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entitled 'Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities Management 
Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed' which 
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Report to Congressional Committees:

United States General Accounting Office:

GAO:

July 2003:

Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools:

New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved 
Data Accuracy Needed:

GAO-03-692:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-03-692, a report to Congressional Committees

Why GAO Did This Study:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for providing over 
48,000 children with a safe place to learn. In response to concerns 
that data in its old information system did not accurately reflect the 
condition of facilities, BIA acquired a new system, called the 
Facilities Management Information System (FMIS). GAO was asked to 
determine whether FMIS addresses the old systemís weaknesses and meets 
BIAís management needs, whether BIA has finished validating the 
accuracy of data entered into FMIS from the old system, and how well 
the quality control measures are working for ensuring the accuracy of 
new data being entered into the system from individual schools.

What GAO Found:

FMIS is designed to address the previous data systemís shortcomings 
and appears to have the capability to meet BIAís management needs if 
the data that are entered into FMIS are correct and timely. The old 
system was hard to use and did not readily provide data for 
maintenance and repair efforts. FMISís design appears to overcome 
these weaknesses. For example, FMIS has features that help facility 
managers make data more consistent, as well as tools for helping 
managers develop cost estimates for maintenance and construction 
projects.

BIAís contractor has been correcting the data that were transferred to 
FMIS from the previous system, but issues such as software 
compatibility problems between the contractorís system and FMIS have 
delayed entry of some of the data for more than 1 year. BIA officials 
say that these problems are being addressed. They said the delay has 
not affected their ability to prioritize or fund repair and 
construction projects, and our review of the data indicated that most 
newly identified deficiencies will not need to be addressed for 2 to 5 
years. Our review of data from 14 BIA schools and observations during 
site visits disclosed no instances in which these data problems 
resulted in an unsafe learning environment for children. 

Most measures for controlling the quality of new data BIA employees 
are entering into the system for individual schools are not working 
well. BIA has established a multilevel review process and training 
programs to help ensure that such data entries are complete and 
accurate, but BIAís contractor, in reviewing data at the end of this 
process, continues to find that nearly half of the proposed data 
entries coming through the system are inaccurate and incomplete. Data 
entries from one-third of 102 schools that entered data show a 100-
percent error rate. As a result, BIA officials continue to rely on 
their contractor to ensure that FMIS reflects accurate and complete 
data on the condition of BIAís facilities. 

what GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that BIA establish better guidance and performance 
expectations for employees who are responsible for entering and 
reviewing the accuracy and completeness of FMIS data. GAO also 
recommends that BIA officials periodically analyze the extent and type 
of data errors being found during review in order to identify training 
needs and other strategies for addressing any continuing problems.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-692.

To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Marnie S. Shaul (202) 
512-6778.

[End of section]

Contents:

Letter:

Results in Brief:

Background:

FMIS's Design Addresses Previous Information System's Shortcomings and 
Appears to Have the Capability to Meet BIA's Needs:

Inventory and Backlog Data Have Been Validated, but Not Transferred to 
FMIS:

Control Measures in Place for Ensuring Data Quality Are Largely 
Ineffective:

Conclusion:

Recommendation for Executive Action:

Agency Comments on Our Evaluation:

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior:

Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Staff Acknowledgments:

Tables:

Table 1. Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks:

Table 2: School Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used 
by Children:

Table 3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 
2002:

Table 4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME's 100 Percent 
Validation in 1999:

Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14 
Schools:

Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102 Schools 
Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002.

Figure:

Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline:

Abbreviations:

AME: Applied Management Engineering, Inc.

BIA: Bureau of Indian Affairs:

FACCOM: Facility Construction Operations and Maintenance:

FMIS: Facilities Management Information System:

O&M: operations and maintenance:

OFMC: Office of Facilities Management and Constructions:

United States General Accounting Office:

Washington, DC 20548:

July 31, 2003:

Congressional Committees:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which is responsible for ensuring 
that over 48,000 Indian students have school facilities that provide 
them with a safe and quality place to learn, works with Indian tribes 
to operate and maintain nearly 2,200 buildings at 171 elementary and 
secondary schools.[Footnote 1] During fiscal year 2002, BIA's budget 
for operating, maintaining, constructing, and repairing its school 
facilities was nearly $348 million. For many years, BIA and tribal 
employees have been tracking the condition of their school facilities 
using an automated information system. Tribal Indian education 
organizations[Footnote 2] and BIA have had longstanding concerns that 
the information system was inadequate for managing school facilities 
and did not accurately reflect how many buildings are in good condition 
or disrepair. As a result, BIA did not have accurate and complete 
information to determine how much annual funding is needed at each 
school site for heating, lighting, and other operating expenses, as 
well as how much current and future funding is needed at each site for 
making repairs and capital improvements, such as patching a roof or 
upgrading a fire alarm system.

Recognizing the need to address these concerns, BIA is now in its third 
year of implementing a new Facilities Management Information System 
(FMIS) to replace its old information system.[Footnote 3] Prior to 
implementing FMIS, however, and to ensure that this new system met 
BIA's management needs, BIA hired a consulting firm to identify 
weaknesses with the old system and recommend improvements for designing 
a new one. Once the new system was designed and BIA was prepared to 
implement it, BIA hired an engineering firm to validate all of the data 
to be transferred from the old system into FMIS to ensure that the data 
were accurate and complete. To maintain the integrity of these data 
over time, BIA also introduced various quality control measures for 
helping ensure that facility management staff would accurately enter 
new data into FMIS. Because of concerns about the quality of the data 
in the former system, the Congress directed us to conduct a review in 
this area.[Footnote 4] After discussions with cognizant congressional 
committees and several Indian education organizations about the 
information that would be most helpful, we focused our efforts on (1) 
whether BIA's new facilities management information system addresses 
the former system's shortcomings and meets BIA's needs for managing 
school facilities; (2) the status of BIA's effort to validate the 
accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred from the old 
system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA's quality control measures are 
working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are accurate and 
complete.

To conduct our review of BIA's new information system, we reviewed the 
studies that evaluated BIA's old information system and determined the 
extent that BIA's new system implements recommendations. We evaluated 
data currently in the FMIS database and accompanied BIA's contractor on 
selected site visits designed to validate and update information in the 
database. We also interviewed school officials at 8 BIA-funded schools 
in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota. We selected these schools to 
obtain a mix based on differences in their size, geographic location, 
and type of school, such as day school or boarding school. We also 
interviewed officials from BIA's Office of Facilities Management and 
Construction, Division of Safety and Risk Management, and Office of 
Indian Education Programs, as well as officials from various Indian 
education organizations. See appendix I for a more complete description 
of our scope and methodology.

We conducted our work between June 2002 and July 2003 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards.

Results in Brief:

FMIS is designed to address the previous information system's 
shortcomings and appears to have the capability to meet BIA's needs for 
managing its school facilities if the data that are entered are correct 
and timely. Problems with the old system included difficulty of use and 
inaccurate data. FMIS is designed as an easy-to-use system that allows 
facility managers at the schools to enter data without having to 
remember lengthy codes or compute calculations by hand. Many facility 
managers at the schools we visited said FMIS is easier to use and 
contains features that address weaknesses they had identified with the 
previous system. FMIS also has features that can help BIA employees 
make accurate and consistent data entries, including more specific 
categories and priority rankings for repairs and improvements, and a 
software tool that helps facility managers develop cost estimates for 
repair, replacement, or construction projects. FMIS incorporates 
several modules to provide BIA managers with enough information to help 
them make consistent decisions for disbursing funds across the schools 
and for accurately and consistently prioritizing repair projects and 
capital improvements.

BIA's engineering contractor has identified needed corrections to the 
inventory and condition data that were transferred to FMIS from the old 
information system, but BIA has not made all of the data corrections in 
FMIS. As of October 2002, FMIS contained information on almost 2,200 
buildings at 171 elementary and secondary schools and showed an 
estimated cost of over $642 million for repairs, capital improvements, 
and construction to improve the facilities' condition and meet changing 
program needs. Regarding the inventory data used to provide schools 
with annual funds for operations and maintenance (O&M), BIA's 
contractor completed its data validation effort in February 2003, and 
BIA expects that the FMIS data will be updated by August 2003. BIA 
officials expect that this corrected inventory data will enhance their 
ability to provide schools with the appropriate amount of funding 
beginning in fiscal year 2004. Regarding the data used to identify and 
prioritize repair projects and capital improvements, BIA's contractor 
has been completing its cyclical review of the condition of school 
facilities on time. The contractor completed its first review of all 
school sites in 1999, identifying almost 75,000 adjustments that 
increased the list of repairs and improvements by more than $265 
million. In fiscal year 2002, the contractor visited 33 schools and 
identified corrections to add, delete, or adjust the FMIS data. 
However, because of issues such as software compatibility problems 
between the contractor's system and FMIS, BIA had not entered the 
results of these condition assessments into FMIS for over 1 year. BIA 
and contractor officials said that these compatibility problems are 
being addressed and that the delay did not significantly affect BIA's 
ability to appropriately prioritize or fund repair and construction 
projects or negatively affect the children's learning environment. Our 
review of the data for 14 of the schools showed that none of the 
unentered data were for urgent or safety deficiencies that needed 
immediate attention; most were maintenance deficiencies that would need 
attention over the next 2 to 5 years. Further, in our visits to 8 BIA 
schools, we did not observe that the children were in facilities that 
did not provide them with a safe place to learn.

The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on 
BIA employees entering correct and timely information, but control 
measures BIA has established for ensuring data quality have been 
largely ineffective. BIA established a process whereby each data entry 
proposed by school facility managers is reviewed for accuracy by BIA 
engineering personnel at both an agency and a regional office, with 
final review and approval by BIA's engineering contractor and the 
central office before being accepted into FMIS. Despite this process, 
however, BIA's contractor continues to find that nearly half of data 
entries proposed by facility managers and approved by agency and 
regional office personnel are inaccurate and incomplete, with a third 
of 102 schools that entered data experiencing a 100 percent error rate. 
Despite these ongoing problems, BIA officials have not established 
criteria and performance goals that define their expectations for the 
accuracy and completeness of data entered into FMIS. In addition, BIA 
officials do not analyze the number and content of data errors that 
would allow them to identify the type of additional guidance or 
training needed, or target locations that could benefit from more 
comprehensive technical assistance. BIA officials responsible for FMIS 
said that one reason they have not taken such action is because they 
had no line authority over the BIA employees that enter and review the 
FMIS data, and such action would have had to occur at a higher level 
within BIA. BIA officials said that an ongoing reorganization of the 
agency and collaboration between BIA offices offers an opportunity to 
address performance issues of BIA staff. Until BIA employee performance 
improves, BIA officials responsible for FMIS continue to rely on their 
contractor to ensure that FMIS reflects accurate and complete data 
about the condition of BIA's facilities.

We are making recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of the 
Interior to direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and the 
Office of Indian Education Programs to take steps to improve the 
ability of BIA employees to maintain the integrity of FMIS data. These 
recommendations include establishing criteria, guidance, and 
performance measures for maintaining accurate, complete, and timely 
FMIS data. These recommendations also include a requirement to 
periodically analyze the number and content of data errors in order to 
identify strategies for correcting and preventing them.

Background:

BIA administers funding for the operation, maintenance, construction, 
and repair of school facilities at 171 elementary and secondary schools 
in 23 states. These schools are located primarily in rural areas and 
small towns and serve Indian students living on or near reservations. 
Many of these schools include not only educational buildings, but also 
dormitories and supporting infrastructure such as water and sewer 
systems. BIA operates 64 of the schools directly while the others are 
operated by tribes through separate grant or contract agreements. We 
previously reported on issues related to the condition of BIA school 
facilities in 1997 and 2001.[Footnote 5]

BIA's Office of Facilities Management and Construction (OFMC) is 
responsible for overseeing FMIS. At both BIA-operated and tribal-
operated schools, it is the responsibility of the facility managers to 
enter data about the inventory and condition of their schools into the 
system. Prior to acceptance into FMIS, these draft data entries are 
reviewed and approved by facility managers at BIA agency and regional 
offices respectively, before final review and approval by a BIA 
contractor and BIA's central office.

For 22 years BIA relied on its Facility Construction Operations and 
Maintenance (FACCOM) system to maintain inventory data for its annual 
O&M program, as well as "backlog" data that reflect repairs and 
improvements needed outside of the annual maintenance program to 
improve the facilities' condition now and in the future. These data 
assist BIA in monitoring the status of facilities repair and new 
construction projects and identifying funding needs for O&M and 
renovation. However, as BIA's needs began to change, BIA managers 
realized that FACCOM had limitations and acknowledged that there were 
serious concerns with the accuracy and completeness of these data.

As shown in figure 1, BIA's efforts to replace FACCOM began in 1995 
when one of its contractors issued a report about the FACCOM system's 
shortcomings and recommended actions for improvement. In 1995, BIA 
entered into a contract with Anteon Corporation, a system developer, to 
design the new management information system. Relying on government 
standards,[Footnote 6] BIA worked with Anteon Corporation to design the 
new system and address FACCOM's shortcomings. In 1999, BIA contracted 
with an engineering firm, Applied Management Engineering, Inc. (AME), 
to conduct a survey at all school sites in order to validate the 
schools' condition data and to verify the presence of buildings and 
their use. According to BIA officials, after AME validated each 
school's inventory and condition data, and BIA approved it, the data 
were accepted into FMIS.

Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline:

[See PDF for image]

[A] PL. 107-110 required BIA to update the data in FMIS every 3 years.

[End of figure]

From fiscal years 1995 through 2002, BIA spent nearly $12.5 million to 
develop and begin implementing FMIS. These costs include about $8 
million for contractor expenses and over $2.6 million for BIA in-house 
expenses, which covered the design of FMIS and ongoing technical 
support. During fiscal years 1999-2003, BIA spent about $13 million for 
the AME contract covering the validation of inventory and condition 
data and other engineering support activities. To operate FMIS, BIA 
expects to spend about $1.7 million annually through fiscal year 2006 
for contractor expenses and about $250,000 for in-house expenses. In 
fiscal year 2007, BIA hopes to move to an annual steady rate of about 
$750,000 for contractor costs and about $250,000 for in-house costs. To 
continue having AME reassess and validate the schools' inventory and 
condition data, BIA projects to spend over $8.3 million from fiscal 
years 2004 through 2006 on contract expenses.

FMIS' Design Addresses Previous Information System's Shortcomings and 
Appears to Have the Capability to Meet BIA's Needs:

Recognizing the FACCOM system's shortcomings, BIA worked with its 
system developer to design a new management information system that 
would assist in resolving many of the weaknesses identified with the 
old system, including those related to difficulty of use and accuracy 
of data. FMIS is more user friendly and it is designed to meet facility 
managers' needs at all levels within BIA by serving as both an 
information management system and as a project management tool. FMIS 
incorporates modules, including the inventory and backlog modules, 
which help facility managers make decisions regarding the condition of 
the school facilities to provide a safe environment for their students. 
The inventory module contains information such as the physical 
characteristics and use of buildings and is used to make funding 
decisions for annual operating expenses and routine maintenance. The 
backlog module contains data that tracks detailed information about the 
physical condition of a school's facility and is used to prioritize and 
fund repair projects, capital improvements, and construction.

FMIS Is Designed to Resolve Shortcomings with the Previous Information 
System:

FMIS is designed to better support the day-to-day activities of the 
facility management staff by being more user friendly. FMIS is a 
Windows-based system that provides a point-and-click feature, which 
makes it easy to navigate the system without having to remember codes. 
This is important for FMIS users, because some facility managers have 
little prior exposure to computers. Facility managers we interviewed at 
the school sites and agency and regional offices said that compared to 
FACCOM, FMIS is better and easier to use. One facility manager in 
Arizona said FMIS is easier to use because the system automatically 
sends messages to him when changes are made to the data, allowing him 
to instantly see when updates have been made to his school's data. 
Another facility manager in Arizona said FMIS's automated functions, 
such as drop-down menus, make it user friendly. Finally, according to 
BIA officials, FACCOM was only accessible by about 3-4 percent of 
facility managers, which did not include facility managers located at 
the schools. FMIS is designed to be accessible by all of BIA's facility 
managers, including those at the school sites, via an Internet 
connection. Although most of the facility managers we visited at the 
schools said FMIS was better compared to FACCOM, many had been unable 
to access FMIS at school sites since December of 2001 due to a court 
order that shut down access to BIA's Internet site.[Footnote 7] These 
facility managers had to travel to agency or regional offices to enter 
data or had to forward data to these offices for data entry.

FMIS is also designed to help BIA employees improve the accuracy of the 
data, in part through automated mechanisms that help facility managers 
consistently describe the category and rank of backlog entries and the 
funding needed to address them.[Footnote 8] One difficulty under FACCOM 
was that entries listed in the backlog were often categorized 
incorrectly with inflated priorities, making it difficult to determine 
which projects needed immediate attention. To address this problem, 
FMIS is designed to restrict who can enter safety deficiencies, which 
are given first priority for funding. In addition, FMIS is designed to 
only accept entries that have been reviewed and approved by three 
different levels of BIA management and the contractor. Further, BIA 
refined the definitions of how backlog items should be categorized and 
ranked to help facility managers use the definitions consistently. The 
definitions now include nine categories and a ranking system for 
determining the priority of the items entered into the backlog (see 
table 1). These nine categories describe whether the deficiency at the 
school affects safety and endangers students' lives; violates an 
environmental, disability, or energy standard; is a maintenance or 
capital improvement item; or requires an emergency repair. In addition, 
the system ranks items using a scale from one through three--with one 
describing the most severe deficiency. The backlog entries ranked as a 
"1" will most likely be funded first because they are the highest 
priority. FMIS requires facility managers to enter an associated 
category and rank for all items entered into the backlog. Such a 
process, with its greater specificity in how to categorize and rank 
deficiencies, can help facility managers improve consistency in the 
data entered for all 171 schools.

Table 1: Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks:

Category of violation: Emergency; Code and rank: U-1--an unforeseen 
event in which danger exists that could reasonably be expected to cause 
death, physical harm, or property damage.

Category of violation: Safety; Code and rank: S-1--serious deficiency 
that poses a threat to safety and health, such as fire safety 
violations; S-2--moderate deficiency such as poor lighting or trip or 
fall hazards.

Category of violation: Physical plant; (maintenance); Code and rank: M-
1--deficiency related to the structural, mechanical, or electrical 
systems that render it inoperable, such as the deterioration of a roof 
that causes interior building damage; M-2--deficiency related to the 
facility, systems, or grounds, such as replacing worn door locks that 
are inoperable; M-3--functional facility equipment exceeds its normal 
life expectancy.

Category of violation: Handicapped; Code and rank: H-1--serious code 
deficiency, such as the lack of accessible door hardware; H-2--
violation of codes and standards, such as the lack of code compliant 
accessible handrails.

Category of violation: Environmental; Code and rank: X-1--serious code 
deficiency that poses a threat to life or property, such as removing 
friable asbestos in occupied areas; X-2--code deficiency, such as 
removing asbestos floor tiles from a building.

Category of violation: Predictive renewals; Code and rank: R-3--
backlogs identified for future planning to determine the life cycle 
needs beyond the 5-year plan.

Category of violation: New construction; Code and rank: C-1--to replace 
buildings with serious code/safety deficiencies or to abate numerous 
high cost code violations that meet or exceed the replacement cost 
rule; C-2--to accommodate functional or programmatic needs, such as 
replacing an undersized dining room to accommodate the student 
population.

Category of violation: Programmatic capital improvements; Code and 
rank: P-2--to change the functional space or to accommodate 
programmatic space needs, such as retrofitting an existing classroom 
into a computer laboratory.

Category of violation: Energy; Code and rank: E-2--violation of energy 
codes and standards, such as upgrading or replacing inefficient heating 
systems; E-3--deficiencies, which when corrected will reduce energy 
use, such as replacing weather seals on exterior doors.

Source: BIA data.

[End of table]

To help facility managers develop accurate and consistent cost 
estimates to address backlog items, FMIS is designed to operate with a 
software program that helps facility managers accomplish industry 
standard cost estimates for replacement, renovation, or construction 
projects over $5,000. A facility manager at a school site we visited 
said that this software tool eliminates the need to make calculations 
by hand, and thus greatly assists him in estimating accurate costs for 
school projects.

Another accuracy-related area that plagued FACCOM was that projects 
would continue on the active backlog list even after completion. The 
FMIS backlog module is designed with a "backlog completion screen" that 
stores completion dates, costs, and narrative comments. This function 
helps facility managers monitor the length of time that funded backlog 
items remained on the backlog without being completed. Unlike FACCOM, 
FMIS is designed with a tracking function that identifies the name of 
the person who entered or updated a particular backlog item. Managers 
can use this function to seek clarification or justification for items 
that have not been completed within a reasonable timeframe.

FMIS Is Designed to Assist BIA in Making Funding Decisions for Annual 
Operating Expenses and Routine Maintenance:

The FMIS inventory module, one of six modules in the system,[Footnote 
9] is designed to assist BIA in determining operations and maintenance 
funding for its school facilities. Specifically, the inventory module 
is designed to manage information about all of BIA's school buildings, 
rooms, towers (such as a water tower), and grounds, along with their 
associated inventory items, such as stairs, sidewalks, or playgrounds. 
The inventory module also details if the property is owned, operated, 
or maintained by BIA directly or under contract or grant. The inventory 
module is designed with the capacity to integrate with other FMIS 
modules in order to generate reports and provide detailed documentation 
for federal funding purposes.

At the schools we visited, several facility managers said the inventory 
function in FMIS helps them to better manage their school facilities. 
For example, one school facility manager in Arizona said FMIS helps him 
more accurately keep track of his school's inventory and allowed him to 
enter the information that is necessary for BIA to make good funding 
decisions. Another facility manager in South Dakota said that because 
only one staff person can enter information into the inventory module, 
his school is able to maintain consistency in inventory changes and 
additions.

FMIS Is Designed to Help BIA Prioritize and Justify Funding for Repair 
Projects and Capital Improvements:

The FMIS backlog module is designed to help BIA officials prioritize 
and make funding decisions for needed repair projects and capital 
improvements. The backlog collects and tracks condition data related to 
deficiencies, capital improvements, or construction for specific 
inventory items, such as classrooms, sidewalks, or utility systems. 
These data are entered into FMIS by a facility manager, by safety 
officers as a part of a safety inspection, or by BIA's contractor. 
Although the backlog module can store information about any identified 
deficiency, the only items that are reported as part of BIA's backlog 
are those with an estimated cost of more than $1,000 to fix. These 
deficiencies, which may be grouped together to form repair, 
replacement, or construction projects are maintained in the backlog 
until funded and complete. During our site visits, many of the facility 
managers said the backlog module helped them to better manage their 
facilities. For example, one school facility manager in Arizona said 
FMIS's ability to store digital pictures was helpful because a picture 
of a deficiency could be sent to the regional facility manager and 
reviewed without the facility manager traveling nearly 284 miles to the 
school.

Facility managers at schools use the information in the backlog module 
to justify funding needs for repair projects and capital improvements 
at their schools. BIA management officials allocating funding among the 
schools said the data in the backlog module allow them to determine 
which deficiencies are related to student safety and need to be 
addressed immediately, and which are related to capital improvements, 
such as roof replacement, that are planned for the future. BIA 
officials said they use the backlog data to help improve the physical 
condition of their schools in order to provide a safe and healthy 
learning environment for the students.

Inventory and Backlog Data Have Been Validated, but Not Transferred to 
FMIS:

BIA's engineering contractor has corrected the inventory and backlog 
data that existed in the old data system, but BIA has not transferred 
all corrected information to the new FMIS. The contractor completed its 
validation of the inventory data in February 2003, and BIA plans to 
transfer the corrected data into the FMIS by August 2003. BIA officials 
expect that the corrected inventory data, in conjunction with 
improvement to the existing funding formula,[Footnote 10] will enhance 
their ability to better match funding with annual expenses for 
utilities and routine maintenance at each school site. For the backlog 
data, BIA's contractor is in the third year of the second cycle review 
of the condition of BIA-funded schools as planned. In fiscal year 2002, 
the contractor visited 33 schools and identified corrections to add, 
delete, or adjust the FMIS data. BIA, however, had not entered the 
results of these condition assessments into FMIS for over 1 year. BIA 
officials attribute the long delays in correcting the FMIS condition 
data to a revised process for verifying contractor data and to software 
compatibility problems that they say are being addressed.

Contractor Has Finished Correcting Inventory Data; BIA Plans to 
Transfer the Data into FMIS Later in 2003:

The FMIS inventory module contains data on BIA facilities, including 
almost 2,200 separate buildings that are occupied by or used for BIA-
funded schools. More than 50 percent (1,146) of the buildings are used 
directly by children, as shown in table 2.

Table 2: School Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used 
by Children:

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Schools; Number of 
buildings: 796.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Dormitories; Number of 
buildings: 153.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Gymnasium/sports 
facilities; Number of buildings: 49.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Multipurpose/auditorium; 
Number of buildings: 64.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Library; Number of 
buildings: 21.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Kitchen/cafeteria; Number 
of buildings: 63.

Buildings in the inventory used by children: Total; Number of 
buildings: 1,146.

Source: BIA data.

Note: Most of the remaining buildings included: fire stations, shops, 
garages, pump houses, heating and utility plants, sewage and water 
treatment plants, warehouses, storage facilities, communications 
facilities and equipment, animal shelters, and greenhouses.

[End of table]

Accurate and up-to-date inventory data are crucial to the operation of 
the entire FMIS because other modules rely on inventory data for 
planning and prioritizing the work and for identifying and prioritizing 
funding needs. For example:

* School facility managers access inventory data when planning and 
scheduling routine maintenance of their facilities, grounds, and 
equipment. For example, one FMIS module acts as a scheduling tool to 
inform facilities managers about work, such as preventive maintenance, 
that needs to be done to buildings, equipment, and other physical 
assets listed in the inventory.

* BIA's Office of Facilities Management and Construction uses inventory 
data in the formula that determines the amount of operations and 
maintenance funding allocated to each school location. Distribution of 
this funding is calculated using a formula that includes such inventory 
data as the square footage of rooms in each building and systems that 
support the facility such as heating and cooling systems. Funding 
distributions have been a particular source of contention for Office of 
Indian Education officials, who told us that inaccuracies in the 
inventory data have led to inequities in how the money is apportioned. 
Accurate data that are collected using a methodology that is consistent 
from site to site is a necessary component for demonstrating the 
fairness of the process.

BIA's engineering contractor, AME, has remained on schedule in its 
effort to improve the accuracy of the inventory information currently 
in FMIS. In conducting this effort, AME visited each school and 
collected inventory data using a standardized, industry-based approach 
to help ensure that information on all facilities is uniformly 
collected and recorded. AME completed the first phase of this effort in 
2000, when it visited each school to verify and update the inventory 
data listed in the FACCOM before its transfer to FMIS in that year, 
according to a BIA official. This phase, which focused on the more 
general aspects of the inventory, was aimed at such matters as 
identifying which buildings were still in use, the use of the facility, 
and who owns it. AME completed the second phase of the improvement 
effort in February 2003. This second phase, which took longer than the 
first phase, involved a more extensive measurement of the buildings and 
updated the drawings of floor space, grounds, infrastructure, and 
utility lines. BIA's current plans call for replacing the existing data 
in FMIS with this updated and corrected data by August 2003.

Our preliminary review of the new data generated during the second 
phase of AME's work indicates that the inventory figures may change 
considerably for some schools. At our request, AME officials provided 
revised square footage data for more than 90 buildings (such as 
classroom buildings, dormitories, multipurpose buildings, and offices) 
at 13 different schools. Overall, the revised measurements for these 
buildings decreased the total square footage by about 3 percent, but 
the range in increases and decreases at each school varied 
significantly. For 9 of the schools the decrease in square footage 
ranged from less than 1 percent to more than 13 percent; increases for 
the remaining 4 schools, ranged from less than 1 percent to almost 18 
percent. We do not know if these results will be typical for all 
schools.[Footnote 11] One BIA official indicated, however, that some 
schools were likely to experience greater changes than others in the 
square footage that would qualify for O&M funding.

BIA officials said that the improved data, along with improvements to 
the funding formula, will help ensure the various schools that their 
share of O&M funding was objectively and accurately determined. 
However, whether this corrected inventory data will be transferred to 
FMIS in time for making fiscal year 2004 funding decisions is 
uncertain. BIA may yet face some implementation problems as it moves 
into the final months of putting this information in place. For 
example, during 2002, BIA attempted to run the O&M funding formula 
using the existing FMIS inventory data for the first time and 
experienced problems with the data and software. While the agency has 
had a year to work out these problems, introduction of the updated 
inventory data may hold its own unforeseen problems. If such problems 
are encountered and remain unresolved, a BIA official told us that the 
agency would continue to use the data currently in the system to 
allocate the O&M funding for fiscal year 2004.

Contractor Is on Schedule in Validating Backlog Data, but BIA Is Behind 
Schedule in Incorporating the Updated Information:

The backlog data in FMIS reflects actions and funding needed to improve 
the condition of facilities and infrastructure at the various schools 
now and in the future. Most of the items listed in the backlog provide 
detail for repairs needed over the next 5 years to correct what is 
wrong with a facility such as a leaky roof, the presence of asbestos, 
or a violation of handicapped codes and standards. However, FMIS also 
includes entries for capital improvements that will need to be 
addressed beyond 5 years to upgrade specific building components such 
as replacing lighting and power systems, siding, and carpeting as well 
as future construction to replace, renovate, and add buildings to 
accommodate program needs.[Footnote 12] Accurate and up-to-date backlog 
data are important because FMIS contains formulas that use these data 
to allow BIA to make informed decisions not only about which projects 
are in greatest need of attention, but also how much money is needed to 
fund them each year. As of October 2002, for example, BIA schools had a 
backlog of unfunded repairs and improvements with an estimated cost 
over $640 million (see table 3); FMIS shows that almost two-thirds of 
this amount may be needed within the next 5 years.

Table 3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 
2002:

Dollars in millions.

Emergency--a danger exists that could cause physical harm or property 
damage, such as severe damage to a roof from a storm; Deficiencies 
should be addressed within 1 year: $1,939[A]; Deficiencies should be 
addressed in 1 to 2 years: [Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 
3 to 5 years: [Empty]; Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: 
[Empty]; New construction and other capital improvements: [Empty]; 
Total: $1,939[A].

Safety--deficiency that affects safety and health, such as fire 
safety; Deficiencies should be addressed within 1 year: 65,304; 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 years: $20,700; Deficiencies 
should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: $62; Planned work scheduled for 5 
to 10 years: [Empty]; New construction and other capital improvements: 
[Empty]; Total: 86,066.

Physical plant (maintenance)--structural, mechanical, or electrical 
deficiency, such as aging roof or defective boiler; Deficiencies 
should be addressed within 1 year: 32,960; Deficiencies should be 
addressed in 1 to 2 years: 53,499; Deficiencies should be addressed in 
3 to 5 years: 154,115; Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: 
[Empty]; New construction and other capital improvements: [Empty]; 
Total: 240,573.

Handicapped--violates code and standards, such as lack of accessible 
door hardware; Deficiencies should be addressed within 1 year: 1,926; 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 years: 14,989; Deficiencies 
should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: 63; Planned work scheduled for 5 
to 10 years: [Empty]; New construction and other capital improvements: 
[Empty]; Total: 16,978.

Environmental--deficiency such as the presence of friable asbestos in 
occupied areas or leaking storage tanks; Deficiencies should be 
addressed within 1 year: 1,441; Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 
to 2 years: 13,766; Deficiencies should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: 
[Empty]; Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: [Empty]; New 
construction and other capital improvements: [Empty]; Total: 15,207.

Predictive renewals--to anticipate replacement of building components, 
such as carpeting or roofing systems; Deficiencies should be addressed 
within 1 year: [Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 
years: [Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: 
[Empty]; Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: $73,895[B]; New 
construction and other capital improvements: [Empty]; Total: 73,895[B].

New construction--to replace entire school or buildings; Deficiencies 
should be addressed within 1 year: [Empty]; Deficiencies should be 
addressed in 1 to 2 years: [Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 
3 to 5 years: [Empty]; Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: 
[Empty]; New construction and other capital improvements: $112,468; 
Total: 112,468.

Programmatic capital improvements--to renovate and add to buildings to 
meet program needs; Deficiencies should be addressed within 1 year: 
[Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 years: [Empty]; 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: [Empty]; Planned work 
scheduled for 5 to 10 years: [Empty]; New construction and other 
capital improvements: 42,301; Total: 42,301.

Energy--violates energy standards, such as inefficient heating or 
lighting systems; Deficiencies should be addressed within 1 year: 
[Empty]; Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 years: [Empty]; 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: 53,186; Planned work 
scheduled for 5 to 10 years: [Empty]; New construction and other 
capital improvements: [Empty]; Total: 53,186.

Total; Deficiencies should be addressed within 1 year: $103,570; (16%); 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 1 to 2 years: $102,954; (16%); 
Deficiencies should be addressed in 3 to 5 years: $207,426; (32%); 
Planned work scheduled for 5 to 10 years: $73,895; (12%); New 
construction and other capital improvements: $154,769; (24%); Total: 
$642,613; (100%).

Source: BIA data.

[A] A BIA official said that the amounts requested in the emergency 
category were for reimbursement of funds already spent to correct any 
outstanding deficiencies.

[B] The estimated amount for predictive renewals is not reported to the 
Congress as part of the backlog total because these entries are not yet 
deficiencies, but BIA is anticipating the time period in which they 
will become deficiencies and need to be addressed, according to a BIA 
official.

[End of table]

AME currently validates the backlog for each school in a 3-year cycle. 
During its first review, in 1999, AME conducted a 100-percent 
validation of the backlog data prior to transferring that data from the 
old FACCOM system to the new FMIS backlog module. In that review, AME 
updated the backlog data by confirming entries already in the system, 
updating the costs estimated to conduct the work, deleting entries for 
duplicate items or completed work, and identifying new entries. Results 
of the validation effort, as shown in table 4, increased the backlog by 
more than $265 million; almost 28 percent of the total backlog of $960 
million that existed in 1999.

Table 4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME's 100-Percent 
Validation in 1999:

Change to backlog data: New deficiencies; Number 
of changes: 39,143; Cost change: $865,850.

Change to backlog data: Modifications; Number of 
changes: 14,579; Cost change: a.

Change to backlog data: Completed work; Number of 
changes: 6,964; Cost change: (169,928).

Change to backlog data: Deleted (duplicate 
entries); Number of changes: 14,186; Cost change: (430,348).

Change to backlog data: Total changes; Number of 
changes: 74,872; Cost change: $265,574.

Source: BIA data.

[A] Data were not available.

[End of table]

AME has since started the second review of each school, which consists 
of updating this information for a certain percentage of the facilities 
each year. AME updated 20 percent of the facilities in each year 2001 
and 2002. For 2003, AME is on track to increase the percentage of 
facilities reviewed each year to 34 percent to comply with recent 
changes in the law.[Footnote 13] These updates involve visually 
inspecting the architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical 
components of each facility to determine if action is still needed and 
to update the estimated costs. In addition, AME identifies new 
deficiencies, including the extent to which handicapped accessibility 
requirements are met, and verifying estimated costs.

Our review of some updates conducted during fiscal year 2002 indicates 
that AME's reviews will continue to result in substantial changes in 
backlog data. We obtained data for 14 of the schools reviewed between 
February and April 2002.[Footnote 14] For the 14 schools, the AME 
update resulted in a net increase of almost $11 million (see table 5) 
in the unfunded FMIS backlog of more than $39 million, an increase of 
about 28 percent. Part of the change involved modifications to 
deficiencies already in the backlog inventory, such as revising cost 
estimates and deleting projects that had been completed or no longer 
needed but were still listed in the backlog as ongoing. However, a 
large part of the change involved adding new deficiencies to the 
backlog. In all, there were almost 650 new backlog entries, and more 
than 75 percent of these entries were for deficiencies identified at 
school facilities and dormitories, where children are the primary 
occupants.[Footnote 15] For example, there were more than 200 entries 
for dormitories with an estimated cost of almost $4 million. None of 
these entries were for urgent or safety deficiencies that needed 
immediate attention; most were maintenance deficiencies that will need 
attention over the next 2 to 5 years, such as repairing lighting and 
plumbing systems, carpeting, and ceilings.

Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14 
Schools:

Dollars in millions.

Physical plant (maintenance); Net cost change to backlog: $5,536.

Safety; Net cost change to backlog: (329).

Environmental; Net cost change to backlog: (76).

Handicapped; Net cost change to backlog: 1,120.

New construction--school replacement; Net cost change to backlog: 
1,903.

Programmatic capital improvements--renovations to meet program needs; 
Net cost change to backlog: 1,140.

Energy; Net cost change to backlog: 228.

Predictive renewals; Net cost change to backlog: 1,397.

Total change; Net cost change to backlog: $10,919.

Source: BIA data.

[End of table]

While the contractor's field assessments are proceeding on schedule, 
there have been significant delays in incorporating the 2002 updated 
backlog data into FMIS. In fiscal year 2001, the first year of the 
updates, the contractor assessed the condition of 39 schools and 
transferred the data from its information system to the FMIS without 
problems, according to BIA and contractor officials. However, officials 
said that in fiscal year 2002, the untimely transfer of data from the 
field assessments to the contractor's information system[Footnote 16] 
and software compatibility problems between the contractor's 
information system and FMIS delayed the update of backlog data for 33 
schools for over a year. These implementation problems occurred for 
such reasons as the following:

* BIA added a new function to the FMIS, which took 6 months to 
implement, rather than the 2 months that they had planned, according to 
a BIA official. This new function involved using the FMIS, for the 
first time, to generate the O&M funding amounts to be distributed to 
the various schools.

* A change to the backlog category and ranking system in FMIS created 
duplicate entries that took time to resolve. In the 2002 assessments, 
some deficiencies that were already in the system were recategorized, 
and when the update was transferred to FMIS a duplicate entry was 
created instead of overwriting the old entry. According to BIA and 
contractor officials, this software compatibility problem has largely 
been addressed. As of April 2003, data for 27 of the 33 schools had 
been entered into FMIS.

A BIA official told us that delays in introducing these updates into 
the FMIS backlog could have some impact on their ability to prioritize 
or fund repair and capital improvement projects, but not a significant 
impact for two reasons. First, the deficiencies that receive the 
highest points in the project ranking system are safety deficiencies, 
which are identified and updated in an annual safety inspection by 
BIA's safety officers and not AME. Second, the most critical 
deficiencies at the schools were identified in the first assessment in 
1999, and during this second assessment, AME is finding very few 
deficiencies that would be funded within 1 to 2 years that were not 
already in the system. However, one official acknowledged that since 
the FMIS ranks the schools for major repair and capital improvement 
projects based on the points applied to each deficiency, if AME's 
assessment indicated an increase in the severity of a deficiency and 
that change was not reflected in the system, that school could be 
ranked lower than if the data were up to date.

Our site visits to 8 BIA-funded schools did not disclose any instances 
where serious problems were not being addressed. While facilities 
management staff and school principals pointed out problems with their 
facilities, we did not observe that the children were in an unsafe 
learning environment with obvious safety or repair issues. The problems 
we observed were either of a less serious nature, or if serious, were 
being addressed in some form. For example, at a boarding school in 
Arizona the principal said that the fire alarm system for the school 
building and dormitory had been improperly installed and had to be 
replaced. While waiting for the funding for a new system, which had 
been approved, they had to use funds from the school budget to hire 
extra people to stand fire watch 24 hours a day.

Control Measures in Place for Ensuring Data Quality Are Largely 
Ineffective:

The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on 
BIA employees entering correct and timely information, but review 
processes and training programs BIA has established for ensuring data 
quality have been largely ineffective. Although adherence to federal 
control standards[Footnote 17] are a major part of providing reasonable 
assurance that the objectives of the agency are being achieved, half of 
the entries proposed by BIA employees are incorrect or incomplete and 
are flagged by BIA's contractor. Discussions with BIA employees 
indicate that some employees are unclear about their responsibilities 
in maintaining the accuracy of FMIS data, and the high error rates in 
data entry indicate that additional training is needed in some 
locations to improve performance. BIA has not analyzed the information 
it has available about the content and origination of the data errors 
to determine the type of additional training that might be needed or to 
target locations with the highest error rates for technical assistance. 
Further, BIA has not established criteria or performance goals that 
define its expectations for the accuracy and completeness of the data 
for employees that enter and review this information. BIA's Office of 
Facilities Management and Construction, which manages FMIS, did not 
until recently have authority to establish criteria or performance 
goals for agency and regional office personnel that are responsible for 
reviewing and approving data entries by school facility managers. BIA's 
OFMC still does not have similar authority over school facility 
managers who originate most data entries. Under BIA's current 
organization, such action would have to be taken by the Office of 
Indian Education Programs.

Despite BIA Review Process, Its Contractor Rejects Half of All FMIS 
Data Entries:

BIA established a multilevel review process as a control to prevent 
problems related to inaccurate and incomplete data entries to BIA's 
information system. In this process, each entry that school facility 
managers propose for the backlog is first reviewed and approved by BIA 
facility management personnel at an agency and a regional office before 
it is sent to BIA's contractor, AME, for review and approval,[Footnote 
18] with final approval by BIA's central office. After approval has 
been obtained from each level, the status of the entry is changed from 
"draft" to "accepted" in FMIS, according to BIA.

Although BIA established this multilevel review process to improve the 
quality of the data entered into FMIS, AME continues to reject half of 
the proposed entries because they are inaccurate and incomplete. For 
example, between August 2001 and December 2002, out of more than 650 
entries to the backlog made by facilities management staff from 102 
schools, more than 300, or almost 50 percent, were rejected by the 
contractor. BIA documents show that the incidence of the errors among 
the 102 schools was widespread. In all, 73 of the 102 schools entering 
data had one or more entries disapproved, and 33 of them had all 
entries disapproved (see table 6).

Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102 Schools 
Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 0; Number of schools in each 
category: 29.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 1-25; Number of schools in each 
category: 12.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 26-50; Number of schools in each 
category: 12.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 51-74; Number of schools in each 
category: 12.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 75-99; Number of schools in each 
category: 4.

Percentage of entries disapproved: 100; Number of schools in each 
category: 33.

Source: BIA data.

[End of table]

Roles and Responsibilities May Be Unclear to Employees Reviewing Data 
Entries:

Facility management staff at the regional and agency offices appear to 
have the necessary background to fulfill their responsibilities for 
screening and correcting inaccurate and incomplete data entries; 
however, it may be unclear to some reviewers what their role is in this 
process. Federal control standards require that employees have the 
requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform their job 
appropriately and have clear roles and responsibilities outlined in 
their job descriptions. Among the facilities management staffs in the 
agency and regional offices that we interviewed, most had an 
engineering background or had significant experience in facilities 
management and they were aware that maintaining accurate and complete 
data in the FMIS was important. However, facilities managers we 
interviewed at two regional offices each had a different view about 
their role in the review process. One said that it was important that 
the backlog entries are consistent and that two staff had been 
designated to review the FMIS entries from the schools and agencies in 
the region before being sent on to the central office for review by the 
contractor. The second manager said he reviewed the entries so that he 
knew what new additions were being proposed for the backlog; he did not 
consider it his role to critique the entries for accuracy and 
completeness.

Training Program May be Insufficient to Prepare Users:

Although most BIA locations have staffs that have received training to 
use FMIS, the extent of the errors indicates that employees may not be 
receiving the kind of training needed to create accurate and complete 
data entries. Standards for internal control in the federal government 
include a commitment to competence, which includes the provision that 
employees receive the appropriate training necessary to improve their 
performance. BIA has developed a training program that is intended to 
provide FMIS users with sufficient information to operate the system. 
All FMIS users receive 40 hours of training before they are given a 
password that allows them to access the system, according to BIA; a 
review of BIA's training log indicates that about 70 percent of the 
schools have at least one staff member onsite that has received this 
training.[Footnote 19]

While training appears to be adequate in terms of providing staff with 
the basic skills needed to use the computer-based applications, what 
appears to be lacking in the training program is more specific 
instruction and guidance on the kinds of information that are needed to 
enter an accurate and complete deficiency to the backlog. BIA officials 
acknowledged that a user manual to provide this type of guidance was 
lacking and should be developed. BIA officials said developing the FMIS 
training has been a challenge because the facilities management staffs 
have different levels of knowledge about computers--for some facility 
managers, FMIS training was their first exposure to using a computer. 
The training programs were developed to meet the needs of this diverse 
group of users, according to the contractor that developed and provides 
the training. In our site visits we asked users about the training that 
they had received for using FMIS; almost all of the staff that we 
interviewed said that they were pleased with the training they received 
and believed that it had prepared them for using FMIS. In addition, 
they said that when they did have problems they contacted central 
office with questions and/or problems with using the system, the 
response was prompt and very helpful.

However, the engineering contractor indicated that the varying levels 
of experience and expertise is a difficulty affecting staff's ability 
to input data successfully. He said that there are more than 180 sites 
with education buildings for which data must be entered and the level 
of knowledge and expertise about facilities and the kinds of 
information needed for an FMIS entry varies widely--particularly in 
those sites where the turnover rate of facilities management staff is 
high. We were unable to obtain comprehensive data on the turnover rate 
for the facility management staff, but among the schools that we 
visited, the facilities managers' length of employment at their current 
location ranged from 2 years to 17 years.

BIA Does Not Use Information on Error Rates to Improve Employee 
Performance:

BIA officials have information on the number and reasons that data 
entries are rejected at each location, but said that they had not used 
this information to provide performance counseling to employees or 
modify the training and guidance in this regard. Standards for internal 
control in the federal government include the provision that employees 
receive the feedback necessary to improve their performance. Analyzing 
the extent and content of data errors would be helpful to determine the 
type and amount of additional training and guidance needed to improve 
employee performance at schools, agencies, and regional offices and 
target them appropriately for technical assistance. BIA data we 
reviewed indicated that the reasons for disapproval generally fell into 
one of four groups and were consistent with historical data entry 
problems experienced under the old FACCOM system. For example,

* more detailed description was needed for the deficiency; a roof 
repair, for example, required specific information about the kind of 
roof and its size;

* questionable cost estimates involving labor rates or material costs;

* duplicate entry for a deficiency already in the backlog; and:

* wrong category and/or rank for the entry such as categorizing the 
replacement of asbestos floor tiles as maintenance rather than 
environmental, which are funded from different sources.

Of these problems, most of the rejected backlog entries generally 
related to insufficient detail to accurately estimate the cost to 
address the deficiency, according to an AME official who reviewed and 
rejected many of these entries. The kind of detail that is needed to 
successfully enter a deficiency can be seen in an example involving the 
repair of a leaking roof. To adequately estimate the cost for this 
repair, information is needed about the size of the area that needs 
repair or replacement, the composition of the roof (such as asphalt 
shingles or tile), and other associated components (such as whether 
skylights or gutters are present and whether they also need to be 
replaced). We reviewed one entry that had been rejected by the 
contractor because it came through the review process without 
information about the roof's size or its composition.

Employees Not Held Accountable for FMIS Data Integrity:

The ineffectiveness of BIA's guidance, training, and review processes 
to minimize inaccurate or incomplete data entries by its employees 
suggests that accountability is another issue that deserves attention. 
Federal standards require that agencies clearly establish authority and 
responsibility for achieving agency goals and hold their employees 
accountable for performing their assigned responsibilities in a 
competent manner. During our review, the organization of BIA was such 
that the office that manages FMIS did not have line authority to 
establish performance criteria and standards for the BIA employees that 
entered and reviewed the FMIS data.

In April 2003, BIA announced a new organization plan. This plan may 
offer OFMC greater opportunity to establish performance criteria and 
standards for facility managers at agency and regional offices. BIA 
officials told us the reorganization would not provide OFMC with line 
authority for facility managers at schools. However, the Director of 
the Office of Indian Education programs said that his office would work 
with OFMC to establish comparable performance criteria and standards 
for school facility managers.

Conclusion:

FMIS is designed to assist BIA employees improve the quality of 
information used to manage school facilities, but the quality of the 
decisions that BIA makes for managing the operations and maintenance, 
repair, and construction of its facilities is directly dependent upon 
BIA employees entering correct and timely information. Currently, the 
FMIS data that BIA uses for making its decisions are improving as the 
data are updated by its contractor and entered into FMIS--to date the 
inventory data have been updated and the contractor is in the third 
year of assessing the condition of the schools and updating the backlog 
for the second time. However, challenges remain in BIA's efforts to 
improve the quality of data entered by its employees. Although BIA has 
implemented controls for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the 
FMIS data entered and reviewed by BIA employees, they do not work 
effectively. Without the role of the contractor as a reviewer of new 
entries by field staff and in conducting site visits to verify and 
update the data, the quality of the FMIS data could quickly become 
inaccurate and out of date. BIA has not taken the necessary steps to 
hold its staff accountable for data accuracy or to use the available 
information on why the problems exist to develop training programs and 
target technical assistance where it is needed. Such actions are needed 
if BIA is to rely on its employees, rather than the contractor, to 
ensure that it provides a safe and quality learning environment for 
Indian children.

Recommendation for Executive Action:

To better enable BIA to rely on its employees for maintaining accurate 
and complete information in the FMIS, we recommend that the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs:

* establish data standards for accuracy and completeness of FMIS data 
and related performance criteria for BIA employees who are responsible 
for entering and reviewing the data and:

* analyze available error data and use this information to provide its 
employees with the necessary training, guidance, and technical 
assistance to improve performance.

Agency Comments on Our Evaluation:

We provided a draft of this report to the Department of the Interior 
for its review and comment. Interior's comments are provided in 
appendix II. In its written comments, Interior agreed with our findings 
and recommendations and said that BIA is establishing a special working 
group to develop a plan to address our recommendations. In addition, 
BIA will consider our comments and observations as it continues to 
develop and implement the FMIS.

We will send copies of this report to the Secretary of the Department 
of Interior, relevant congressional committees, Indian education 
organizations, and other interested parties, and will make copies 
available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be 
available at no charge on GAO's Web site at http://www.gao.gov. Please 
contact me at:

(202) 512-6778 if you or your staff have any questions about this 
report. Other major contributors to this report are listed in appendix 
III.

Marnie S. Shaul 

Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues:

Signed by Marnie S. Shaul: 

List of Congressional Committees:

The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell 
Chairman 
The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye 
Vice Chairman, 
Committee on Indian Affairs 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Judd Gregg 
Chairman 
The Honorable Edward Kennedy 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Ted Stevens 
Chairman 
The Honorable Robert C. Byrd 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Appropriations 
United States Senate:

The Honorable Richard Pombo 
Chairman 
The Honorable Nick J. Rahall, II 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Resources 
House of Representatives:

The Honorable John A. Boehner 
Chairman 
The Honorable George Miller 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Education and the Workforce 
House of Representatives:

The Honorable C.W. Bill Young 
Chairman 
The Honorable David R. Obey 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Appropriations 
House of Representatives:

[End of section]

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs (BIA) new facilities management information system 
(FMIS) addresses the former system's shortcomings and meets BIA's needs 
for managing school facilities; (2) the status of BIA's effort to 
validate the accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred 
from the old system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA's quality control 
measures are working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are 
accurate and complete.

To determine the extent to which FMIS was designed to address 
weaknesses of the previous data processing system and how the new 
system meets BIA's facility management needs we reviewed contractor 
reports, BIA documentation on the FMIS, and interviewed contractors and 
BIA headquarters, regional, agency, and school facility management 
staff. First, we reviewed the needs assessment studies conducted by 
independent contractors to identify old system weaknesses and the 
recommendations made for addressing the system problems. We then 
reviewed the FMIS documentation to determine whether the system 
addressed weaknesses identified in the needs assessment. In addition, 
we conducted interviews with some of the contractors hired by BIA to 
build and implement the system. We also interviewed BIA officials at 
the Office of Facilities Management and Construction, the Division of 
Safety and Risk Management, and the Office of Indian Education Programs 
about improvements in the new system and how it meets their management 
needs. Finally, to understand how well school facility management staff 
received FMIS, we conducted site visits to 8 schools in Arizona, New 
Mexico, and South Dakota. We selected these schools to obtain a mix 
based on their differences in size, geographic location, type of school 
(i.e., grade level, day school, or on-reservation boarding school), and 
whether it was BIA-operated or tribal-operated. At these schools, we 
interviewed facility managers, education line officers, principals, and 
tribal officials. We also interviewed facility management staff at two 
regional and five agency offices that provide facility management 
services to the schools.

To determine the extent to which the FMIS inventory and backlog data 
are accurate and complete we used three methods. First, we obtained 
data from two sources (1) a copy of the FMIS database and (2) a copy of 
the contractor file of backlog data from the fiscal year 2002 condition 
assessments of 14 schools. The data in these files were assessed for 
reliability, which included looking for missing data, the relationship 
of one data element to another, values beyond a given range, and dates 
outside of valid time frames. We determined that the data were 
sufficiently reliable for the purposes of this report. We also 
calculated summary statistics of the data from these files. Second, we 
evaluated BIA's multilevel review process. For this analysis, we 
obtained data on the number of backlog entries made by facility 
managers and the number that had been accepted and rejected by the 
contractor. In addition, we reviewed the log of entries that had been 
rejected by the contractor to understand the reasons for these 
rejections. We also interviewed the contractor and BIA central office 
and regional and agency facility management staff about this review 
process. Finally, we accompanied BIA's engineering contractor on site 
visits to 2 schools in Arizona where we evaluated their methodologies 
for data collection and validation of the inventory and backlog data.

To determine how well BIA's internal control measures are working for 
its FMIS we first reviewed our standards on internal controls to 
identify controls that apply to an organization's management of an 
information system. We then compared the BIA controls with those 
identified in our reports to evaluate the effectiveness of the BIA 
controls. Additionally, we interviewed staff at the BIA central office 
about the internal controls they had in place for the FMIS. We also 
interviewed staff at the regional and agency offices and the schools 
about one of the controls--the effectiveness of the training they 
received.

[End of section]

Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior:

United States Department of the Interior:

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY Washington, D.C. 20240:

JUL 8 2003:

Ms. Marnie S. Shaul:

Director, Education, Workforces, And Income Security Issues:

U. S. General Accounting Office Washington, D. C. 20548:

Dear Ms. Shaul:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the U. S. General 
Accounting Office's draft audit report entitled "New Facilities 
Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy 
Needed" (GAO-03-692). The Bureau of Indian Affairs welcomes the 
report's conclusion that the Facilities Management Information System 
(FMIS) has the capability to meet the BIA's needs for managing its 
school facilities if the data that are entered are correct and timely. 
The BIA also concurs with the report recommendations for improving data 
quality. The BIA will consider your comments and observations as it 
continues to develop and implement the FMIS.

The BIA established a FMIS Steering Committee to develop and implement 
FMIS. The Steering Committee includes major stakeholders from the 
Office of Facilities Management and Construction, the Office of Indian 
Education Programs, the Division of Safety and Risk Management, the 
Office of Law Enforcement Services, the Office of Environmental and 
Cultural Resources Management and now the Office of Management Support. 
Although the FMIS Steering Committee will still have overall 
responsibility a special multi-disciplined Working Group will be 
created and charged with developing a comprehensive action plan to 
address the Recommendations as follows:

Recommendation 1: Establish data standards for accuracy and completeness 
of FMIS data and related performance criteria for BIA employees who are 
responsible for entering and reviewing the data.

The Working Group will review the existing process and propose 
improvements for maintaining the accuracy and completeness of FMIS data 
to address the deficiencies raised in the GAO Draft Report. Roles and 
responsibilities will be defined or clarified for each level of the BIA 
and tribal organizations that support the operation of the FMIS. The 
Working Group will be developing individual performance criteria 
applicable to BIA employees that include the expectations for accuracy 
and completeness and exploring implementation of the performance 
criteria and potential administrative remedies for BIA:

employees who fail to meet performance criteria. The Working Group will 
also be addressing the development of more comprehensive "user manuals" 
to facilitate the entry of accurate and complete data.

Recommendation 2: Analyze available error data and use this information 
to provide its employees with the necessary training, guidance, and 
technical assistance to improve performance.

To address both this recommendation and the first recommendation, the 
Working Group will be developing duties for a position to provide 
Quality Assurance oversight for field data collection, input and 
maintenance of data in FMIS. This position will be responsible for 
analyzing data accuracy and completeness in FMIS in order to identify 
problems and trends. As problems or trends are identified, a 
determination can be made on how best to address it, based on whether 
it is BIA-wide or whether only particular locations are involved.

Once the plan for addressing the recommendations is completed by the 
Working Group and approved by the Steering Committee and the Assistant 
Secretary - Indian Affairs, an implementation schedule will be 
developed.

In addition, the BIA has provided technical clarifications to the 
report narrative and would like to note that, since discussions with 
the GAO, the BIA review and approval process shows a marked improvement 
in the number of backlog entries that are rejected. For the first 6-
months of calendar year 2003 the disapproval rate was about 9 percent. 
For the same period, the percentage of schools experiencing backlog 
disapproval rates over 50 percent was reduced from 48 percent (August 
2001-December 2002) to 13 percent (January 2003-present).

If you have any questions or require additional information, please 
contact Dr. Kenneth Ross, Acting Director, Office of Facilities 
Management and Construction, and Mr. Boyd Robinson, Chief, Division of 
Program Planning, at (505) 346-6522.

Attachment:

Sincerely,

Aurene M. Martin: 

Acting Assistant Secretary -- Indian Affairs: 

Signed by Aurene M. Martin: 

[End of section]

Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments:

GAO Contacts:

Cindy Ayers, Assistant Director (206) 654-5591 Nancy Purvine, Analyst-
in-Charge (206) 287-4878:

Staff Acknowledgments:

In addition to the individuals mentioned above, Jessica Botsford, Maya 
Chakko, Terry Dorn, David Gill, Barbara Johnson, Nathan Morris, Stan 
Stenerson, and Michelle Zapata made significant contributions to this 
report.

FOOTNOTES

[1] During school year 2001-2002, in addition to the 171 elementary and 
secondary schools, BIA funded 14 peripheral dormitories. These 
dormitories are established on reservations for Indian students who 
attend nearby public schools. 

[2] We discussed the issues concerning the school facilities with the 
Association of Community Tribal Schools, the National Indian School 
Board Association, the Native American Grant Schools Association, and 
the Association of Navajo Community Controlled School Boards.

[3] BIA uses the FMIS to manage its entire Facilities Management 
Program. FMIS processes information about all BIA-owned or BIA-funded 
facilities. However, facilities other than educational facilities were 
considered to be out of our scope and were not included in our 
analysis.

[4] The mandate for this review is from Public Law 107-110.

[5] See U.S. General Accounting Office, School Facilities: Reported 
Condition and Costs to Repair Schools Funded by Bureau of Indian 
Affairs, GAO/HEHS-98-47 (Washington D.C.: Dec. 31, 1997) and BIA and 
DOD Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ 
from Public Schools', GAO-01-934 (Washington D.C.: Sept. 28, 2001).

[6] The standards are the Federal Information Processing Standards from 
the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

[7] In the Cobell v. Norton litigation concerning the government's 
management of Native American trust funds, a U.S. District Court judge, 
on December 5, 2001, ordered the Department of the Interior to 
disconnect from the Internet all information technology systems that 
house or provide access to individual Indian trust data and all 
computers within the custody and control of Interior, its employees, 
and contractors that have access to individual trust data. In an order 
dated December 17, 2001, the judge held that Interior could reconnect 
systems to the Internet with the approval of a court-appointed Special 
Master. As of June 16, 2003, the BIA facilities management information 
system had not been reconnected to the Internet.

[8] Entries to FMIS are identified through physical inspections and 
entered by the BIA contractor, the Division of Safety and Risk 
Management, facilities management field staff, or the Division of 
Environmental Services. Cost estimates are developed from these 
inspections and are routed through the contractor from either the 
facilities management field staff or the Division of Environmental 
Services, according to BIA officials.

[9] The six modules that make up FMIS are inventory, budget, project 
management, backlog, reports, and work tickets. BIA is in the process 
of implementing a seventh module, the work plan module.

[10] BIA's contractor is developing a new formula for allocating 
operations and maintenance funding to the schools. BIA expects to 
implement this formula in fiscal year 2005, after consulting with the 
tribes about the change, according to BIA officials.

[11] BIA officials cited three primary reasons for square footage 
variance (1) new buildings or additions to existing buildings that have 
not been added to the inventory, (2) unoccupied buildings that should 
be categorized as "non-maintained" and (3) those buildings where 
ownership and occupancy are unclear.

[12] In the FMIS, these entries are categorized as "predictive 
renewals."

[13] Under Public Law 107-110 (2002), section 1125(b)(6), BIA is 
required to periodically update the FMIS; in fulfilling this 
requirement, BIA's contractor is updating the inventory and assessing 
the condition of about one-third of the school facilities each year.

[14] This was slightly more than 40 percent of the 33 schools AME 
reviewed during 2002.

[15] Includes dormitories, gymnasiums, libraries, and classroom 
facilities.

[16] Typically, the contractor takes about 9 weeks to collect, analyze, 
and transfer data from the contractor's information system to FMIS, 
according to BIA and AME officials.

[17] See U.S. General Accounting Office, Standards for Internal Control 
in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1, (Washington D.C., Nov. 
1999).

[18] Because changes to the square footage in the inventory affects 
operations and maintenance funding, additions or subtractions to the 
inventory are also reviewed at the agency and regional offices before 
it goes to the central office for final approval; the contractor, 
however, does not review these entries.

[19] For those schools that do not have trained staff, the facility 
manager at the agency office is responsible for updating the data, 
according to a BIA official.

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