The GSA may not be achieving the savings claimed from using contractors to negotiate some leases for federal building space, GAO has said.
Under what is now called the Leasing Support Services program, GSA uses brokers to negotiate leases meeting certain thresholds in urban areas, with the goals of saving money and supplementing its in-house staff. GAO said that over 2005-2019, brokers negotiated GSA’s own workers negotiated some 5,400 leases compared with 3,200 by brokers but that the brokered leases were for higher value and greater square footage on average.
GSA told GAO that brokers have negotiated 303 leases, 60 percent of which were 18 below the market rate on average, which GSA said amounted to a $676 million cost avoidance. However, GAO said that “potentially inaccurate data and limited outcome-based metrics could affect GSA’s ability to assess” the results.
It said that some GSA regional officials and brokers “expressed concerns about the accuracy of the market reports used to calculate these cost savings. Additionally, while GSA has identified various outcome-based metrics related to its leasing program, these metrics do not indicate whether using brokers to supplement its leasing workforce has enabled GSA to complete leasing work it would have otherwise been unable to complete,” GAO said.
It said that the GSA agreed with a recommendation that it assess and address the reliability of the information used to calculate reported cost savings but disagreed with one that it develop outcome-based metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of using brokers.