Environmental Protection:

EPA's Plans to Improve Longstanding Information Resources Management Problems

AIMD-93-8: Published: Sep 16, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plans to respond to its information resources management (IRM) problems.

GAO found that: (1) EPA has several longstanding IRM problems that adversely affect many of its program operations; (2) the EPA Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM), which has overall responsibility for IRM, plans to implement a strategic planning process to coordinate IRM resources, provide better access to data from multiple information systems, improve data management practices, and strengthen IRM leadership and oversight; (3) OIRM does not expect to implement plans for addressing many IRM weaknesses for several years; (4) most EPA program offices have not been involved in OIRM initiatives; and (5) EPA needs agencywide involvement to resolve IRM issues.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA concurred with the recommendation and has issued a revised charter for its IRM Executive Steering that designates all program office Assistant Administrators as members and gives them responsibility for key components of EPA's IRM program.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that the agency's IRM problems are alleviated, the Administrator, EPA, should direct Assistant Administrators for the program offices to participate in and provide leadership, as necessary, for OIRM initiatives by working with OIRM to develop integrated plans for implementing the initiatives, including identifying sources of required funding and time frames for implementation.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EPA did not concur in the recommendation, believing that its current structure was sufficient. GAO will continue to encourage EPA to reconsider this position.

    Recommendation: To help ensure that the agency's IRM problems are alleviated, the Administrator, EPA, should appoint a Chief Information Officer who reports to the Administrator, has full-time IRM responsibilities, and can effectively influence IRM investments at all levels to meet agency goals.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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