Another step taken toward 'one HHS'

The centralization of the agency's human resources system at the Department of Health and Human Services is the latest step in Secretary Tommy Thompson's quest to create "one HHS." In a July 11 memo obtained by Fed.eral Computer Week, Thomp.son said revamping the system would result in "econ.omies of scale, elim.ination of duplicate systems and effort, and better delivery of our personnel services."

The memo is Thompson's third in the past six weeks ordering the consolidation and centralization of HHS functions. The first two called for an enterprise architecture plan and a financial management system for the massive agency.

The latest plan calls for a centralized human resources production system and one testing system, to be located at the National Institutes of Health. The systems will use human resources software from PeopleSoft Inc. on an Oracle Corp. database, according to the memo. The payroll system is not part of the restructuring.

It will cost $18 million to revamp the system, which HHS expects to be using by February. Agencies under HHS, including NIH and the Food and Drug Administration, will begin using the system in 2003.

In his memo to HHS human resources directors, Thompson said he considered the program "vital to improving our internal business systems and services to our employees.

"I emphasize how important it is for you to buy in, contribute to its development and ultimately share in its success," Thompson said.

"We're beginning to learn that in a lot of these administrative arenas, there's greater strength in having a fewer number of systems," said Alan Balutis, executive director of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils.

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