Government Agencies Need to Govern More to Address Backlogs for FOIA Requests: Information Governance Trends

This week’s post for IPRO’s blog discusses what to do about the challenges of growing backlogs for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which are growing even though many government agencies have fully digitized the data being sourced to respond to FOIA requests these days.          

Here are three examples that illustrate the trends for Federal government entities regarding FOIA requests:

  • Department of Defense: The DoD had 18,396 FOIA requests pending at the start of the 2020 fiscal year.  It received 54,023 requests during the course of the year, but only processed 50,006 requests, leaving 22,413 requests pending at the end of the fiscal year, almost 22% higher at the end of the year.
  • Food and Drug Administration: In the first nine months of the current 2021 fiscal year ending at the end of this month, the number of FOIA requests pending at the end of the month has grown from 3,532 in October 2020 to 4,100 in June 2021 – an increase of over 16% in just nine months.
  • Department of Justice: The average processing time for simple requests grew from 30.22 days in fiscal year 2018 to 39.30 days in fiscal year 2019 – an increase of over 30% and almost double the average time for fiscal year 2014 (20.51 days). 

So, what can Federal government entities do to address the growing FOIA backlogs?  And why do government agencies need to govern MORE?  Hint: it has to do with the word “govern”.  You can find out on IPRO’s blog here. 😉  It’s just one more click!


So, what do you think?  Does your organization have any growing backlogs to address for eDiscovery or information governance?   Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclosure: IPRO is an Educational Partner and sponsor of eDiscovery Today

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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