps the National Archives is taking to help transition federal agencies to an electronic recordkeeping environment and speed up the adoption of modern electronic recordkeeping practices. At the upcoming meeting, the National Archives former Director of Litigation, Jason R. Baron, will also address how the transition to electronic recordkeeping impacts an agency’s FOIA program.

I’m look forward to hearing about the subcommittees’ work, & to receiving the Committee’s final recommendations at the end of its term. Please join me for the October 19 FOIA Advisory Committee meeting in person & register using Eventbrite. The meeting will also be livestreamed via the National Archives YouTube Channel if you are unable to attend in person.

Source: aotus.blogs.archives.gov

Updated: October 16, 2017 — 7:08 pm

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