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VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVISORY COUNCIL
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

FOIA Rights & Responsibilities

The FOIA Council has developed a model template that can be used, with some modification, by any agency or locality in developing and posting this policy statement. The changes and additions that will need to be made by each agency or locality include:

  • Making the document specific to the agency or locality. The template refers generically to "the Department." A specific agency or locality name would need to be inserted in its place.
  • The new law requires that all public bodies subject to FOIA provide the name and contact information of a FOIA officer, or officers, designated to assist requesters, and to whom FOIA requests can be sent. Space has been provided on the template for this information to be filled in.
  • An agency may also wish to amend any other provisions of the template to more accurately reflect it's policies concerning FOIA requests. For example, an agency may have an existing policy to only charge a requester for records if the cost of the request exceeds $15. In that case, the agency would want to amend the section of the template addressing costs to capture this agency-specific policy.

Model Rights & Responsibilities Template

Staff of the FOIA Council will be happy to assist any agency in adapting this template to reflect its particular policies and commonly-used exemptions. Please contact the FOIA Council at (804) 225-3056, [toll free] 1-866-448-4100, or at foiacouncil@dls.virginia.gov to set up an appointment.

Note: Prior to July 1, 2016 the requirement to post a rights & responsibilities statement only applied to executive branch state agencies. As of July 1, 2016, the requirement to post a rights & responsibilities statement applies to all state agencies subject to FOIA, as well as any county or city, and any town with a population greater than 250.

Additionally, please note that effective July 1, 2016 all state and local public bodies subject to FOIA must post the name and contact information of the public body's FOIA officer(s). This requirement is set out separately from the requirement to post a rights & responsibilities statement. Reading these provisions together, all public bodies subject to FOIA must post the name and contact information of their FOIA officer(s), but only state agencies, counties, cities, and towns with a population greater than 250 are required to post a rights & responsibilities statement. Please note that the rights & responsibilities template provided here contains all the information necessary to satisfy both requirements. Any public body is welcome to use this template, even if the public body is one that is not required to post the rights & responsibilities statement.

This Model Template has been updated to reflect changes in the law effective July 1, 2016.

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