Archives begins charging agencies for services

The National Archives and Records Administration is the latest agency to begin charging other federal agencies for its services.

Beginning Oct. 1, the archives stopped providing agencies with records management services for free, and will instead require agencies to pay for the costs of storing, retrieving and disposing of their records.

David Weinberg, program manager for NARA's records center program, said he expects to collect $92 million in fiscal 2000 from other agencies. Agencies are required to obtain records management services from NARA until the end of fiscal 2002, at which time they can either stay with NARA or give their business to private companies, he said.

Increasingly, agencies are charging each other for their services. The General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management rely on fees from other agencies for many of their programs. Procurement offices, payroll servicing centers and other administrative offices throughout the government provide services to other agencies on a cost-reimbursable basis.

Jeanne Young, vice president of the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators, said one concern with NARA's records center program is the way it charges for its services. Currently, NARA charges a flat fee for its services, while many commercial records management companies vary their rates based on how many services customers request.

Weinberg said NARA plans to switch to the pricing structure used by private records management companies.

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