FTS 2000 Overhead:

GSA Should Reassess Contract Requirements and Improve Efficiency

IMTEC-92-59: Published: Aug 3, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Telecommunications System (FTS) 2000, focusing on whether GSA could: (1) reduce overhead costs; and (2) streamline FTS 2000 oversight.

GAO found that: (1) the FTS 2000 program incurs about $34 million in overhead costs to support management, operational, and oversight requirements; (2) consolidating oversight centers and eliminating overlapping network monitoring programs could reduce operating and personnel costs by $13 million; (3) increasing vendors' responsibility, eliminating unnecessary information systems, and streamlining the reporting service could save $1 million annually; (4) GSA could realize additional savings of $1.4 million by closing its Fairview Heights, Illinois, regional office; and (5) GSA inefficiency in processing vendor bills leads to unnecessary billing charges and disputes.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA: (1) will no longer be involved in the front-end service order handling process; (2) streamlined status center operations; (3) developed customer satisfaction measurements; (4) cut staff and operations in the billing area; (5) disbanded the technical services division; (6) cut 44 staff through FY 1995; and (7) saved approximately $2.5 million. GSA will reduce its FTEs from 280 (FY92 actual) to 237 (FY95 target) with an estimated savings of $2.8 million. GSA has: (1) eliminated the Technical Services Division--personnel and responsibilities reassigned to the service oversight centers and the office of the Assistant of the Deputy Associate Administrator; (2) eliminated status center operations and established Customer Satisfaction Centers; (3) established satisfaction and performance indicators; (4) discontinued involvement in the front-end service order handling process and transferred responsibility for the revised process; and (5) consolidated facility management functions.

    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of GSA oversight under the FTS 2000 program, the Administrator of General Services should use the ongoing management review of the FTS 2000 program to reassess current contract requirements--especially in areas such as service oversight center operations, monitoring of network operations, and customer service responsibilities--to determine whether they are still appropriate and worth their associated cost.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA will transfer responsibilities for the Trouble Handling Information System to the two vendors in late 1993. The transition will be monitored until it is effectively complete. Estimated savings will be approximately $1.3 million. Responsibility for the Trouble Handling Information System has been transferred to the vendors and the contract terminated effective September 1, 1993. Estimated savings are $1.2 million.

    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of GSA oversight under the FTS 2000 program, the Administrator of General Services should determine whether savings could be achieved by transferring the responsibilities of the Trouble Handling Information System contractor to the FTS 2000 vendors.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GSA indicated that since the billing management system was already in place at Fairview Heights, moving that operation and equipment would be costly and inefficient. GSA reviewed existing duties and grade levels and found that if it moved operations to service oversight centers in Virginia, the duties would remain but would be performed by higher paid staff.

    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of GSA oversight under the FTS 2000 program, the Administrator of General Services should eliminate the separate office at Fairview Heights, Illinois, whose functions could be consolidated and performed by the service oversight centers.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA plans to install a new order processing and acceptance system, which will enable it to better ensure that documentation is received before services are rendered and paid for. The new system will apply to both AT&T and Sprint, so there will be no difference in the way vendors are treated. GSA validates all non-usage charges against the items on the service orders before payment. Effective October 1, 1994, all service orders will be entered into the financial billing management system by Fairview Heights.

    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of GSA oversight under the FTS 2000 program, the Administrator of General Services should ensure that GSA obtains adequate documentation to support its payments to the vendors for services received by the customer agencies.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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