The use of PDF/A here is highly dependent on the type of public or government agency. PDF/A can be meaningfully applied in agencies when digital or digitized records have to be retained. Typical examples are proposals, construction records and legal notifications.
Recommendations and Guidelines for PDF/A
Federal Government Coordination and Advisory Agency for IT in the Federal Administration assesses PDF/A-1
The Federal Government Coordination and Advisory Agency for IT in the Federal Administration (KBSt) has recently published the updated Version 4.0 of SAGA (Standards and Architecture for E-Government Applications). The new version places more emphasis on PDF/A-1 and explicitly recommends this standard. SAGA describes standards, technologies, and methods for using information technology in federal authorities and provides recommendations for E-Government in the public sector. The comprehensive report can be found at www.kbst.bund.de, including a download link to the SAGA document (SAGA Version 4.0 is not yet available in English).
PDF/A for long-term archiving in MoReq2
MoReq is a European specification for electronic document and records management. The abbreviation stands for “Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Documents and Records”. MoReq was originally developed for a standardized exchange of documents between the European Commission and the governments of member states. The newest version of MoReq (MoReq2) includes PDF/A in the list of recommended data formats, e.g. for scanned documents and for long-term archiving. More information can be found at www.moreq2.de; a copy of the standard can be downloaded here.
Austria: BAIK uses PDF/A for its collection of land register deeds
The Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineering Consultants in Austria requires that publicly available electronic documents comply with the PDF/A-1b standard. In addition, the authenticity of electronic documents that are being added to the land register will be assured through use of a qualified digital signature. More details are available on the BAIK website: www.baik-archiv.at. A good overview is also offered in the overview diagram of the BAIK archive.
Norway: Openly available formats to be mandatory for published government information
The Norwegian Government has stipulated that all information published on state-run websites should in the future be saved in an openly available document format, such as HTML, PDF resp. PDF/A, or ODF. PDF/A is recommended for all documents that have a binding layout. This regulation comes into effect on January 1, 2009. More details can be found in the announcement from the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform.
Switzerland: Communication between public administration and citizens using PDF/A
The Swiss Federal Council, in a draft resolution for “Regulations for electronic transmission within the scope of administrative proceedings”, is turning to PDF/A. In the future, electronic communications between the administration and citizens concerning directives will use PDF/A format because of its suitability for long-term archiving. The regulation comes into effect on January 1, 2008 and should be fully implemented within 10 years. Further details are available from the Swiss federal authorities at www.admin.ch.