50 D.C. agencies, one FOIA portal

Gray opens FOIA portal giving access, taking information requests.
Gray opens FOIA portal giving access, taking information requests.
On July 21, 2014, DC Mayor Vincent Gray announced a new online system for processing requests under the District’s public records law.  The Mayor said in a statement the portal is intended to allow requesters to track their requests and to allow oversight of timeliness. Delays have been common in recent years, with 38% of requests answered late in 2013.  The Mayor said the system links now to 50 agencies, with more are expected beginning in October.  The new portal and associated request processing software is an adaptation of FOIAXpress, developed by AINS, a Gaithersburg, Md., firm, and adopted by other government agencies at local, state and federal level. The new portal is available at https://foia-dc.gov/palMain.aspx.
 
The Mayor also on July 21 issued an order to all District of Columbia government agencies to expand online information availability and report each year beginning this October on what they have done to improve “transparency, public participation and collaboration.”  Agencies’ data are to be made available through a common online D.C. Data Catalogue and the Mayor ordered each agency within six months to identify three new “high value data sets” to be made public.  A Chief Data Officer, a new post within the Office of Chief Technology Officer, will oversee the new open data program and the Mayor also promised to appoint a new Open Government Advisory Group to evaluate progress and report on it publicly.