Amtrak Lacks Central Depository for Contracts

Amtrak lacks a centralized automated repository for contract, the carriers inspector general has found.

Consequently, the investigation determined this could pose legal and financial risks

Investigators said Amtrak stores contracts in multiple locations, which could affect its ability to determine the total number of contracts, suppliers, and other contract information.

The Amtrak Office of Inspector General said the lack of a central location to store contracts is being exacerbated by the influx of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds and the initiation of new construction projects.

OIG auditors were unable to determine the total number of company contracts, suppliers and change orders when using Ariba on Demand, a vendor hired by Amtrak.

Amtrak also could not readily find such data in Ariba on Demand or any other system.

Although Ariba on Demand is functioning well as an approval and workflow system, there is “limited ability to protect sensitive information, difficulties registering suppliers, and various technical limitations that require manual workarounds and increase the time and effort necessary to develop and manage construction contracts,” the OIG report said.

Similar issues with contract storage were found by the OIG in 2018 when Amtrak’s lack of an enterprise-wide contract management system exposed it to risks and recommended the company address this gap.

 “The company stated it planned to use Ariba on Demand and an accompanying contract management module for this purpose,” the most current OIG report said.

“As the company transitioned to Ariba on Demand, however, officials began to recognize that it may not fulfill Amtrak’s needs as an automated enterprise-wide contract repository. More recently, company officials told the OIG that they have yet to fully investigate Ariba on Demand’s capabilities, and certain departments have no plans to use it as a contract repository.”

The OIG report recommended that Amtrak determine whether Ariba on Demand has the capability to meet its needs for an automated contract repository and, if not, explore other viable solutions.”

Amtrak management agreed with the OIG report’s finding and indicated it would address them by March 2023.

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