HUD IT spending plan ordered

The Department of Housing and Urban Development got a slap on the wrist from Congress recently for failing to provide details about its information technology strategy.

Buried in the conference report for the agency's fiscal 2002 budget appropriation were comments from the panel that approved the funding stating that the housing agency had provided little information about its plans to recompete the HUD Integrated Information Processing Service (HIIPS) contract — a major IT system that is expected to be worth more than $1 billion.

"The conferees note that the inability of HUD to provide useful data on program expenditures and performance has been a deficiency perennially cited by the inspector general and the General Accounting Office," the conferees said.

HUD had no immediate comment on the congressional criticism.

The conferees ordered HUD to come up with a spending plan for IT and submit it to Congress by Jan. 15. It also ordered the department to provide a detailed report on the "strategy, status and out-year funding requirements" for the project before spending any money.

Congress has approved $351 million for the development and maintenance of HUD IT systems, a $16.8 million increase above the 2001 level. The spending bill has been passed by Congress and is awaiting President Bush's signature.

The recompete project, known as the HUD Information Technology Service (HITS), would include data processing and management, data recovery, printing and distribution, local-area network communications and maintenance, and Web site administration as well as the entire spectrum of IT support.

HUD issued an initial draft of its request for proposals in May and a second draft June 25, but it has delayed issuing a third draft.

At least four major IT firms have been identified as viable competitors for the project — IBM Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., Lockheed Martin Information Systems and ACS Government Solutions Group, according to the project's Web site.

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