Federal News Radio reports here on the federal government’s processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Federal agencies processed more than 631,000 requests for government records under the Freedom of Information Act in fiscal 2011, 5 percent more than the year before. But the number of backlogged requests government-wide nonetheless shot up from less than 70,000 to more than 83,000.

The growing backlog is due in part to a significant increase in the number of FOIA requests sent to agencies in 2011. Submissions went from 597,000 in 2010 to 644,000 in 2011, an 8 percent increase. While the government as a whole dedicated 9 percent more full-time staff to FOIA processing and spent almost $20 million more on FOIA-related activities than the year before, backlogged requests nonetheless grew by 20 percent.

How bad is the backlog?

The government’s oldest pending FOIA request, to the National Archives and Records Administration, dates back to 1992. DoD also has several pending requests dating to the 1990s. And 15 more agencies still are processing requests that are at least a decade old.