GAO: Electronic Records Archive needs acquisition help

GAO: Electronic Records Archive needs acquisition help

The National Archives and Records Administration's most important project, the Electronic Records Archive, is moving in the right direction in almost every area except procurement.

The Government Accountability Office yesterday released a report praising NARA's progress. But GAO reiterated that officials have not set up policies to manage the acquisition successfully.

The auditors said NARA has fully addressed four and partially addressed three other problems found in previous audits. It failed to incorporate industry best practices into the acquisition strategy and did not set up a process to correct deficiencies identified by independent auditors, GAO said.

'NARA has not established a process to ensure the weaknesses identified in these reviews were addressed and incorporated into subsequent versions,' auditors said. 'Making acquisition policies and plans compliant before contract award is important to ensure that the agency has the information it needs to manage the acquisition and the contractors have adequate information on which to base the design.'

GAO recommended that NARA design a process to ensure that the problems found in independent verification and validation reviews are resolved in the acquisition plans.

Archivist John Carlin responded to GAO's criticism, saying that five of the ERA procurement documents do comply with industry best practices. He said NARA is hiring an employee to oversee quality assurance for the documents.

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