HUD IT spending plan falls short, GAO says

Department's plan for fiscal 2010 did not meet Congress' conditions

The Housing and Urban Development Department needs a better spending plan for IT modernization because the current plan has major holes, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

To meet Congress’ requirements for fiscal 2010 appropriations, HUD produced an expenditure plan for its IT modernization projects.

However, the spending plan didn't meet Congress’ conditions, GAO concluded in the report dated Nov. 23.

For example, while the plan was supposed to describe mission benefits for the eight projects it covered, but it only did so for three of the projects, the report states.


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Also, the plan lacked sufficient evidence of each project’s compliance with HUD’s enterprise architecture, life-cycle management policies, capital planning and control requirements. It also didn't have proof of adequate staffing, GAO said.

HUD officials said the problems occurred because of the department’s interpretation of the statutory requirements as well as unavailability of project documentation, but they said improvements are coming.

Meanwhile, in its current form, the expenditure plan is of limited usefulness, GAO concluded.

“Until HUD can submit an expenditure plan that satisfies the statutory conditions, as well as discloses the risks associated with each project and plans for mitigating them, its House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees will not have the information that they need to oversee HUD’s modernization projects and hold the department accountable for project results,” the report states.

GAO recommended that HUD's CIO ensure that future IT spending plans satisfy all statutory conditions for each project. If a condition is not met, there should be an explanation of why not, along with information about what actions are being taken to mitigate project risks, the report said.

In addition, HUD officials in future plans should clearly describe the status of HUD’s efforts to implement IT management controls, along with project-specific risks and risk mitigation plans.

HUD officials agreed with the recommendations.

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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