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    Subject Term: "Office space"

    6 publications with a total of 16 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Barbara Bovbjerg
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a long-term facility plan that explicitly links to SSA's strategic goals for service delivery, and includes a strategy for consolidating or downsizing field offices in light of increasing use of and geographic variation in remote service delivery.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as co-locating field and hearing offices and reducing warehouse space. SSA will also work within the existing Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a proof of concept on space sharing by employees who telework.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to reassess and, if needed, revise its field office space standards to ensure they provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate both unexpected growth in the demand for services and new service delivery technologies.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to ensure the Real Estate and Lease Tracking application has the capacity to accurately track the composition of SSA's office inventory over time.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a cost-effective approach to identifying the most common issues with online benefit claims that require staff follow-up with applicants, and use this information to inform improvements to the online claims process.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency for its alternative customer services approaches, including desktop icons and video services in third-party sites, to develop performance goals and collect performance data related to these goals.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as expanding video hearing capacity.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to increase efforts to ensure timekeepers at all facilities receive training and consistent guidance on recording official time in VATAS.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Labor Management Relations (LMR) has revised its policy to include specific directions to human resource offices to begin recording official time in the VA Time and Attendance System (VATAS) once VATAS has been implemented at their respective facilities. We will considering closing this recommendation when the agency provides documentation that this has been done.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to standardize the methods used by facilities for determining the amount of official time used prior to the agency-wide implementation of VATAS by encouraging facilities to rely on time and attendance records when calculating the amount of official time used at the facility level.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Human Resources and Administration plans to develop a memo directing facilities to rely on time and attendance records when calculating the amount of official time used at the facility level. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has provided documentation that they have completed this effort.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's ability to accurately track employees' use of official time, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration to, in preparation for the full implementation of VATAS, take steps to transition from using the LMR system to VATAS to collect and compile information on the amount of official time used agency-wide.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA stated that the Office of Labor Management Relations (LMR) will transition from using the LMR Official Time Tracking System to collect and compile data on official time and will coordinate with the Financial Services Center to use VATAS to create a report on the agency-wide use of official time. We will consider closing this recommendation when the agency has completed this effort.
    Director: David J. Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase the completeness of information on the federal government's real property holdings and improve the coordination among federal entities that lease real property, the Deputy Director of the OMB--as chair of the FRPC--should establish efficient methods for including data from non-FRPC member entities in the FRPP.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase the completeness of information on the federal government's real property holdings and improve the coordination among federal entities that lease real property, the Deputy Director of the OMB--as chair of the FRPC--should establish efficient methods for increasing collaboration between FRPC member and non-member entities, including sharing leading real-property management practices.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-5731

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the CFTC makes cost-effective leasing decisions, and considers options for reducing future lease costs, prior to entering into any new or expanded lease agreements, the Chairman of the CFTC should ensure that as CFTC revises its leasing policies and procedures, it includes comprehensive details on lease procurement that are consistent with leading government guidance and standards to assure cost-effective decisions.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 5, 2017, CFTC told us that in August, 2016, it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the General Services Administration (GSA), whereby GSA will procure and administer all new leases for CFTC consistent with GSA policies and procedures. The MOU provides a framework by which GSA will apply its expertise in the leasing field to satisfy CFTC's real property space requirements, while ensuring compliance with appropriations laws and regulations applicable to real property transactions. GSA will procure new CFTC leases consistent with CFTC's demonstrated needs and requirements, GSA's practices and procedures as well as relevant statutes, Executive Orders, and supplemental agency policies and guidance. As part of its service offering, GSA will work with CFTC to maximize and increase efficiency in its planning for future space requirements and to consider alternatives to acquiring additional office space, such as consolidation, co-location, teleworking, and hoteling. CFTC has retained all responsibilities for its existing leases, but will leverage GSA's experience for administering them. Through the MOU, GSA will consult with and advise CFTC in administering its existing leases, which may also include implementing one or more of the initiatives described above for maximizing the efficiency of CFTC's current leasing inventory.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the CFTC makes cost-effective leasing decisions, and considers options for reducing future lease costs, prior to entering into any new or expanded lease agreements, the Chairman of the CFTC should establish a timeline for evaluating and documenting options to potentially improve space utilization and reduce leasing costs including, but not restricted to, (1) moving offices to less costly locations, (2) implementing enhanced telework, and (3) consolidating the Kansas City and Chicago regional offices.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: On July 5, 2017, CFTC said that it does not have any plans, at this time, to relocate or consolidate its offices. However, CFTC said that as it enters the planning phase for acquiring new space, as its existing leases expire, beginning in April 2018, it will perform a comprehensive review of its space needs and utilization.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: As part of its lease reform efforts and to increase possible cost savings, the GSA Administrator should fully explore strategies to enhance competition for GSA leases by encouraging tenant agencies to broaden their allowable geographic areas and to limit their specialized building requirements to those justifiably unique to the federal government.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm the action that GSA has taken to address the recommendation, we will update its status.
    Recommendation: As part of its lease reform efforts and to increase possible cost savings, the GSA Administrator should seek to reduce leasing costs for federal agencies by exploring, with relevant stakeholders, the possibility of loaning unobligated Federal Buildings Fund balances to agencies to cover tenant improvement costs that would otherwise have to be financed for new leases. If GSA finds that, with sufficient controls in place, tenant improvements can be safely funded this way, it should participate in the development of a legislative proposal to request that Congress make the necessary budget authority available.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: GSA agreed with the recommendation to reduce leasing costs for federal agencies by exploring the possibility of loaning unobligated Federal Building Fund (FBF) balances to agencies to cover tenants' improvement costs. In June 2016, GSA told us research is under way to establish the parameters of the annual financial impact of tenant improvement allowances on the unobligated Federal Buildings Fund balance. GSA's considerations will include defining the impact to the FBF balance of financing agencies' tenant improvement allowances, which would compete with the limited dollars available for new construction and major repairs and alterations. As of October 20, 2016, GSA had not provided GAO with additional updates to the status of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: As part of its lease reform efforts and to increase possible cost savings, the GSA Administrator should seek to reduce leasing costs for federal agencies by allowing tenant agencies the option of choosing non-cancelable occupancy agreements with lower administrative costs, particularly for leases with firm terms of 5 years or less.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm the action that GSA has taken to address the recommendation, we will update its status.
    Director: David Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the transparency of the FRPP data and help GSA make more informed decisions regarding the planning, effective and efficient management, and disposal of civilian warehouse assets, in GSA's landlord role, which is performed by the Public Buildings Service, and as part of its efforts to address our 2012 recommendation to develop and publish a comprehensive 5-year capital plan, GSA should develop and implement a strategy specific to warehouses. This strategy should apply capital-planning leading practices, involving prioritization and long-term planning, to the warehouse portion of GSA's portfolio.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) analyzed warehouse data and determined that the existing tools and processes are the most appropriate way to treat warehouses because these tools and processes consider warehouses within the context of local markets, client agencies, and GSA's short and long-term investment plans. However, GSA continues to lack a strategic approach to prioritize warehouses and make long-term, informed decisions about government warehouse space. Further, in light of GSA's aging warehouse inventory and agencies' modern-day storage needs, there is potentially a growing gap between what GSA can provide from the government's owned portfolio and what the tenant agencies require. Because the agency lacks a strategy focused on its warehouse portfolio, GSA may have limited ability to address this potentially growing gap as well as the unique challenges facing GSA's warehouse portfolio. Such a strategy would enable GSA and tenant agencies to prioritize their needs and take a long-term view of the warehouse inventory to support better informed decisions. We will follow-up with GSA regarding this recommendation, which is intended to enhance GSA's existing tools and processes, as they relate to warehouses.