GSA reviewing outsourcing

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The General Services Administration has identified several functions it performs that do not appear to fall within its core mission, but will make no snap judgments on whether those functions will be outsourced, Administrator Stephen Perry told public- and private-sector executives Oct. 24.

As part of an agencywide management reform push following Perry's confirmation in May, GSA is reviewing its offices and services for areas that can possibly be privatized.

The agency performs many business-style functions, including auctioning off excess federal property, that industry leaders and members of Congress have been pushing to break out for the private sector.

Nothing has been singled out as a service that clearly should be privatized, but the agency has identified some items "that seem to [have] been consuming more resources than justified," Perry said at the Fall Procurement Conference, hosted by the Coalition for Government Procurement.

In these cases, it is not wrong for GSA to be providing the service, but the function is not part of the agency's core mission and it is taking resources away from more relevant areas, Perry said. These functions tend not to be in the services area, but rather within the administration of the agency, he said.

Under the management reform effort, GSA has already discussed and restated its mission: that the agency exists to help other agencies serve the public. Accordingly, GSA has set six agencywide, measurable goals for performance improvement as outlined under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993:

* Provide the best value for customer agencies and taxpayers.

* Achieve financial accountability.

* Operate efficiently and effectively.

* Practice responsible asset management.

* Establish and maintain a world-class workplace and workforce.

* Carry out its responsibilities as a federal agency.

Individual services and offices are developing more specific goals against which they will be measured. One example is the Federal Supply Service's goal to meet higher standards for customer and vendor satisfaction under the surveys the service performs, Perry said.

Even though the review is not finished, the agency is beginning to consider the best way to address the functions that do not fall directly under those goals and GSA's mission, he said.

"It will be a test of out commitment to performance as to whether we step up to address these," he said. "We did find a few, and we are going to make those tough decisions to deal with them."

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