Housing:

Increasing HUD Effectiveness Through Improved Management

RCED-84-9: Published: Jan 10, 1984. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 1984.

Contact:

John M. Ols, Jr
(202) 512-7631
contact@gao.gov

 

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

GAO evaluated management effectiveness at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the intention of identifying and analyzing management problems. GAO focused on management's performance in: (1) organizing and directing HUD; (2) planning activities and determining resource allocations; (3) executing program delivery; and (4) providing management control.

GAO found that HUD has many complex and long-standing problems and needs to: (1) improve organizational stability; (2) increase emphasis on, and accountability for, general management functions; and (3) establish continuity in HUD top management. GAO believes that HUD reliance on the budget process to direct and control HUD activity has not been an effective substitute for needed management systems. Weaknesses in the analytical base used to support the HUD budget and to monitor and analyze program activity have hampered analysis and oversight by Congress and others. Consistent problems have affected program delivery, and HUD has not fully addressed the causes of financial management problems, including inadequacies in long-range planning and the absence of a chief financial officer. In addition, HUD management information systems did not provide timely and accurate data, which were necessary to establish control over HUD programs. GAO also found that accounting systems were not adequately automated and many automated accounting systems were obsolete.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Matter for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: Congress should require HUD to expand budget justifications to fully reflect all material aspects of uncontrollable costs and the budgetary and economic consequences of programs on future agency funding needs and on federal tax collections.

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress took no action to require HUD to provide additional information.

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: As part of the long-range ADP planning and control process, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should ensure that efforts to develop modern automated systems are continued.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD believes that it has made substantial progress in improving and automating its accounting operations and that improving accounting operations is a continuing activity. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should improve on-site performance reviews by developing standards and guidelines for reviews to obtain a reasonable level of consistency and comparability.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD has taken steps to improve reporting and on-site evaluations, including steps designed to enable its managers to identify and address immediate and potential problems. HUD believes that its newly implemented management reporting system and information from its management planning process provide HUD with a reasonable level of consistency or comparability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for improvement of program participant monitoring, should define the objectives of all types of monitoring and specify realistic expectations for program staff.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, Assistant Secretaries and Regional Managers are responsible for establishing monitoring objectives on a yearly basis through the management plan. The new Resource Allocation Guidelines System is used to track field performance, including monitoring, on a monthly basis.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for improvement of program participant monitoring, should develop priorities that reflect the need for better quality monitoring.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, its priorities and goals are established through management plans. A number of new systems have been installed to monitor program participants, including a system that enables headquarters staff to ensure that area offices carryout their responsibilities.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should improve monitoring of program participants. The findings and recommendations of the Committee on Fraud, Waste, and Mismanagement should be aggressively pursued by all HUD program offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Although HUD has taken steps to improve monitoring of program participants, there is no evidence that it has adopted this recommendation of the Fraud, Waste, and Mismanagement Committee.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should establish a central point of accountability to oversee compliance with streamlined departmental clearance procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Under the present HUD direction system, headquarters originators of handbooks provide draft copies. According to HUD, the Office of Administration and Management Systems, under the Assistant Secretary of Administration, acts as the central point for accountability.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should involve users, such as field office staff, in the preparation of instructions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD instructed its program managers to solicit field office input in the preparation and revision of program instructions, and give users an appropriate opportunity to comment on them.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should expand the use of the internal editing staff to rewrite existing instructions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD instructed its program managers to utilize the internal editing staff, when appropriate, to expedite the rewriting of existing program instructions.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should enhance the analytical base of the budget by systematically incorporating program evaluation results in the management decisionmaking process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD took steps to include program results information in the decisionmaking process through changes in the automated budgeting and accounting systems and other reporting mechanisms.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should enhance the analytical base of the budget by developing a system to obtain the information necessary to determine and allocate work force requirements and assess productivity.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD has taken steps to enhance the analytical base of the budget. HUD has implemented an automated reporting system, which it believes provides it with the information necessary to determine and allocate work force requirements and assess productivity.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should enhance the analytical base of the budget by continuing efforts to develop and improve financial management systems that integrate budgeting and accounting.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, it recognized the need to improve its financial management systems, and believes that it has taken the necessary steps to comply with this recommendation, including improvements in the integration and automation of its budgeting and accounting systems.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should examine those obligations, which may not be firm commitments, and make appropriate deobligations in order to improve the credibility of HUD budget estimates and free unneeded funding.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, it regularly reviews its obligations in light of certain restraints on the deobligation process and, when appropriate, deobligates amounts that do not represent firm commitments.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should build on existing efforts to improve planning processes by developing a departmentwide planning system. This system should establish accountability for departmentwide planning and include: (1) a multiyear Secretarial strategic plan; (2) policy development procedures; (3) program planning guidance; (4) operational plans; and (5) budget execution monitoring.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD has implemented a number of new management planning processes. HUD stated that the processes include the elements GAO recommended. HUD believes that its management planning process coupled with its inter- and intra-policy planning activities satisfactorily respond to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should improve on-site performance reviews by adopting a plan for reviewing offices and programs that considers resource limitations and concentrates on serious problems, and by including headquarters program offices in the universe of offices reviewed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, it developed a new system of internal controls that help it to identify program areas and field and headquarter offices that have serious or potentially serious problems. This information provides the basis for selecting offices for review in light of available resources to conduct them.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should improve on-site performance reviews by including headquarters program offices in the universe of offices reviewed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Each assistant secretary is responsible for ensuring that headquarters staff perform effectively and are held accountable for their actions. Also, HUD believes A-123 studies performed in compliance with the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) provide assurance that headquarters program offices are adequately reviewed.

    Recommendation: As part of the long-range ADP planning and control process, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should ensure that user needs and administrative burdens are adequately considered during system development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD believes that it has made substantial progress in improving and automating its accounting operations and that improving accounting operations is a continuing activity. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: As part of the long-range ADP planning and control process, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should ensure that existing and proposed automated systems are necessary, feasible, and cost-effective, and that those systems which cannot perform their intended purpose in a cost-effective manner are discontinued.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD believes that it has made substantial progress in improving and automating its accounting operations. HUD also believes that improving accounting operations is a continuing activity. It has reviewed and eliminated all systems not needed.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should enhance financial management information system improvements and future automation by establishing a long-range automatic data processing (ADP) planning and control process.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD believes it has made substantial progress in improving and automating its accounting operations and that improving accounting operations is a continuing activity. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should develop accounting systems which comply with the principles and standards established by the Comptroller General. The objective of this development process should be to establish accounting systems capable of providing timely, accurate, and comprehensive information and serving as a basis for reporting on the adequacy of internal controls as required by FMFIA.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD believes that it has made substantial progress in improving and automating its accounting operations and that improving accounting operations is a continuing activity. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should streamline the processes used to accomplish accounting functions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The HUD internal control system is now in place and, according to the Office of Management and Budget, is one of the leaders in A-123 implementation in the federal government. HUD continually strives to improve its accounting systems. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should continue efforts to restore integrity to the Department's financial management information systems by enhancing system internal controls.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to HUD, improvements to its internal control systems are made on a continuing basis. Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: For the long range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should move to centralize financial management policy development under the chief financial officer.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: HUD does not currently believe that the position of a chief financial officer is needed because of the transfer and consolidation of financial management policy under the Office of Administration. It also believes that managerial continuity currently exists within HUD.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should correct internal control weaknesses and other financial management information system problems identified during this review by ensuring that: (1) the single-family premium collection system and the process for handling cash receipts and disbursements include adequate internal controls; (2) collections are placed under immediate accounting controls; (3) sound cash management practices are followed in handling receipts and disbursements; and (4) the home improvement loan collection process is streamlined as part of the current automation effort.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The HUD internal control system is now in place and, according to HUD, operating smoothly. HUD is taking steps to correct internal control weaknesses as they are identified during A-123 studies.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should establish a chief financial officer with clear responsibility and accountability for establishing financial policy and providing a central focus for development of financial management systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD has transferred and consolidated responsibility for oversight of financial management systems to the Office of Administration. HUD believes that this action will provide the coherent management of the systems that GAO thought was needed.

    Recommendation: To improve staff resources over the long term, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should initiate an aggressive training needs assessments program, including periodic training evaluation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Training needs are assessed annually.

    Recommendation: To improve staff resources over the long term, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should integrate staff needs assessments with program implementation plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In housing, the largest HUD program area, a study was completed which inventoried the skills of housing field staff as to how well they met present and future needs. Subsequently, HUD expanded this kind of analysis to other programs and now believes that it has complied with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: To improve staff resources over the long term, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should establish a staff development program linked to overall organizational planning, which will coordinate departmental efforts to forecast personnel needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In housing, the largest HUD program area, a study was completed which inventoried the skills of housing field staff as to how well they met present and future needs. Subsequently, HUD expanded this kind of analysis to other programs and now believes that it has complied with this recommendation.

    Recommendation: For the short range, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should improve the management of audits and reviews by developing an action plan for improving the internal response to problems arising from all audits and reviews. Such a plan should include: (1) categorizing and prioritizing findings and setting time frames for correction; and (2) establishing central control for assessing and reporting on the progress of corrective action.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The HUD internal control system is designed to enable it to appropriately respond to internal reviews of its operations. However, GAO FMFIA work has shown that the system is not designed to respond to external audit findings. HUD is trying to develop an automated system which will merge FMFIA audit findings into its audit management system to identify areas of vulnerability.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should evaluate how well the new field structure is working. In this evaluation, the Secretary should determine: (1) whether functional relationships among headquarters, regions, and field offices promote accountability and establish clear lines of authority; (2) the value of and contribution of regional offices in the management and delivery of programs; (3) the cost and benefits of having field offices in all states, especially in the environment of a declining federal role; and (4) the relationship of ongoing and proposed policy and program changes to any organizational change.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Field and headquarters organizational evaluation is a continuing process according to HUD. HUD stated that program or organizational inefficiency is measured through its Resource Allocations Guidelines System, management plan reports, and on-site evaluations.

    Mar 31, 2014

    Mar 27, 2014

    Mar 18, 2014

    Feb 6, 2014

    Jan 30, 2014

    Jan 28, 2014

    Oct 22, 2013

    Aug 8, 2013

    Jul 31, 2013

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here