Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)
2019 – present
Productivity and Public Sector Data Measurement and Analysis
The Assessing Information Disclosure Practices for FOI (AID-FOI) Compliance Tool, implemented by the Freedom of Information-Project Management Office (FOI-PMO), is an instrument that assists in the assessment of whether a government agency possesses the necessary critical elements to perform the proactive disclosure of open agency data required for FOI compliance.
Background and Problem
Despite the significant efforts of the FOI-PMO to increase awareness of and compliance with Executive Order (EO) No. 2, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2016, its impact has remained limited. Only a small number of citizens invoke the law to access information, and agency response has been lethargic despite the inclusion of FOI compliance as a basis for performance-based bonuses.
Solution and Impact
The Assessing Information Disclosure Practices for FOI (AID-FOI) Compliance Tool was crafted as a means to address the keys to FOI compliance: improved data management systems and processes, properly trained people, and quality leadership. The tool was developed as part of a research project funded by HIVOS, a development organization with headquarters in the Netherlands, and implemented by Step Up Consulting, a social enterprise based in the Philippines.
The AID-FOI Compliance Tool determines the capacity and performance of agencies in complying with FOI regulations and fulfilling information requests. This tool draws heavily from the work of the Carter Center’s Rule of Law Program that specifies a set of indicators to assess FOI implementation. Transformed into verifiable indicators in the AID-FOI questionnaire, these indicators include the following key essential components:
- Leadership: High-level leadership engagement in the development and oversight of the implementation of necessary policies and procedures, development of systems, and application of resources.
- Rules: Binding instructions, mandated actions, or standard operating procedures that serve to ordain the necessary response of public officials in handling various access to information regime functions.
- Systems: Formal and informal processes by which an agency functions and applies rules and procedures.
- Resources: Human, financial, and infrastructure resources that are needed to implement access fully and effectively to information legislation.
- Monitoring: Identify advances and deficits and allow for necessary modifications and corrections for better establishment of rules, allocation of resources, and system adjustments.
As of January 2019, a total of 109 government agencies have submitted their accomplished AID-FOI Tool. And since July 2019, the FOI-PMO has been actively engaging agency FOI Receiving Officers (FROs) to endorse the use of the tool in assessing their systems, to teach the values and practices of information disclosure, to help others identify weaknesses in their data disclosure practices, and to provide feedback on their FOI implementation.
The FOI-PMO, in cooperation with Step Up Consulting, has also conducted research on FOI compliance and the use of the AID-FOI tool by a number of large agencies. The research has also published case studies for DPWH, DOTR, and DOH, based on their participation in the study. In October 2020, the research team published their finalized AID FOI Tool and in May 2021, they also published their final report.
FOI Research Team conducts forward planning with the FOI Project Management Office of
the PCOO last March 2019 at Astoria Greenbelt, Makati, Philippines. (Source: PCOO)
Michael Canares, FOI Research Lead presents the initial findings of the FOI research in the
2019 FOI Midyear Conference held at Jen Hotel, Manila, on 26 June 2019. (Source: PCOO)
The research team conducted a validation workshop with pilot agencies for the FOI Research
Project last 14 June 2019 at the B Hotel in Quezon City. (Source: PCOO)
Since July 2019, FOI-PMO conducts FOI Receiving Officers’ (FROs)’ Hangout to convene agency FROs to discuss and provide feedback on FOI implementation. (Source: PCOO)
Mr. Michael Canares, FOI research lead facilitated the session on “Assessing Information Disclosure Practices”, using the experience of the Philippines in using the Assessing Information Disclosure Practices for FOI Compliance (AID-FOI Tool). (Source: PCOO)
Canares, M. (2020, February 18). FOI research team presents in annual FOI Summit. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2019/12/17/foi-research-team-presents-in-annual-foi-summit/.
Canares, M. (2020, May 6). Research team publishes Department of Transportation Case Study on FOI. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2020/05/06/research-team-publishes-department-of-transportation-case-study-on-foi/.
Canares, M. (2019, October 14). Research team conducts validation workshop with pilot agencies. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2019/06/30/research-team-conducts-validation-workshop-with-pilot-agencies/.
Canares, M. (2020, March 23). DPWH case study on FOI. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2020/03/23/dpwh-case-study-on-foi/.
Canares, M. (2020, May 11). How is the Philippines’ Department of Health providing access to contracting data? Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2020/05/11/how-is-the-philippines-department-of-health-providing-public-access-to-contracting-data/.
Canares, M. (2020, October 19). FOI research team publishes aid FOI Tool. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2020/10/19/foi-research-team-publishes-aid-foi-tool/.
Canares, M. (2021, May 7). FOI Research Team publishes final report. Increasing People’s Access to Public Contracting Information Through the FOI Program. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://foi-research.com/2021/05/07/foi-research-team-publishes-final-report/.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (2019). 2018/19 Freedom of Information (FOI) annual report: making waves as the cornerstone of democracy
Presidential Communications Operations Office (n.d.). Assessing information disclosure practices for FOI compliance (AID-FOI Tool).