Small Business Administration:

Current Structure Presents Challenges for Service Delivery

GAO-02-17: Published: Oct 26, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2001.

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GAO's recent performance and accountability series report on the Small Business Administration (SBA) described major management challenges and program risks to efficient delivery of services. However, that report did not discuss how well SBA's organization was aligned to achieve its mission. GAO found that SBA's current structure contributes to the challenges SBA faces in delivering services to the small business community. In particular, ineffective lines of communication; confusion over the mission of district offices; complicated, overlapping organizational relationships; and a field structure not consistently matched with mission requirements combine to impede the effective deliver of services. Restructuring efforts by other federal agencies may prove instructive in addressing the problems with SBA's current structure. Efforts at other agencies also demonstrate the need for buy-in from both internal and external stakeholders and the importance of agency efforts to consider the human impact of restructuring activities, including the closure of field offices.

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