Management Challenges:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

T-RCED-00-292: Published: Sep 26, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the management challenges facing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), focusing on: (1) HUD's progress in addressing the major management challenges identified in the past and GAO's plans for updating the risk status of HUD's programs; (2) issues HUD faces in ensuring that the reforms it has implemented are sustainable and will result in its becoming a high-performing federal agency, including GAO's plans for monitoring HUD's activities; and (3) the importance of congressional oversight in ensuring that federal agencies like HUD, successfully manage for results in the 21st century.

GAO noted that: (1) since 1994, GAO has designated HUD and its programs as high risk because of four long-standing departmentwide management challenges: (a) weak internal controls; (b) inadequate information and financial management systems; (c) an ineffective organizational structure; and (d) an insufficient mix of staff with the proper skills; (2) since then, HUD has continued to address its management challenges, most recently under the direction of its 2020 Management Reform Plan which has guided HUD's efforts for over 3 years; (3) GAO is currently assessing the results of HUD's reform efforts and plan to report on its progress early next year; (4) one of the key questions that GAO will assess is whether HUD's reform efforts have demonstrated real and sustainable results; (5) in the future, HUD will have to resolve a number of issues if it is to continue the progress it has made, achieve the goals it has set for itself, and fully realize the benefits that can be derived from the performance management framework developed by Congress; (6) some of these issues include the need to ensure continued top leadership commitment to reform efforts, thoughtful and rigorous planning for human capital and information technology strategies, and greater employee involvement in reform initiatives; (7) as HUD moves beyond its past management deficiencies and attempts to transform itself into a high-performing organization, it will face additional challenges, such as developing a true results orientation and becoming an integrated organization that is outwardly focused on its clients' and stakeholders' needs; (8) these are the issues Congress, executive branch decisionmakers, and GAO will have to monitor to ensure HUD's success; (9) GAO plans to conduct a significant body of work over the next 2 years that will explore the sustainability of HUD's management reforms as well as its progress towards becoming a high-performing federal agency; (10) the importance of congressional oversight in monitoring a federal agency's management improvement initiatives cannot be overstated; (11) Congress should monitor management improvement initiatives and provide the continuing attention necessary for these initiatives to be implemented successfully; and (12) GAO believes that the Government Performance and Results Act provides a framework to help Congress oversee an agency's management reform efforts.

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