Observations on a General Services Administration Report on the National Archives and Records Service

GGD-84-95: Published: Jul 31, 1984. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed a General Services Administration (GSA) report concerning managerial and programmatic problems existing at the National Archives and Records Service (NARS). The review evaluated major issues cited by the report which caused significant disagreement between the two agencies.

GAO commented on GSA criticism of NARS operations in its report which concerned: (1) problems in organizational planning; (2) failure to support preservation efforts; and (3) poorly planned automated systems and equipment acquisitions. GAO supports the GSA recommendation urging NARS to revise its planning process and management plan to develop a more systematic management approach, but it does not agree that NARS should be reorganized into an independent agency until such a plan is acted upon by Congress. GAO also noted that, although NARS has in the past experienced difficulty in effectively preserving records, the agency appears to be in a better position to address this problem and it is currently carrying out plans for corrective action. Concerning acquisitions, NARS has taken effective actions, with some shortcomings pointed out by GSA, to deal with this challenge. GAO concluded that NARS is already making a serious effort to address many of the problems revealed in the GSA report.

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