Improvements the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Has Made in Its Payroll System

FGMSD-79-22: Published: Apr 25, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1979.

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The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) has taken a variety of actions to improve its centralized payroll system through which about 160,000 employees are paid about $2.9 billion annually. The completed actions relate to many recommendations for improving the system which were made by GAO, by HEW internal auditors, and by a blue-ribbon panel formed to evaluate the system's problems.

HEW made a number of system improvements that should provide for more prompt and accurate payments to employees, including: (1) improved internal control over time and attendance reports, pay adjustments, supplemental payments, and returned checks; (2) creation of a single database for use by the personnel and payroll systems; and (3) automation of many functions of the military pay subsystem. Although these actions clearly indicate that HEW management is currently emphasizing the need to improve its payroll system, other efforts to improve the system's operations have often been started but not completed, and serious problems with the system have continued.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary, HEW, should instruct the Inspector General's office to review the payroll system on a cyclical basis for adherence to established policies and procedures and to assist in developing needed edits; ensure that adequate edits are established to control the propriety and validity of data entered into the combined payroll-personnel data system; take actions to ensure that the system edits cannot be improperly bypassed; and establish a system to provide for close monitoring and review of progress made in implementing improvements to the payroll system.

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