The Urban and Community Impact Analysis Program, if Retained, Will Need Major Improvements

GGD-81-85: Published: Jul 23, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1981.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

The Urban and Community Impact Analysis (UCIA) program was established in 1978 by an Executive order and the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) implementing Circular A-116. The purposes of the program are to: (1) identify the likely effects of proposed initiatives on cities, counties, and other communities; and (2) inform decisionmakers of proposed agency actions that may run counter to the goals of the President's urban policy. Circular A-116 requires executive agencies to submit UCIA's on all major legislative, budgetary, and regulatory initiatives. GAO surveyed the UCIA program to determine how well the program had achieved its intended results and to identify and recommend any needed improvements.

UCIA program results have fallen far short of expectations, more because of managerial and administrative deficiencies than because of technical, programmatic problems. Lack of OMB and White House commitment to the program has resulted in inadequate monitoring of executive agency compliance. Further, a lack of timeliness and credibility in the executive agencies and on the budget side of OMB has hampered the program's influence in the decisionmaking process. Public interest groups and State and local governments are critical because UCIA's on budgetary and legislative initiatives are considered internal OMB staff documents, not for release to the public. Most officials and staff persons questioned in OMB and other agencies had no objections to public disclosure of analyses after OMB and White House decisions are made on agency proposals. A disclosure of this type could: (1) promote healthy debate on programs proposed to Congress; (2) enhance the accuracy, objectivity and quality of analyses; and (3) improve the program's credibility. Expanding the UCIA process to include program reauthorizations, base programs, OMB changes in agency budget initiatives, and participation by independent regulatory agencies could make the process more useful. GAO believes that adding program reauthorizations and OMB changes in agency budget initiatives could be achieved in the least time and with the least administrative effort; actions on base programs and independent regulatory agencies represent longer range actions.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should strengthen the management of the UCIA process by establishing a systematic procedure for monitoring agency compliance and providing agencies feedback.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should strengthen the management of the UCIA process by monitoring agencies' preparation of UCIA's on regulatory initiatives.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  3. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should strengthen the management of the UCIA process by seeking amendments to Executive Order 12074 that (1) reflect realistically the White House domestic policy staff's intended participation in the process; and (2) formally require the staff to cause UCIA's to be prepared on major presidential initiatives.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  4. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should improve the timeliness of the process by systematically and promptly following up on missed due dates.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  5. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should improve the timeliness of the process by advancing the timing of UCIA activities into the spring budget review, to the extent possible.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  6. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should improve the timeliness of the process by amending OMB Circular A-116 to delete reference to Executive Order 12044 (revoked) and incorporate preparation of regulatory UCIA's into regulatory impact analyses prepared under Executive Order 12291.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  7. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should improve the timeliness of the process by forming a small interagency task force to advise and assist in designing program improvements which all participants, both UCIA suppliers and users, can support.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  8. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should amend OMB Circular A-116 to clearly include program reauthorizations in the UCIA process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  9. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should amend Circular A-116 to include base programs in the UCIA process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  10. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should prepare UCIA's, or revised UCIA's, on major OMB changes in agency budget initiatives.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  11. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should seek independent regulatory agencies' participation in the UCIA process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  12. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should strengthen the management of the UCIA process by institutionalizing the process in OMB through stabilized organizational and staffing arrangements.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  13. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should, if the UCIA program is continued, make UCIA's available to Congress and the public no later than when budgetary and legislative proposals are sent to Congress.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jul 21, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

May 12, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Mar 4, 2016

Oct 30, 2015

Sep 9, 2015

Aug 17, 2015

Jul 9, 2015

Apr 27, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here