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Report on the Review of Acquisition Processes for Collections

December 2010

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Findings and Recommendations

3. Acquisition Policies and Procedures

3.1 Policies

LAC does not have an acquisition policy that provides a policy statement and guidelines on analogue and digital record acquisition. Such a policy would help specify the requirements and terms of use for:

  • the acquisition of materials on Aboriginal and multicultural communities in a manner consistent with the key directions established in the CDF;
  • accountability and gauging the results achieved based on the development of the collection;
  • oversight in major acquisitions;
  • incorporating risk management into the acquisition process.

However, the PGCP has implemented a policy on acquisitions and commissioned work that governs the portrait acquisition decision-making process. This policy provides an appropriate definition of the PGCP's mandate and contains a portrait acquisition policy statement and detailed guiding principles.

In addition, LAC has a policy on digital collection development. This policy is detailed and exhaustive, and contains a strategic framework, acquisition policy statement, guidelines on the selection and acquisition of websites, and implementation roles and responsibilities.

Recommendation 3.1

LAC should develop a policy on acquiring documents based on strategic directions, the accountability mechanism, the integration of risk management, and the roles and responsibilities in the acquisition process.

Management response

As part of the second Modernization Innovation Initiative, LAC will develop an evaluation and acquisition management framework aligned with strategic acquisition directions. The management framework on governance in the second initiative will address risk management and the accountability mechanism.

3.2 Procedures

LAC has developed detailed internal procedures that address the various steps involved in acquisition management, particularly appraisal, selection and acquisition. The CASCB uses a procedure that identifies clear and specific selection criteria for acquisitions. The PHB and PGCP have also established their own guidelines containing detailed selection criteria for acquisitions in their specific business lines. Moreover, the mandates of the Collection Development Committee (CDC) and the Major Acquisitions Committee (MAC) are clearly defined, based on duly documented terms of reference. However, these procedures and criteria are not consistent with the key directions in the CDF.

Recommendation 3.2

LAC should develop acquisition procedures that define the various steps of the acquisition process and clarify the selection criteria for informed decision making.

Management response

As part of the second Modernization Innovation Initiative, LAC will develop an evaluation and acquisition framework that contains acquisition procedures.

3.3 Partnerships

With the exception of one internal procedure, no policy or procedure concerning partnerships has been established, despite the importance given to this matter in the collection development management framework and the firm commitment set out in the CDF.

Given the absence of a policy, LAC cannot set out guidelines and requirements concerning such matters as forging acquisition partnerships (or limiting partnerships to promote access to LAC collections exclusively) for example, or the development of acquisition partnerships limited to digital records, owing to the potential partners' limited analogue record preservation capacity.

A policy on partnerships (Partnering Policy Suite) is being developed. This preliminary version dated October 2009, does not contain any guidelines or requirements for acquisition partnerships.

Given the absence of internal policies and procedures, the branches responsible for collection development cannot ensure the appropriate coordination and oversight of acquisition processes or minimize the risk of arbitrary acquisitions.

Recommendation 3.3

LAC should develop guidelines on forging partnerships.

Management response

As part of the first Modernization Innovation Initiative, LAC will implement a strategy on involvement with partners. Moreover, as part of the second Modernization Innovation Initiative, LAC will build a network with stakeholders and a pan-Canadian governance model for documentary heritage.

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