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Updated Status Report on Executive Order 13392 Review Plan (2008)

To:

Clay Johnson, III
Chair
President's Management Council


From:

Christina H. Pearson
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs


Subject:

Updated Status Report on HHS FOIA Improvement Plan Deficiencies in Implementation of Executive Order 13392, “Improving Agency Disclosure of Information”

The HHS has now achieved all but one of the goals as established in its FOIA Improvement Plan. In accordance with the Attorney General’s recommendations, and guidance issued by the Department of Justice, the following is an updated status report on the HHS FOIA Improvement Plan deficiencies reported in the HHS FY 2007 Annual FOIA Report. Each deficiency is addressed within the area to which the deficiency milestone relates.

Improve Public Awareness

1. FOIA Improvement Plan area to which this deficient milestone relates.

Improve Public Awareness

2. Deficient milestone and the original target date from the FOIA Improvement Plan.

The FOI/Privacy Act Division, Office of the Secretary, was to develop and issue for public comment a revised HHS FOIA regulation. As stated in the HHS Updated Status Report of August 1, 2007, the anticipated publishing date was revised to January 2008.

3. Steps taken to correct the deficiency and the date by which the steps were completed.

There was a delay in this work, as discussed in previous reports, due to FOIA litigation and other administrative and operational FOIA processing workload.

These litigation, administrative, and operational demands have continued due to FOIA request processing, appeals, FOIA policy, and Privacy Act policy and Privacy Act request demands on the OS FRSC. Continuing review and modification is anticipated to be made to the initial draft, which was previously circulated Departmentwide for review. The changes will include documenting the possibility of the authorization of Office of the Secretary organizational components that have been serviced by the OS FRSC in the past to establish full-service FOIA Requester Service Centers in order to respond directly to FOIA requesters. For example, the Office of the Inspector General has now established its FOIA Requester Service Center which will, over time, decrease the workload demands on the FOI/Privacy Acts Division, which also serves as the OS FRSC.

4. Steps to be taken to correct the deficiency.

The work that remains to be done, therefore, includes additional review and editing of the draft, to include the additional significant changes necessitated by the Open Government Act of 2007.

Because of the significant changes to the FOIA effected by the recently-enacted legislation, the FOI/Privacy Acts Division must reissue the revised draft within HHS for a new, or second, round of review, comment, and clearances/approvals. Therefore, HHS will proceed to address the draft regulation, but achievement of the goal will require additional time such that September 30, 2010, is the anticipated completion date.