Natural Resources and Environment:

Implementation Status of OMB Circular A-76 Program at National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation

RCED-85-56: Published: Mar 15, 1985. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1985.

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GAO reviewed the efforts of the Department of the Interior's National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation to implement Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 which states that, when feasible and economical, federal agencies should rely on the private sector for commercial goods and services. GAO found that, although many of the jobs in both agencies were subject to the A-76 process, the agencies were slow to implement the circular because: (1) management did not emphasize the program; (2) the necessary personnel and technical resources were not available; (3) required operations and performance data were lacking; and (4) a large portion of the resources were used to conduct cost comparisons which were not necessary. Both agencies reported that the A-76 programs produced some dollar benefits by reducing activities' operating costs by either contracting out or improving efficiency in-house, but it was difficult to assess the benefits because many activities were contracted without performing cost comparisons. GAO found that few of the employees were affected by the reviews and neither agency used the program to reduce personnel levels by directly contracting activities. Because implementation of the program is greatly decentralized, differences have resulted in developing inventories of commercial activities which have led to inconsistent and incomplete listings. However, recent modifications to the A-76 process should significantly affect implementation in areas such as program resources and training, sources of information needed for proper reviews, retraining and utilization of displaced employees, and the development of commercial inventories.

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