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Highlights

Competition between federal and private organizations to provide services--referred to as "competitive sourcing"--can be one way to help achieve greater efficiency in government. Under guidance from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), competitive sourcing has been implemented at various executive branch agencies over the years. As required under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 and directed by House Report 110-231, this report examines the use of competitive sourcing at the Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, GAO examined the comprehensiveness and reliability of DOL's performance and cost assessments in accordance with OMB and DOL guidance as well as the impact of competitive sourcing on certain DOL workers. To address these issues, GAO reviewed relevant statutes, guidance, reports and personnel actions; and interviewed OMB and DOL officials and 60 DOL staff, grouped by role, in four locations.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget In the interest of providing agency decision makers and policymakers with more complete information on the total costs associated with competitive sourcing, in addition to the current cost reports that OMB requires agencies to prepare, the Director of OMB should require agencies to systematically report all costs associated with competitive sourcing, including regular full-time equivalent (FTE) staff wages for time spent on planning and conducting competitions, as well as all other precompetition, transition, and implementation costs, including postcompetition monitoring or accountability reviews.
Closed - Not Implemented
In FY 2011, the federal government published a plan that defines what government positions are inherently governmental and what can be contracted out; however, this plan does not address cost issues associated with competitive sourcing. Further, in FY2011 civilian agencies like DOL did not conduct A-76 competitions, due to a governmentwide moratorium on A-76 contracting.
Department of Labor To improve the reliability and comprehensiveness of DOL's performance assessments and savings estimates in its competitive sourcing program, the Secretary of Labor should implement a consistently applied, departmentwide system to track identified deficiencies and recommendations for improvement in each of the competitions and the program overall.
Closed - Not Implemented
As a result of changes in the laws and policies affecting the initiation and continuity of competitive sourcing programs by the Department of Labor (DOL) and other agencies, DOL no longer has a Competitive Sourcing Program. Thus, DOL informed us that our recommendations for DOL's Competitive Sourcing Program are no longer applicable. In addition, all DOL "Most Efficient Organizations" implemented under prior Competitive Sourcing actions either have expired or have been terminated.
Department of Labor To improve the reliability and comprehensiveness of DOL's performance assessments and savings estimates in its competitive sourcing program, the Secretary of Labor should implement a system to track the full costs associated with managing DOL's commercial management activities, including--but not limited to--all costs associated with competitive sourcing.
Closed - Not Implemented
As a result of changes in the laws and policies affecting the initiation and continuity of competitive sourcing programs by the Department of Labor (DOL) and other agencies, DOL no longer has a Competitive Sourcing Program. Thus, DOL informed us that our recommendations for DOL's Competitive Sourcing Program are no longer applicable. In addition, all DOL "Most Efficient Organizations" implemented under prior Competitive Sourcing actions either have expired or have been terminated.
Department of Labor To improve the reliability and comprehensiveness of DOL's performance assessments and savings estimates in its competitive sourcing program, the Secretary of Labor should develop and implement a review process to ensure the accuracy of competitive sourcing savings reports to Congress.
Closed - Not Implemented
As a result of changes in the laws and policies affecting the initiation and continuity of competitive sourcing programs by the Department of Labor (DOL) and other agencies, DOL no longer has a Competitive Sourcing Program. Thus, DOL informed us that our recommendations for DOL's Competitive Sourcing Program are no longer applicable. In addition, all DOL "Most Efficient Organizations" implemented under prior Competitive Sourcing actions either have expired or have been terminated.

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