[The Policy Lass storytells her own experience with FOIs.]
When reflecting on my own experience with FOIs, the request is received, is processed first by the mail room as all correspondence is, and then it goes to the FOI office, where it is handled by their admin support, and then assigned to the FOI officer, who reviews it. At the same time, it is sent to the department where I work, and is handled by another admin person, and then sent to me. I read it, and then I meet with our data people to see what is available, and then I meet with the FOI officer and we sort through the request and determine what is easily at hand and what is in archives or storage, and estimate how much time it will take to retrieve it or create the data, etc. Then the FOI officer does work to reply to the applicant and convey the information, and once their response is received (in case there are added costs etc) the response is one again handled by the mail room, the admin support, and it goes to the FOI officer who oversees the process and then to me to actually collect the data and send it to the FOI officer. Then it is sent out. The request is then annotated and becomes part of the record. It is reviewed at some later point in time as part of the year end review and reporting.