View all text of Part 1171 [§ 1171.1 - § 1171.13]

§ 1171.7 - Timing of responses to requests.

(a) In general. The NEH customarily will respond to requests according to their order of receipt. In determining which records are responsive to a request, the NEH will include only those records in its possession as of the date it begins its search for records. If any other date is used, the NEH will inform the requester of that date.

(b) Timing for initial response. Ordinarily, the NEH will determine whether to grant or deny a request for records within twenty (20) days (weekends and Federal holidays excluded) of when the NEH receives a request.

(c) Tolling of time limits. The NEH may toll the 20-day time period to:

(1) Make one request for information it reasonably requests from the requester; or

(2) Clarify the applicability or amount of any fees, if necessary, with the requester.

(3) Under paragraphs (c)(1) or (2) of this section, the tolling period ends upon the NEH's receipt of the information or clarification from the requester.

(d) Unusual circumstances. (1) When the NEH cannot meet the statutory time limits for processing a request because of unusual circumstances as defined in the FOIA, the NEH may extend the response time as follows:

(i) If the extension will be for ten (10) or fewer working days (i.e., weekends and Federal holidays excluded), the NEH will notify the requester as soon as practicable in writing of the unusual circumstances and the expected response date; and

(ii) If the extension will be for more than ten (10) working days, the NEH will provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limit or to arrange an alternative time period to process the request or a modified request. To aid the requester, NEH shall make available its FOIA Public Liaison, who shall assist in the resolution of any disputes between the requester and the agency, and shall notify the requester of his or her right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services.

(2) If the NEH reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, the NEH may aggregate the requests. The NEH will not aggregate multiple requests involving unrelated matters.

(e) Expedited processing. (1) The NEH will process requests and appeals on an expedited basis whenever it determines that they involve:

(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or

(ii) An urgency to inform the public about actual or alleged Federal government activity if the expedited processing request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.

(2) A requester may seek expedited processing at the time of the requester's initial request for records or at any later time.

(3) To request expedited processing, a requester must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct to the requester's best knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing.

(4) Within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of a request for expedited processing, the NEH will decide whether to grant it and will notify the requester of the decision. If the NEH grants a request for expedited processing, the NEH will place the request in the expedited processing track and then process the request as soon as practicable. If the NEH denies a request for expedited processing, the NEH will act upon any appeal of that decision expeditiously.

[79 FR 9415, Feb. 19, 2014, as amended at 82 FR 45, Jan. 3, 2017]