Streamlining the Federal Field Structure

Potential Opportunities, Barriers, and Actions That Can Be Taken Gao ID: FPCD-80-4 August 5, 1980

At a time when the Federal Government is looking for ways to cut federal spending and achieve a balanced budget, every reasonable cost-cutting opportunity must be explored. GAO sees the Federal Government's "field structure" as a prime area for exploring ways of cutting costs and raising government productivity.

Agencies can reduce unnecessary and duplicative overhead and support costs by: (1) consolidating field offices; (2) collocating offices; (3) establishing common administrative support service arrangements for field activities; and (4) eliminating unnecessary management levels. However, employee resistance, management resistance, and external opposition can present very real barriers to effective streamlining and reflect valid concerns which need to be faced aggressively, openly, and objectively. The lack of government-owned space can also be a sizeable constraint where large amounts of space would be needed. To fully identify and take advantage of streamlining opportunties will require a committed and coordinated effort on the part of the executive branch and Congress. If successful, it could reduce government costs and improve federal work force productivity and delivery of services to the public.

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