domingo, 30 de octubre de 2016

HHS Takes Steps to Improve Transparency with New FOIA Regulations

Dept. of Health & Human Services

HHS Takes Steps to Improve Transparency with New FOIA Regulations

Today, HHS published updated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Regulations in an effort to bring the Department’s FOIA process into the 21st Century and improve the transparency of government records for news media and the public. The HHS FOIA Regulations were last updated in November 1988 – yes, 28 years ago; needless to say, we were due for an upgrade. As the Chief FOIA Officer of HHS, it is important to me to continue to improve operational efficiency of the FOIA department, and to help ensure the public’s right to information about their government.
Of 100 executive branch agencies, HHS receives the fourth largest volume of annual FOIA requests in the federal government. (In FY 2016, HHS received 34,232 FOIA requests).  In 2009, our department was ranked near the bottom among federal agencies in both the backlog of overdue FOIA requests and in average response time. We knew we had to improve.
Thanks to the tireless work of the HHS team and the career staff who run the program on a day-to-day basis, particularly FOIA Division Director Michael Marquis and Deputy Agency Chief FOIA Officer Catherine Teti, we have significantly improved our FOIA program during this Administration – responding faster and reducing the number of pending requests. We have reduced the Department’s backlog of FOIA requests by 77 percent, from 19,351 at the end of fiscal year 2008 to 4,519 at the end of fiscal year 2016. Each request requires hours of staff time and a close attention to detail to make sure we process every FOIA application as quickly as possible and completely.
READ MORE: HHS Takes Steps to Improve Transparency with New FOIA Regulations
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