6.5 Office of Government Information Services
The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) opened at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in September 2009. Amendments to the FOIA signed by President Obama on June 30, 2016 expand OGIS’s role in providing mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes between requesters and federal agencies, reviewing agencies’ policies, procedures and compliance under FOIA, and identifying policies and procedures for improving compliance with FOIA.
OGIS will continue to provide leadership and administrative support to the FOIA Advisory Committee. NARA established the FOIA Advisory Committee in May 2014 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to support the Administration’s goal to modernize the administration of FOIA in the second United States Open Government National Action Plan. The Committee brings together agency FOIA professionals and requesters to collaborate on recommendations to improve FOIA administration and proactive disclosure. In order to build on the improvements in the administration of FOIA since 2009, the White House charged the Committee during its second term to look broadly at the challenges that agency FOIA programs will face in light of an ever-increasing volume of electronic records, and chart a course for how FOIA should operate in the future.
As the Federal FOIA Ombudsman, OGIS works to improve understanding of the FOIA process and acts as a resource for FOIA requesters and federal agencies. As part of the commitments in the third United States Open Government National Action Plan, OGIS will work with other NARA offices to develop tools to teach students about FOIA, drawing upon real-world examples to foster democracy and explain how the public can use FOIA to learn more about the government’s actions. OGIS will seek partnerships with outside educational and library organizations to create and promote standards-compatible curriculum resources that teachers can use in government, history, or civics classes. All developed resources will be posted online.
To further improve public understanding of the FOIA process, OGIS will work with the Department of Justice to develop standards for agency FOIA web pages. As part of this effort, OGIS will assist in developing a template for key elements and encouraging all agencies to update their FOIA websites to be consistent, informative, and user-friendly.