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Section III: Steps Taken to Increase Proactive Disclosures

Both the President and Attorney General focused on the need for agencies to work proactively to post information online without waiting for individual requests to be received.

Please answer the following questions to describe the steps your agency has taken to increase the amount of material that is available on your agency websites. In addition to the questions below, you should also describe any additional steps taken by your agency to make and improve proactive disclosures of information.

Posting Material:

  1. Does your agency have a distinct process or system in place to identify records for proactive disclosure? If so, please describe your agency’s process or system.

    Yes.  The Department employs a number of ways to identify records for proactive disclosure.  OpDivs frequently utilize a threshold of three to five requests for the same information to identify records of substantial public interest, either through manually tracking FOIA requests or from identifying requests for the same records from an electronic tracking system.  Additionally, information is gathered from program areas and offices regarding significant policy documents that may be candidates for proactive disclosure.  Public affairs and communications staff also provide input and suggestions regarding agency records that may be proactively disclosed.

  2. Does your process or system involve any collaboration with agency staff outside the FOIA office? If so, describe this interaction.

    Yes.  As referenced and described in the response above, interaction with and input from non-FOIA staff regarding agency records that should be proactively disclosed is a key part of the process.  Some examples include working with agency contract and acquisition staff, to identify high visibility contracts that can be publicly released, after review and redaction by the FOIA staff.  Regularly scheduled meetings with public affairs and public communications staff present opportunities to discuss topics for potential proactive disclosures.

  3. Describe your agency’s process or system for identifying “frequently requested” records that should be posted online.

    OpDivs use a threshold of three to five requests for the same information to identify records of substantial public interest, either through manually tracking FOIA requests or from identifying requests for the same records from an electronic tracking system.

  4. Provide examples of material that your agency has proactively disclosed during the past reporting year, including links to the posted material.

    ACF has posted information regarding unaccompanied children immigrating into the United States, and also posted a link to grants information: 




    https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/grants/monitoring/intro-to-monitoring.html  and listed links

    CDC’s reading room contains information concerning credit card holders and other information that is frequently requested, at the following link:


    CMS publicly posts a wide variety of data, statistics and general information pertaining to Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, as referenced by some examples below:







    FDA has a substantial internet presence, with databases, records, and other resources available to the public.  FDA posts data sets, such as http://govdashboard.fda.gov/, which relate to inspections, compliance and recalls.  This dynamic online tool presents information in an easy-to-read graphical format.  It provides access to the underlying data, allowing the public to see related data and trends. Users can also view, download and manipulate the data.

    FDA also continues to post the following records, among others:

    Other Initiatives:

  5. If there are any other steps your agency has taken to increase proactive disclosures, please describe them here.

    Proactive disclosure is an ongoing topic at the Department and is discussed at FOIA training sessions and with program staff who are charged with responding to FOIA requests.

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Content created by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division
Content last reviewed on March 13, 2015