Insight

Efficiently handling Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

The demands of FOIA requests require a skilled workforce, improved processes, and technology

Kenneth Koch

Kenneth Koch

Principal, Forensic, KPMG US

+1 404-614-8658

Over the past decade, the number of FOIA requests has increased significantly—in 2020 alone, federal agencies received nearly 791,000 FOIA requests, an increase from 651,000 requests per year in 2012, causing a FOIA backlog at many agencies.1 Paired with constraints imposed by response times that are sometimes as short as 20 days, this increase has burdened agencies that lack the manpower and technology resources to quickly and efficiently respond to FOIA requests. Failing to adequately respond to a FOIA request often results in costly litigation that can drag out for years.

Agencies are seeking outside resources and integrating technology to help solve their FOIA problem. Yet, having people to analyze and respond to FOIA requests only solves some of the problem; many agencies also lack supporting processes and mechanisms to help improve FOIA response, including clearly defined workflows, robust training, new and emerging technology solutions, and interconnected systems.

Responding to the growing demands of FOIA requests requires not only a skilled workforce but also improved processes and technology. Timely and effective response to FOIA requests requires resources with both FOIA and agency-specific knowledge and experience with transformation of the FOIA lifecycle.

Our understanding of FOIA requirements, the federal government, and technology solutions, coupled with our focus on client service and quality, allows KPMG to help clients improve their entire FOIA request process.

Explore approaches agencies can take to clear the backlog and avoid costly litigation in our publication.


 

Footnotes

  1. Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., Summary of Annual FOIA Reports for Fiscal Year 2020, (accessed on October 11, 2016)