GAO finds gaps in HUD IT management

HUD needs help in implementing management controls

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department continues to display weaknesses in managing its information technology, and has not fully implemented controls to comply with federal requirements, guidelines or best practices, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

“Because these controls are critical to managing an organization’s existing IT environment and to modernizing it, and given HUD’s recent and planned increases in modernization-related activities, it is important for the department to fully establish each control,” auditors wrote in the report, released on July 31.

“Until it does, the performance of HUD’s existing IT environment, as well as its efforts to modernize this environment, will be at risk,” the GAO concluded.

HUD has made progress in developing an IT strategic plan with goals and performance benchmarks. But it has not assessed progress since fiscal 2007, when it found that it was behind schedule on at least half of the projects, said the GAO.

HUD also lacks criteria to evaluate the performance of its IT investment portfolio and developed an unreliable strategy for addressing human capital needs that was based on incomplete and outdated information, according to the 52-page report.

In addition, HUD’s efforts to extend its IT architecture is not sufficient, the GAO said. While HUD identified and prioritized which architecture segments are to be modernized first, it has not adhered to these priorities, and the segments created thus far do not fully reflect federal guidance, and most are out of date, the GAO concluded.

HUD officials agreed with the findings and said their efforts at correction have been hampered by turnover in IT leadership along with limited funds, at least until recently. Under the economic stimulus law, HUD will distribute $11.6 billion to help the Federal Housing Administration assist families to avoid foreclosures, and to improve the FHA’s IT systems. The funding will increase the HUD’s responsibilities and its reliance on IT, the GAO said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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