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At OpenTheGovernment.org, we often highlight what’s missing or failing in the government’s efforts to create a more open government. One of the most common frustrations we hear from our partners and the public is the varied inefficiencies of FOIA—its delays, ever-growing backlogs, technical challenges, and more. These problems make it all the more important to call attention to the steps that are being made to remedy these frustrations, and allow the public’s voice to be heard.
The Office of Government and Information Services (OGIS) is FOIA’s ombudsman, acting as a “bridge” between the requester and an agency. OGIS has a second responsibility to provide recommendations to Congress on improvements to FOIA. It has done so on multiple occasions, despite some delays in the OMB approval process.
But did you know you can make a recommendation? OGIS wants your input for its recommendations, and they’ve provided a direct line for you to do so. If you have a recommendation for speeding up the process, improving FOIA’s efficiency, or making the user experience better, send it to OGIS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave comments and questions on the OGIS FOIA Ombudsman blog.
On FOIA’s birthday we noted that the law and its execution had reached a critical moment. By acting as an ombudsman and working to better the FOIA process, OGIS has given the public a louder voice in preserving and improving its access to government information.