The General Services Administration Needs To Improve Its Cleaning and Guard Contracting Activities

LCD-80-21: Published: Mar 12, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 1980.

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The General Services Administration's (GSA) contracting activities for cleaning and guard services were reviewed. As of March 31, 1979, GSA had active cleaning and guard contracts at an annual cost of over $59 million and $38 million respectively.

GSA has not always been able to justify the amounts paid to cleaning contractors because of problems in administering the contracts. GSA made only 24 percent of the required inspections in the three GSA regions reviewed. In addition, GSA did not adequately document and report the quality of cleaning to provide evidence of satisfactory or unsatisfactory contract performance. Further, contracting procedures tend to discourage contractors from seeking more cost effective and efficient ways to provide the cleaning services since they permit deductions from monthly payments, regardless of performance, when a contractor fails to work a minimum number of labor hours. Also, GSA has been unable to award guard contracts competitively because of administrative problems in managing annual contracts. As a result, GSA has denied guard contractors an opportunity to compete for contracts by noncompetitively negotiating extensions with incumbent contractors. Another difficulty that GSA has with managing guard contracts is that GSA is limited to a 1-year contracting authority.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of GSA should: (1) develop and implement a formal training program for cleaning inspectors to be adhered to by all regions on a consistent basis; (2) provide additional inspectors where the workload exceeds the volume that can be handled by onboard inspectors; (3) improve the supervision of inspectors to assure more frequent inspections, the proper preparation of inspection reports, and the provision of sufficient documentation on contractor performance to contracting officers so that the contracts can be properly managed; (4) examine the current cleaning contracts and devise new provisions that will provide greater incentives for contractors to develop methods which are more cost effective and efficient; (5) adjust the number of minimum labor hours required to be supplied in a building under a new contract to reflect the number of hours needed to obtain satisfactory performance based on the performance under the previous contract; (6) require buildings managers to increase surveillance over contractor sign in/sign out logs to detect improper entries, promptly notify contractors of labor-hour shortages, adequately document labor-hour shortages using criteria required by legal counsel to properly sustain deductions, and provide contracting officers with timely reports and supporting documentation to avoid delays in taking deductions when appropriate; (7) maintain documentation to show the basis for settlements on appealed minimum labor-hour deductions; (8) obtain competition when awarding guard contracts for periods exceeding 3 months for new guard contracts to replace currently extended guard contracts, testing the market for availability of competition for each procurement, and maintaining a data bank containing names of contractors and their qualifications concerning guard contracts; (9) implement a notification system to advise contracting personnel within 6 months of a guard contract ending date that new procurement action should begin; (10) submit Letters of Notification to the Small Business Administration in a more timely manner; and (11) continue pursuing legislation permitting multiyear contracting.

    Agency Affected:


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