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Lindsay Steel: DOJ, NARA, GSA Collaborate on Shared Standards to Improve FOIA Processes

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Lindsay Steel, chief of Freedom of Information Act compliance staff at the Department of Justice’s office of information policy, said DOJ and the National Archives and Records Administration are working with the General Services Administration to come up with shared business standards for FOIA to ensure compliance with FOIA’s processing requests and procedural requirements, Federal News Network reported Tuesday.

“It would also facilitate easier compliance with reporting obligations, along with improved data quality. It can also help agencies keep up with increasing requests and reducing backlogs, overall, facilitating better customer service for the public,” Steel said of those shared FOIA standards.

She said those tech standards could serve as an assessment tool and could aid agencies in their procurement of FOIA platforms. She noted that case management systems will be the initial focus area for the shared standards.

“We think this is a type of technology that is the most wide-ranging in terms of different agencies needing some type of case management tool,” Steel said. 

“This focus will allow us to define data requirements that support FOIA compliance and reporting, as well as defining workflows and perhaps some other functionality and baked-in logic that can help facilitate efficiency,” she added.