Expand Federal Agency’s Workflow Management Platform (WMOP) to better accommodate and fulfill FOIA requests
BOSSTECH’s client had a large, but unquantified, backlog of FOIA requests and an average – and unacceptably slow – fulfillment time of 120 days per request.
Faced with scaling a manual, human, paper-driven process, the client needed a capacity expansion/productivity solution for its workflow management platform, enabling it to receive, track, and fulfill FOIA requests more efficiently and effectively. The solution needed to conform to a core set of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements for managing FOIA requests and to support numerous distributed offices, each with its own unique business rules. The project also needed to be completed on budget and within a 12-week timeframe.
The BOSSTECH Solution
Our team first reviewed OMB reporting requirements and business processes with the client’s leadership. Then, BOSSTECH’s FOIA process experts and architects focused on designing and implementing a simple and intuitive solution for managing work processes, while also comprehensively capturing the complex data necessary to generate annual reports.
The solution BOSSTECH delivered supported all aspects of the FOIA process, including redaction; exemption tracking; letter generation; fee tracking; invoice generation, and appeals tracking. At every point in the process, events were automatically captured to enable accurate reporting and ease of use. Solution training was conducted both in the classroom and online.
The solution enabled the client to discover that the backlog of FOIA requests was just over 8,000. This awareness allowed leadership to prioritize resources to reduce the backlog in accordance with White House and departmental policies for Open Government. Additionally, the process we delivered is holistically electronic, rather than paper-based and less prone to human error. It also is readily reportable and visible. These qualities made it easier to change or improve the workflow globally via software, instead of through interdepartmental coordination and policy mandate.
The solution reduced the average time required to close a case to fewer than 20 days and has enabled the agency to reduce its backlog from 8,000 to 1,000—a 66% reduction. The client also was empowered to:
- Reduce its subsequent year pending FOIA initial requests by 49% compared to the prior year
- Process 91% of the year’s FOIA initial requests, even as it received 16,000 more requests that year (compared to previous year)
- Process 89% of end-of-FY total pending FOIA initial requests
- Reduce end-of-year, total pending FOIA appeals by 79% compared to prior year
BOSSTECH’s success with this client led to expanded FOIA project work with the federal government.