45 CFR § 2507.5 - How does the Corporation process requests for records?

§ 2507.5 How does the Corporation process requests for records?

(a) Initial processing. Upon receipt of a request for agency records, the FOIA Officer will make an initial determination as to whether the requester has reasonably described the records being sought with sufficient specificity to determine which Corporation office may have possession of the requested records. The office head or his or her designees shall determine whether the description of the record(s) requested is sufficient to permit a determination as to existence, identification, and location. It is the responsibility of the FOIA Officer to provide guidance and assistance to the Corporation staff regarding all FOIA policies and procedures. All requests for records under the control and jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General will be forwarded to the Inspector General, through the FOIA Officer, for the Corporation's initial determination and reply to the requester.

(b) Insufficiently identified records. On making a determination that the description contained in the request does not reasonably describe the records being sought, the FOIA Officer shall promptly advise the requester in writing or by telephone if possible. The FOIA Officer shall provide the requester with appropriate assistance to help the requester provide any additional information which would better identify the record. The requester may submit an amended request providing the necessary additional identifying information. Receipt of an amended request shall start a new 20 day period in which the Corporation will respond to the request.

(c) Furnishing records. The Corporation is required to furnish only copies of what it has or can retrieve. It is not compelled to create new records or do statistical computations. For example, the Corporation is not required to write a new program so that a computer will print information in a special format. However, if the requested information is maintained in computerized form, and it is possible, without inconvenience or unreasonable burden, to produce the information on paper, the Corporation will do this if this is the only feasible way to respond to a request. The Corporation is not required to perform any research for the requester. The Corporation reserves the right to make a decision to conserve government resources and at the same time supply the records requested by consolidating information from various records rather than duplicating all of them. For example, if it requires less time and expense to provide a computer record as a paper printout rather than in an electronic medium, the Corporation will provide the printout. The Corporation is only required to furnish one copy of a record.

(d) Format of the disclosure of a record. The requester, not the Corporation, will be entitled to choose the form of disclosure when multiple forms of a record already exist. Any further request for a record to be disclosed in a new form or format will have to be considered by the Corporation, on a case-by-case basis, to determine whether the records are “readily reproducible” in that form or format with “reasonable efforts” on the part of the Corporation. The Corporation shall make reasonable efforts to maintain its records in forms or formats that are reproducible for purposes of replying to a FOIA request.

(e) Release of record. Upon receipt of a request specifically identifying existing Corporation records, the Corporation shall, within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays), either grant or deny the request in whole or in part, as provided in this section. Any notice of denial in whole or in part shall require the FOIA Officer to inform the requester of his/her right to appeal the denial, in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 2507.7. If the FOIA Officer determines that a request describes a requested record sufficiently to permit its identification, he/she shall make it available unless he/she determines, as appropriate, to withhold the record as being exempt from mandatory disclosure under the Act.

(f) Form and content of notice granting a request. The Corporation shall provide written notice of a determination to grant access within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of receipt of the request. This will be done either by providing a copy of the record to the requester or by making the record available for inspection at a reasonable time and place. If the record cannot be provided at the time of the initial response, the Corporation shall make such records available promptly. Records disclosed in part shall be marked or annotated to show both the amount and the location of the information deleted wherever practicable.

(g) Form and content of notice denying request. The Corporation shall notify the requester in writing of the denial of access within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of receipt of the request. Such notice shall include:

(1) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial;

(2) A brief statement of the reason(s) for denial, including the specific exemption(s) under the Act on which the Corporation has relied in denying each document that was requested;

(3) A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 2507.7, and a description of the requirements of that § 2507.7;

(4) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption.