Government Operations:

Observations on the General Services Administration's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan

GGD-00-148R: Published: Jun 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 2004.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) fiscal year (FY) 1999 performance report and FY 2001 performance plan required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA).

GAO noted that: (1) the performance goals in the FY 1999 performance report for the first key outcome--quality products and services are provided to federal agencies at competitive prices and significant price savings to the government--were typically outcome oriented, measurable, and quantifiable; (2) the measures generally indicated progress toward meeting the goals, and the performance report clearly articulated the degree to which performance goals were achieved; (3) the performance report said that GSA met or exceeded various goals related to such activities as supply and procurement, vehicle acquisition and leasing, travel and transportation, information technology, and telecommunications services; (4) goals that were not met or not measured related to activities such as childcare, leasing and meeting client space needs, and disposal of excess real property; (5) the second key outcome--federal buildings are safe, accessible, and energy efficient--only had one goal in the FY 1999 performance report; (6) the goal as stated in the performance report was to reduce the number of buildings that have protection costs in the high range of the benchmark set by the private sector experts while maintaining effective security in government buildings; (7) GSA was unable to measure this goal because it did not have the data to do so; (8) the FY 2001 performance plan no longer has this goal; (9) instead, the FY 2001 performance plan replaced this goal with a goal related to customer satisfaction with security services; (10) the third key outcome--federal buildings are adequately maintained--had two goals in the FY 1999 performance report, and they were objective, measurable, and quantifiable; (11) the measures for these goals generally allowed for gauging progress toward meeting them; (12) the performance report said that GSA exceeded the goal to minimize cost escalations on repair and alteration projects, but did not meet the goal related to completing repair and alteration projects on time; (13) for the unmet goal, GSA cited a variety of conditions, including poor contractor performance, for why the goal was not met; (14) GSA revised both of these goals in the 2001 performance plan; (15) with regard to management challenges, neither the 1999 performance report nor the 2001 performance plan has goals that effectively respond to them; and (16) although the 2001 performance plan does not have specific goals that effectively respond directly to the GSA Inspector General's management challenges, the performance plan does discuss various issues related to the challenges.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In light of the recent problems GSA has had with its security program and the potentially hostile environment in which the nation lives, the Administrator, GSA, should revisit GAO's previous recommendation and immediately develop security goals and measures that are more programmatic, that hold agency officials more accountable for results, and that allow GSA to determine if security strategies are working as intended.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has taken steps to address this recommendation. In its fiscal year 2000 GPRA performance report, GSA acknowledged the need for developing an improved performance measure related to building security. Also, in its fiscal year 2002 GPRA performance plan, GSA established two goals with related measures that were intended to help it better assess efforts to enhance the building security program. In addition, GSA's fiscal year 2000 plan discussed key building security issues in a separate section of the plan.

    Recommendation: For the 2000 performance report, the Administrator, GSA, in order to fully respond to GPRA's implementing guidance, should: (1) provide reasonable assurance that performance information will be credible; (2) always provide reasonable explanations why certain goals were not met and provide plans, actions, and timeframes for achieving these goals; and (3) specifically discuss the effects of the FY 2000 performance on the estimated performance levels for FY 2001.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has taken steps to address this recommendation. In its fiscal year 2000 GPRA performance report, GSA more fully responded to GPRA's implementing guidance. Specifically, GSA has (1) more fully described its data sources and efforts to validate and verify performance data; (2) discussed for its unmet goals the reasons why the goals were not met or explained that it was analyzing data to determine the reasons and described for many goals the actions, plans, and timeframes for achieving the goals in the future; and (3) discussed for many goals the effects of fiscal year 2000 performance on estimated fiscal year 2001 performance, which generally involved discussions about fiscal year 2000 performance and what performance could be expected in fiscal year 2001.

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