Stronger Management of EPA's Information Resources Is Critical To Meeting Program Needs

CED-80-18: Published: Mar 10, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 1980.

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A GAO review identified the problems that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was experiencing in managing and using its information and computer resources. Since EPA is an information-intensive agency, its information resources, including automatic data processing (ADP), are critical to the success of all program activities.

Some EPA information resources management problems include little top management involvement, no strong central management or direction of computer-based information systems, no mechanism to coordinate planning, a lack of a nucleus of ADP professionals to support system development, no provision for assigning priorities, and a lack of providing direction to its contractors. EPA is in the process of upgrading its computer system. However, the need for this additional computer capability has not been justified since unused computer capacity still exists and steps have not been taken to manage the existing workload.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Administrator of EPA should: (1) establish at the deputy assistant administrator level a central information resources management office; (2) assign to the central resources management office responsibility and accountability for carrying out an information resources management system that includes such practices as an agencywide planning process, a performance measurement program, and management control procedures; (3) direct the central information resources management office to correct the existing ADP deficiencies; (4) assign to a central information resources management office the authority and responsibility for ensuring necessary planning, direction, and control over ADP system development; (5) have the central information resource management office review each program office ADP plan, recommend agencywide priorities for system development to the Deputy Assistant Administrators' Steering Committee, track progress of ADP system development projects, report problems to the appropriate program offices for necessary action, strengthen controls over and enforce standards for system development, verify that statements of work are detailed, require written approval of all modifications to the statement of work before that work begins, ensure that the contractor adheres to contract schedules and costs, require written explanation for any deviations, and thoroughly review the ADP technical content of contractor deliverables; (6) reassess the 1980's ADP requirements and ensure that ADP workload projections are kept current; (7) establish a permanent computer performance management program; (8) perform a formal cost-benefit analysis of alternative procurement strategies; (9) ensure that ADP cost-accounting procedures reflect the principles of full costing and total system-life-cycle costing; (10) require that full costs for central ADP services be assigned by the chargeback system to the users; (11) require users to pay for these services directly from their program funds; (12) initiate actions to implement a revolving fund; (13) determine the final requirements of an ADP planning and budgeting system; and (14) direct the Office of the Inspector General to increase its ADP audit capability, to augment its ADP audit capability with outside contractors, and to plan and perform management audits of the ADP policies, plans, and procedures of EPA.

    Agency Affected:


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