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FOIA & Privacy

Overview

Panum brings first-hand experience processing FOIA requests (5 U.S.C. § 552) for federal agencies, providing this support to more than 10 agencies. Our understanding of the FOIA/PA and the capability to offer FOIA/PA processing can best be demonstrated by the broad nature of FOIA/PA services Panum offers. These services require our FOIA professionals to not only perform the routine tasks required by cradle-to-grave FOIA processing, from intake to response, but apply in-depth processing skills.

 

Panum’s Legal Services experts are trained to deliver comprehensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Privacy Act (PA), and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) support to federal agencies. Panum’s cadre of attorneys and other experienced analysts employ proven FOIA processing techniques, while adhering to agency FOIA policies. Our experts utilize widely accepted processing and case tracking tools, including FOIAXpress and FOIAonline, to assist agencies in successfully implementing actions necessary to further their desire for program transparency.

Capabilities

Capturing key elements of FOIA requests


  • Appropriately scoping requests to determine responsiveness.
  • Properly assessing requester fee categories, fee waiver issues, request type (simple versus complex) and salient legal issues which may affect processing.
  • Appropriately referring requests to appropriate agency program offices or divisions.




Providing proactive, consistent, and courteous customer service


  • The ability to identify complex and sensitive requests early in the processing lifecycle and manage them accordingly.
  • Assisting requesters in news media, academia, the legal community, industry and the general public in promptly responding to and resolving problems associated with submitted of FOIA requests.




Records Management


  • Working closely with agency SMEs and federal agency records officers, privacy officers, and IT staff at all levels in the development of System of Records Notices (SORNs), Privacy Act Impact Analyses, revisions of agency regulations and directives pertinent to the FOIA/PA and other statutory requirements.




Employing strong legal research and writing skills


Providing critical legal support in response to FOIA lawsuits, federal subpoenas, congressional inquiries, and discovery requests – In this age of increasing FOIA litigation, Panum’s FOIA analysts play a key role in the production of documents for FOIA lawsuits. Expert and timely processing of litigation records saves the government time and money by eliminating the need to spend appropriated funds on plaintiff’s attorney fees. Panum’s FOIA Analysts completed a litigation processing task at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and lead up the creation of a Vaughn Index, which ultimately settled a large FOIA lawsuit for the Bureau.




Process Improvement


  • The ability to manage large caseloads of simple and complex FOIA/PA requests and appeals and generating reports and statistical information.
  • The ability to generate periodic (including DOJ-required Quarterly Reports, Annual FOIA Report, and the Chief FOIA Officer’s Report) and ad hoc statistical reports, from proprietary FOIA/PA management platforms or using raw data.
  • Panum’s FOIA professionals process a wide range of FOIA requests at multiple federal agencies, at times performing cradle-to-grave processing and in other instances reviewing hundreds of thousands of agency records for release. Capturing component successes through periodic statistics-gathering and reporting assist FOIA offices measure their successes.




Professional Training


  • Developing and presenting comprehensive training for FOIA professionals, agency executives and SMEs - Panum trains executive-level, non-FOIA professionals at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration.




Legal Support


  • Providing critical legal support in response to FOIA lawsuits, federal subpoenas, congressional inquiries, and discovery requests.
  • Panum’s FOIA analysts play a key role in the production of documents for FOIA lawsuits.
  • Expert and timely processing of litigation records saves the government time and money by eliminating the need to spend appropriated funds on plaintiff’s attorney fees




Application of Federal Regulations


  • Applying the requirements and guidelines set forth by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).
  • Working with officials of these agencies regarding the interpretation of governing statutes and regulations.





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