Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Ombudsman Guidance
From the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) is the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ombudsman. In this role, we offer dispute resolution services to help resolve FOIA disputes; review agency FOIA policies, procedures, and compliance; and identify procedures and methods for improving FOIA compliance. Our guidance includes recommendations for improving the FOIA process and compliance with the statute and is non-binding on agencies and the public. Our guidance also provides information to help FOIA requesters make use of our dispute resolution services and better navigate the FOIA request process. In the list below, you can search, access, and read current FOIA ombudsman guidance. You can find additional resources, links to governing regulations, and more at the OGIS website.
Using the guidance table below:
- You can sort the guidance list by title, type of guidance, or date, etc.
- You can also search the list for specific terms that might be in the title, the topic, or the description, to help you find documents on a particular subject.
- If you are looking for cancelled / expired / superseded guidance, click the link below the Current Guidance list to go to the Cancelled Guidance page.
|Number||Date issued||Title||zRIN||General topic||Summary||Date posted to portal||Status||Date of status change|
|OGIS Advis Op 2018-01||07/18/2018||Agency Communication with Requesters||Communication issues||Advisory opinion directed towards agencies regarding communications with FOIA requesters.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Handbook 2017-01||07/09/1905||Request OGIS assistance||Dispute resolution services||Defines OGIS' mediation role and processes, outlines actions requesters must take before submitting a mediation request, what to submit, and what the dispute resolution process will entail.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Guidance 2017-01||08/18/2017||Flyer on how to request OGIS assistance with a FOIA issue or dispute||Dispute resolution services||Defines OGIS' mediation role and processes in a simple flyer format, outlines actions requesters must take before submitting a mediation request and what to submit.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Guidance 2011-02||02/25/2011||Agency Best Practices: Chart for Agencies (02/25/11)||Improving FOIA compliance||Identifies procedures and methods for improving agency FOIA compliance -- recommendations for agencies to better meet requirements contained in FOIA memoranda issued by the President and attorney general and the FOIA itself. Includes best practices for response time, tolling, fees, tracking, liaisons, OGIS interaction, website information, responding to requests, and more.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Guidance 2011-01||date unknown||Agency Best Practices: FOIA and Database Requests||Improving FOIA compliance||Identifies procedures and methods for improving agency FOIA compliance -- recommends actions for agencies so they can better respond to FOIA requests that involve databases.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Guidance 02||date unknown||Requester Best Practices: Filing a FOIA Request||Improving FOIA compliance||Identifies procedures and methods for improving FOIA compliance -- recommends considerations and steps for submitting FOIA requests that will better enable agencies to provide the requested records.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS FAQs 01||date unknown||FOIA Frequently Asked Questions||Improving FOIA compliance||Identifies procedures and methods for improving FOIA compliance -- provides tips on filing FOIA appeals, what records the FOIA covers, intersection with the Privacy Act, Vaughn index requirements, and agency destruction of records responses.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Handbook 02||date unknown||Mediation Program||Dispute resolution services||Describes, for agencies and FOIA requesters, OGIS' dispute resolution program, the mediation process, requesting dispute resolution services, sample response letter language for agencies, OGIS performance metrics, and OGIS mediation program response letters to mediation parties.||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Handbook 01||date unknown||FOIA Compliance Program||Improving FOIA compliance||Describes how OGIS reviews agency policies, procedures, and compliance. Describes the program and requirements for agencies, outlines OGIS' review methodology, and contains published agency compliance, targeted assessment, and self-assessment reports (which are regularly updated).||02/19/2020|
|OGIS Guidance 01||date unknown||Routine Uses||Dispute resolution services||Provides guidance on which agencies have routine uses that allow them to release FOIA request information to OGIS as part of OGIS' dispute resolution services. Explains to requesters that they do not need to submit a consent form to OGIS if their case is with one of these agencies.||02/19/2020|