Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., is looking for answers from the General Services Administration (GSA) regarding its transition to a new online identification system for the Federal government’s awards process that has proved difficult for many vendors.

In a letter to GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan, Rep. Connolly requested more information on the transition to the Unique Entity ID (UEI) from the original Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and what assistance the agency is providing to vendors.

“According to many of my constituents, they have encountered significant difficulty in migrating their existing contractor accounts into the new framework, jeopardizing their businesses and their ability to pay their workers,” Rep. Connolly wrote. “I write to request information on GSA’s transition to a new Unique Entity ID (UEI) and to determine whether GSA is providing all necessary assistance to the Federal business partners Federal agencies rely on every day.”

GSA launched the UEI transition on April 4, stating that the transition would make the identification and validation process “easier and less burdensome for entities.” However, Rep. Connolly said many vendors have faced “significant difficulty” in migrating to the new system.

“Although GSA’s websites and other guidance indicate entities that already had a DUNS number ‘do not need to do anything to get your Unique Entity ID,’ I have heard from constituents who have struggled to transition to the new unique identifier – and in some cases were removed entirely from the GSA online system,” Rep. Connolly said.

“Moreover, when seeking help and assistance from GSA, these government partners were often provided links to unhelpful online frequently asked question pages or stuck on telephone calls for hours with customer service representatives who were unable to help troubleshoot the problems,” he added.

GSA said it is aware of the issue and that addressing such challenges is its “top priority.”

“We know this is an issue, we’re continuing to work hard to address it, and we’re working to make the process and timeframe more transparent and visible to everyone,” Dave Zvenyach, the director of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services, said in an email to MeriTalk.

“Our goal as an agency is to make it easy for businesses, nonprofits, other governmental agencies, and partners to do the critical work of government – and these validation issues have made it harder for too many organizations,” he added. “We are doing all that we can to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and will continue to push for better outcomes for our partners both inside and outside the government.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.