United States General Accounting Office General Government Division GAO September 1997 Government Business Operations Issue Area Plan Fiscal Year 1998 * ^ Foreword As the investigative arm of Congress and the nation’s auditor, the General Accounting Office is charged with following the federal dollar wherever it goes. Reflecting stringent standards of objectivity and independence, GAO'S audits, evaluations, and investigations promote a more efficient and cost-effective government expose waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in federal programs; help Congress target budget reductions; assess financial and information management; and alert Congress to developing trends that may have significant fiscal or budgetary consequences. In fulfi&ng its responsibilities, GAO performs original research and uses hundreds of databases or creates its own when information is unavailable elsewhere. To ensure that GAO'S resources are directed toward the most important issues facing Congress, each of GAO'S issue areas develops a strategic plan that describes the significance of the issues it addresses, its objectives, and the focus of its work. Each issue area relies heavily on input from congressional committees, agency officials, and subject-matter experts in developing its strategic plan The Government Business Operations issue area does program and evaluation work involving operations and activities of the General Services Administration, which controls or oversees over $60 billion in annual government spending, and the U.S. Postal Service, which has revenue in excess of $55 billion annually. This issue area also responds to other congressional inquiries, usually in areas where GAO does not have dedicated resources, on a special response basis. Special response work has involved inquiries regarding numerous federal agency activities, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Mint, and the Library of Congress. We have recently issued reports on federal courthouse utilization and testified on government downsizing and office space reductions. We have also testified and reported on Postal Service reform and significant internal control concerns, which could negatively impact their revenues. The principal themes in the Government Business Operations issue area are 9 effective acquisition, use, and disposition of government assets to reduce costs and provide a greater return on investment; . improved management for greater responsiveness in meetmg agency goals and consumers’ needs; and Page1 GAO/UP-97-24 .-t - l improved and more efficient operations through alternative strategies for /’ providing service. In the following pages we describe our key planned work on these themes. Because events may significantly affect even the best of plans, our planning process allows for updating the plan to respond quickly to emerging issues. If you have any questions or suggestions about this plan, please call me at (202) 5124232. Bernard L. Ungar Director, Government Business Operations Issues Page 2 Contents Foreword 1 Table I: Key Issues 4 Table II: Planned 6 Major Work Table III: GAO 7 Contacts Page 3 -;‘> -Issue Significance Asset and support services acquisition: Are facilrties, goods, The General Services Admtnistratron (GSA) acts as the marn and servrces acquired in the most effectrve, effrcrent, and government focal point for over $60 brlllon of federal economical ways to achieve missron goals and return on procurements each year, ranging from buildings and investment? telecommunrcations equipment to everyday support services Postal Service acquisition programs constrtute several billion dollars each year, primarily in support of meeting customer needs and accurate and timely delivery of the mail to over 223 million locatlons daily, moving over 177 billion pieces of mail annually Asset maintenance and use: Are maintenance and use of GSA maintains over 1,700 federal buildings whose operation, financial assets, facilities, goods, and services being used to modernization, and general maintenance require continuous optimrze value, reduce costs, and achieve mission goals? oversight and attention The proper maintenance of these buildings IS critical to the quality, health, safety, and usefulness of hundreds of thousands of federal employees Proper maintenance IS vital to malntainrng their service value as well as ensurtng continued income producrng capability commensurate with the private sector Asset disposition: Are asset disposrtion policies and practices Congressional oversight assumes even greater importance as the maximizing benefits to the government and U S citizens? inventory of federal historic buildings grows, and the bulldings deteriorate for lack of renovation, which is needed to establish them as entitles capable of houstng tenants, consistent wtth current technology This could be especially true for the Courthouse construction program where large numbers of old courthouses WIII become available for dlsposltron or modernization as new courthouses are constructed With federal downsizing and budget deficits as a watchword, these issues remain at the forefront Management improvement: Are management systems and GSA and the Postal Service are key providers of services that processes lmprovtng performance and being responsive to contribute to smooth government operation as well as provide for customer needs7 a vital network of communication for business transactions and household-to-household contacts Page 4 GAO/‘lAP-97-24 ’ Table I: Key Issues Obiectives Focus of work (1) Improve agency capabilities to plan for long-and short-term l Monitor implementation of prior recommendations. needs and to satisfy them. l Assess ongoing major reform efforts. l Examrne agency controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse (2) Improve the federal acquisition process by streamlining policres l Evaluate profitability of selected pieces of currency ($1 corn, and procedures, improving contracting systems, and making the penny, and commemorative corn) process more responsive. (3) Identify obstacles that impede cost-effective, businesslike acquisitions and assess their impact (1) Improve maintenance and use of real and other property used l Examrne systemic obstacles, such as budgetary limitatrons and to enhance mIssion accomplishment and productivity lack of strategic planning, which impede cost-effective approaches (2) Promote the adoption of more economically sound, businessltke l Focus on agency best practices and inltratrves practices In malntalnrng and using properties as valuable national l Inform Congress and agency leaders of best practices for assets. inclusion in other buslnesslike activities (3) Promote the adoption of “best practices” in the real estate management area , (1) Promote the adoption of rnnovatrve, economically sound, l Identify process lncentrves and private sector strategies businesslike Incentives and strategies for disposing of government l Work wrth executive branch and congressional officials to assets, which Improve the return on investment to the government design better approaches for identifying and closing facilities and the taxpayer deemed no longer needed (2) Improve federal agencies’ organizatronal structures and processes for disposing of real and personal property and financial assets. (1) Identify opportunities to promote improvements in agency l Review and evaluate agency management systems and systems and practices processes l Identify objective measurement systems (2) Evaluate how agency management reform rnitlatives are tracked l Exambne results from program lmplementatlon of management and what progress they show improvements l Review surveys of customer satisfaction and evaluate (3) Assess whether agencies are achieving mandated social policy measurement techniques goals In real estate asset disposition programs (4) Ensure quality management efforts result In improved service and responsiveness to customers. Page 5 r , _” ;, ‘., _J -I, I *, ;I’ 1 l/ ’”Table II: Planned Major Work Issue Planned maior job starts Asset and support services acquisition l Federal building funds shortfall l Prison constructron l Bullding security and safety l Federal Pnson Industries (FPI) customer satisfaction l FPI pricing policies and procedures l FPI timeliness in flllrng customer orders Asset maintenance and use l Identification of best practices l GSA’s building modernization program l Deterioration of federal buildings l Burlding energy conservation l Management of historical bulldings Asset disposition l Drsposition of old courthouses Management improvement l Monitoring of GSA ongoing major reform efforts l Managing real property operations l Adequacy of Postal Service controls over $55 billion in Postal revenue l International mail customs treatment l New Postal products and services I 0 Outsourcing by the Postal Service l Postal rnrtlatlves to improve working conditions and organizational performance l Adequacy of Postal measures and-data Page 6 Table III: GAO Contacts Director Bernard L. Ungar (202) 512-4232 Assistant Directors Teresa Anderson (202) 512-7658 John S. Baldwin, Sr. (202) 512-4535 Gerald P. Barnes (202) 512-4228 Sherrill Johnson (214) 777-5699 Ronald L. King (202) 512-5248 Gerald Stankosky (202) 512-5758 Page 7 GAO/UP-97-24 ;.. .
Government Business Operations Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Year 1998
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-09-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)