The General Accounting Office (GAO) recently reviewed how agencies are doing in implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The GAO looked at 25 agencies. These agencies processed about 2.3 million requests between 2000 and 2002.
Here is a quick summary of the GAO’s findings on implementation of the FOIA in these agencies:
• 88 percent of the requests received were granted in full. Governmentwide, these agencies reported spending approximately $283 million on FOIA activities and collected about $6 million in fees. These agencies also used about 4,900 full-time-equivalent employees for handling of FOIA requests.
• Agencies reported receiving and processing more requests for this time frame. But, when the Department of Veterans Affairs (which accounts for approximately 60 percent of the requests received and processed) is excluded, the total number of requests received and processed governmentwide decreased in this time period.
• Agencies also reported a decrease in the backlog of pending requests remaining at the end of each year.
• Of the FOIA requests processed, agencies granted or partially granted more requests each year.
• The number of FOIA requests denied governmentwide dropped dramatically between 2000 and 2001, and remained low in 2002.
The complete report is available from the link on the left hand side of this page. The report gives a breakdown of FOIA statistics for each agency reviewed for the study by the GAO.