Public-Private Mix:

Effectiveness and Performance of GSA's In-House and Contracted Services

GGD-95-204: Published: Sep 29, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the cost-effectiveness and performance of the General Services Administration's (GSA) real property management services to determine whether GSA contracting decisions were sound; and (2) private sector real property management approaches to determine whether GSA management services could be improved.

GAO found that: (1) cost, performance, and historical data showed that GSA decisions to retain property management services in-house or contract them out were sound; (2) in general, GSA retained and contracted-out activities at lower actual costs than estimated; (3) GSA continued to use the sector originally selected for about 72 percent of the sampled activities, since only 11 of the 54 activities had serious performance problems; (4) GSA experienced more frequent and serious performance problems with contracted maintenance activities than with other types of activities; (5) GSA oversight of the activities was generally sound and GSA took appropriate corrective actions when necessary; (6) although GSA contracting decisions appeared to be sound, GAO could not conclusively demonstrate that the selected alternatives generated the expected savings estimated; (7) private sector real estate management organizations commonly use such practices as performance measurement and benchmarking to manage and evaluate their operations and to decide whether to contract out certain services; (8) GSA could improve its oversight and evaluation of its services by adopting key private sector performance measures; and (9) GSA is still developing the specific performance measurements it will use after its reorganization.

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