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For activities deemed to be management functions, the second step of the analysis is to consider whether outsourcing the management function might unduly compromise one or more of the agency's ownership functions. If outsourcing of a management function would unduly compromise the agency's ownership role, then it should be considered a “quasi”-inherently governmental function and should not be outsourced.

Figure ES-1 is a decision framework developed by the committee for federal agencies considering outsourcing management functions for facility acquisitions. This framework recognizes the constraints of inherently governmental functions and incorporates the committee's two-step threshold for identifying ownership functions that should be performed by in-house staff and management functions that can be considered for outsourcing. The decision framework is not intended to generate definitive recommendations about which management functions may or may not be outsourced or in what combination. The decision framework is a tool to assist decision makers in analyzing their organizational strengths and weaknesses, assessing risk in specific areas based on a project's stature and sensitivity, and, at a fundamental level, questioning whether or not a management function can best be performed by in-house staff or by an external organization.

The line between inherently governmental functions and commercial activities or between ownership and management functions, can be very fine. Distinguishing between them can be difficult and may require a case-by-case analysis of many facts and circumstances.


The authoring committee received briefings from several federal agencies and developed and distributed a questionnaire to sponsoring agencies of the Federal Facilities Council to solicit information on their experiences with outsourcing in general and outsourcing of management functions in particular. Seven of the 13 agencies that responded to the questionnaire had outsourced some management functions for planning, design, and construction-related activities. The primary factors cited for outsourcing management functions were lack of in-house expertise and staff shortages (54 percent of responses combined); savings on project delivery time (15 percent); and, other factors, including statutory requirements (15 percent). None of the seven agencies cited cost effectiveness or deliberate downsizing as a factor in the decision to outsource management functions. Three of the seven had outsourced management functions to other federal agencies. Their experiences varied and no trends could be determined. Agencies' experiences with outsourcing management functions to the private sector were also varied, and, again, no trends could be discerned.

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