From the Center for Effective Government:
The Center for Effective Government released its second annual access to information scorecard [on Tuesday, March 10, 2015], grading the 15 key agencies that receive the most public information requests. The findings: eight out of the 15 agencies improved their overall grades from last year, but none earned an overall A grade. While the number of agencies with overall failing grades fell from five to two, another eight received “unsatisfactory” D grades.
Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2015 measures three areas of performance for the 15 federal agencies that received 90 percent of FOIA requests: agency rules for processing information; FOIA websites that are easy to use, updated regularly, and provide information people want; and speed and responsiveness in handling information requests.
Eight out of 15 agencies improved their overall score this year, and in each of the three performance areas, more agencies received the highest marks (A) this year than last year. But only two agencies improved their FOIA policy guidelines, and processing scores actually declined in eight agencies. Consistency is elusive.
The Social Security Administration remains a top performer, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture moved up to first place. Four agencies did improve their processing scores somewhat, but website improvements accounted for the largest score increases.
- A majority of agencies – eight – improved their overall scores from last year. Performance at most agencies is moving in the right direction.
- More agencies received the highest grades possible (A) in each performance area than last year, with significant enhancements in websites, but timely request processing remains a challenge.
- The Department of Agriculture (USDA) was the top performer, with a B grade, and the Social Security Administration came in second with a B-.
- Despite these improvements, federal agencies are still struggling to effectively and consistently implement public disclosure rules.
- Ten of the 15 agencies did not earn satisfactory overall grades, scoring less than 70 out of a possible 100 points.
- The scores of five agencies – the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency – fell marginally.