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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Summary Improvement Areas by Year With Select Action Items

2006

I. Improvement Areas Anticipated to be Completed by December 31, 2006

A. Improve Communications with Requesters.

1) Outreach to Requester Community and Solicitation of Input.

  • Chief FOIA Officer will hold public forum with requester community after consultation with FOIA Liaison.
  • Possibly deploy electronic suggestion box for requester community and DOL agencies.

2) Acknowledgement Letters

  • Chief FOIA Officer will prepare and distribute standardized acknowledgment letters.
  • All agencies will distribute and utilize or adopt the new acknowledgment letter.

B. Improve Web Presence and Proactive Disclosure

1) Improve DOL FOIA Web site

  • Evaluate DOL and agency FOIA Web site.

2) Required Affirmative Disclosure

  • Agencies will develop and submit to the Chief FOIA Officer a plan for improving their required affirmative disclosure of information.

3) Proactive Disclosure

  • Agencies will identify and develop a plan for the posting of classes of documents not legally required to be disclosed but that could be disclosed proactively.

C. Improve FOIA Tracking and Control

1) Review

  • Chief FOIA Officer will convene a working group including stakeholding agencies to review the issue.
  • FOIA working group will review tracking tools and identify agency needs and requirements.

D. Increase use of Technology in FOIA Processing

1) Review

  • Each agency is to review its current use of technology for FOIA processing.

2) Implementation

  • Each agency is to increase the use of technologies identified in its study to the extent permissible with available resources.

3) Report

  • Each agency is to report its findings to the Chief FOIA Officer.

E. Encourage and Improve Multi-track processing and Expedited Processing

1) Review

  • Each agency will review its multi-track processing and its handling of expedited requests.

2) Report

  • Each agency will report to the Chief FOIA Officer the results of the study and outline any proposed changes in its processes.

3) Implementation

  • To the extent changes can be made during CY 2006, each agency will make the appropriate changes to its processes to increase the use of multi-tracking and increase its efficiency in handling expedited requests.

F. Increase Appeals Capacity, Backlog Reduction and Improve Timeliness

1) Initial Requests

  • The Chief FOIA Officer will develop a standard definition of "backlog" and a template for reporting backlogs.
  • Each agency will develop and implement a backlog monitoring system and report the implementation to the Chief FOIA Officer.

2) Appeals

  • By December 31, 2006, the number of appeals completed and closed will increase 61 percent over the 2005 baseline.
  • By the end of CY 2006 the Chief FOIA Officer will assess the progress made and determine whether additional measures are needed.

G. Enhance Staff Expertise and Training

1) Formal Training and Meetings

a) Review

  • The Chief FOIA Officer will convene meetings of the Service Center Staff to ascertain training needs and share best practices.

b) Report

  • The Chief FOIA Officer will compile and disseminate a catalog of available training materials.

c) Implementation

  • Agencies will seek appropriate training to further augment the skill and expertise of its FOIA staff.

2) Make Resource Material More Readily Available

  • Agencies will make resource material such as the DOJ FOIA guide available to all FOIA staff electronically.

2007

II. Improvement Areas Anticipated to be Completed by December 31, 2007

A. Improve Communications with Requesters

1) Outreach to Requester Community and Solicitation of Input.

  • Chief FOIA Officer will prepare for inclusion in the FOIA Annual Report for 2006 an analysis of the agencies efforts to implement changes recommended by the requester community.
  • Agencies will assess and continue to take such actions as appropriate to implement changes suggested by the requester community.

2) Communications Practices with Requesters

  • Chief FOIA Officer will review agency communication practices and determine if further steps are needed to improve communications with requesters.
  • All agencies will implement the recommended improvements.

B. Improve Web Presence and Proactive Disclosure

1) Improve DOL FOIA Web site

  • Chief FOIA Officer will develop a plan to implement the needed improvements.

2) Required Affirmative Disclosure

  • Agencies will submit a report to the Chief FOIA Officer on their progress in implementing their improvement plan.
  • Agencies will discuss their plans with the Chief FOIA Officer, make any adjustments, and implement the plan.
  • Proactive Disclosure
    • Agencies will implement their plan of improvement and communicate their progress to the Chief FOIA Officer and the Public Liaison.

C. Improve FOIA Tracking and Control

  • Working group will develop a plan on inadequacies, improvements, and needed changes and report it to the Chief FOIA Officer.
  • Chief FOIA Officer will present the plan of improvement to the appropriate Department officials for action and implementation as appropriate.
  • Chief FOIA Officer will reconvene the working group and review the plan and its execution and cure any persistent inadequacies.
  • Working group will develop a report to the Chief FOIA Officer identifying inadequacies and areas of improvement.
  • Consider Department wide implementation.

D. Increase use of Technology in FOIA Processing

  • Agencies will consider whether existing resources will allow further automation of the processes identified in the report.
  • Agencies shall continue to develop and deploy their improvement plan and report the results to the Chief FOIA Officer.

E. Encourage and Improve Multi-track Processing and Expedited Processing

  • Agencies should continue to implement their improvement plans and establish mechanisms for quality control to assure changes are maintained and modified as needed.

F. Increase Appeals Capacity, Backlog Reduction and Improve Timeliness

1) Initial Requests

  • Agencies shall report backlogs, if any, to the Chief FOIA Officer semi-annually.

2) Appeals

  • By December 31, 2007, the number of appeals completed and closed will increase 93 percent over the 2005 baseline.
  • The Chief FOIA Officer will reassess the backlog reduction and determine if additional measures are needed.

G. Enhance Staff Expertise and Training

1) Formal Training and Meetings.

  • Agencies will develop, implement, and transmit to the Chief FOIA Officer a plan ensuring that 100 percent of FOIA staff is provided an opportunity to receive training.

Beyond 2007

III. Improvement Areas to Continue Beyond December 31, 2007

Improvement Areas to Continue Beyond December 31, 2007

A. Improve Communications with Requesters

1) Outreach to Requester Community and Solicitation of Input

  • Agencies shall continue to improve communications based on the requester community feedback.
  • Chief FOIA Officer will include in the FOIA Annual Report for 2007 a report on the agency's response to input by the requester community.

B. Improve Web Presence and Proactive Disclosure

1) Improve DOL FOIA Web site

  • FOIA Web site review and improvements will continue.

2) Required Affirmative Disclosure

  • Agencies will continue to make further appropriate adjustments to their affirmative disclosure improvement plans.

3) Proactive Disclosure

  • Each succeeding year, agencies shall continue to identify documents eligible for proactive disclosure and report such activities to the Chief FOIA Officer.
  • Continue to dynamically adjust agency plans in consultation with the Chief FOIA Officer.

E. Encourage and Improve Multi-track Processing and Expedited Processing

  • Agencies will continue to deploy changes and implement a quality control mechanism.

C. Increase Appeals Capacity, Backlog Reduction and Improve Timeliness

1) Initial Requests

  • Each agency shall continue to report to the Chief FOIA Officer on its backlog, if any.

2) Appeals

  • Backlog reduction will continue in 2008 and beyond.

D. Enhance Staff Expertise and Training

  • Refresher courses will be offered continuously and new staff will receive appropriate training.
  • Agencies will report the results of their training activities to the Chief FOIA Officer.
  • The Chief FOIA Officer will continue to hold bi-annual "lessons learned and best practices" meetings.

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