Architect of the Capitol:

Management and Accountability Framework Needed for Organizational Transformation

GAO-03-231: Published: Jan 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2003.

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The Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) plays an important role in supporting the effective functioning of the Congress and its neighboring institutions. With a budget of $426 million, AOC is responsible for the maintenance, renovation, and new construction of all buildings and grounds within the Capitol Hill complex. GAO was mandated by the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2002, to conduct a comprehensive management review of AOC's operations to help identify improvements in strategic planning, organizational alignment, and strategic human capital management to help AOC better achieve its mission and to address long-standing program issues. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed AOC's legislative authority and internal documents, interviewed key AOC officials and senior managers, and conducted employee focus groups.

AOC is an agency working to transform itself and has planned management improvement efforts, such as a new strategic planning process, to help it make this transition. GAO found that without AOC establishing a management and accountability framework, it might have difficulty leading and executing its organizational transformation. Leading organizations undergoing transformation efforts draw from the following management and accountability components: (1) demonstrating top leadership commitment to organizational transformation; (2) involving key stakeholders in developing an organizationwide strategic plan; (3) using the strategic plan as the foundation for aligning activities, core processes, and resources to support mission-related outcomes; (4) establishing a communications strategy to foster transformation and create shared expectations and build ; (5) developing annual goals and a system for measuring performance; and (6) managing human capital and information technology strategically to drive transformation and to support the accomplishment of agency goals. To support its transformation initiatives and to cope with shifting environments and evolving demands and priorities, AOC also should continue to develop its management infrastructure and controls. Establishing this management and accountability framework and further developing its management infrastructure and controls can also help AOC improve performance in program areas of long-standing concern to AOC's employees and congressional stakeholders--worker safety, project management, and recycling.

Status Legend:

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  • 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

    Matters for Congressional Consideration

    Matter: Congress may wish to consider ways in which to elevate, integrate, and institutionalize accountability for addressing management issues and leading organizational transformation at AOC. One option would be to create a statutory Chief Operating Officer or similar position for AOC to improve its executive decision-making process and accountability.

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress created a Chief Operating Officer position for the AOC in the fiscal year 2003 Consolidated Appropriations Act (PL 1082-7, Feb 20, 2003). The Act required the AOC to consult with the Comptroller General before appointing a COO.

    Matter: To help ensure that AOC implements its management improvement plan, Congress may wish to consider requiring AOC to provide periodic status reports on the implementation of its plan, including progress made and milestones not met, and any adjustments to the plan in response to internal or external developments.

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Conference Committee report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Resolution, 2003, directed GAO to monitor the AOC on the development and implementation of the required plan. The conferees also directed GAO to evaluate AOC's implementation efforts, as well as management changes, including the timely accomplishment of the implementation plan milestones. GAO is required to report semi-annually to the appropriations committees and to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration until all of the changes in AOC's action plan have been implemented.

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should strengthen AOC's human capital policies, procedures, and processes by assessing ways in which AOC management could better gather and analyze data from the various employee relations offices and Employee Advisory Council while maintaining employee confidentiality.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by holding monthly meetings between the Human Resources Director, Equal Employment Opportunity and Conciliation Program Director, the chairs of the employee advisory council and the employment council, the employee assistance program manager, and the Deputy Chief of Staff to review and discuss employee relations data. The group makes recommendations to senior management based on findings and takes action on the items. According to AOC, the importance of maintaining employee confidentiality is emphasized at each meeting.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should strengthen AOC's human capital policies, procedures, and processes by establishing a direct reporting relationship between the Ombudsperson and the Architect, consistent with professional standards.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has approved a policy development schedule to revise human capital policies as part of its human capital plan. In addition, AOC developed a document for supervisors, Supervisors' Tools of the Trade, which provides supplemental guidance on human capital policies as needed. Supervisors are rated for performance in human capital management as part of AOC's evaluation system. However, it is important that AOC continue to monitor whether supervisors and managers are fairly administering the policies as the revisions are implemented. This recommendation is implemented.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should continue to improve AOC's approach to financial management by developing strategies to institutionalize financial management practices that will support budgeting, financial, and program management at AOC. Such strategies could include developing performance goals and measures and associated roles aimed at increasing the accountability of non-financial managers and staff, such as jurisdictional superintendents, program managers, and other AOC staff--whose support is critical to the success of AOC's financial management initiatives--and ensuring that these staff receive the training needed to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In our 2003 report, we found the AOC lacked reliable project and operational budgets, internal policies and procedures to monitor budget execution, and policies and procedures needed to properly account for and report accurate entity-wide financial information. In response, we recommended that the AOC needed to develop strategies to institutionalize financial management practices to support budgeting and financial and program management. In the interim, AOC successfully institutionalized several key management practices, including a process to prepare auditable annual financial statements resulting in clean audit opinions and the correction of various financial reporting control weaknesses, the implementation of a cost and management reporting system which now provides managers with more useful and timely information on costs of operations, and meaningful progress in implementing a comprehensive internal control program, as well as other financial management practices that have served to strengthen its budgeting and financial and program management. AOC's successful implementation of an annual financial statement preparation and audit process has enabled it to produce reliable entity-wide financial information and correct several significant internal control weaknesses. According to the AOC, the implementation of cost and management reporting system in late 2008 has helped to move AOC's financial system from a budget-based system to a performance-based system by aligning goals, activities, and outputs and has improved systems and reporting across AOC, including project management and facilities management. Other implemented financial and management improvement strategies include the ongoing operation of an Audit Committee who meets quarterly to assist the AOC by providing an independent review of the financial statement audit process and facilitating open disclosure and transparency, strengthening in 2009 of the AOC senior management's monitoring and oversight of long-term efforts to institutionalize several internal control practices. In 2009, AOC reported it had also implemented a number of targeted financial and management improvement strategies including implementing automated controls over data entry, reviews, and approvals within its time and attendance (T&A) system and its procure-to-pay process and improved its controls over transmission of its payroll to the National Finance Center. On several very important fronts, the AOC has successfully institutionalized key financial management practices that strengthen and enhance budgeting and financial and program management across the organization. While it continues to implement and enhance its risk-based internal control framework, one that provides a formal and systematic assessment and evaluation of the design and operation of its internal controls, the AOC's Strategic Plan acknowledges that this is a high priority multi-year effort for FY 2010 and beyond. Based on AOC's documented progress in institutionalizing several key financial management practices and its continuing commitment to complete efforts to implement an effective internal control framework organization, this recommendation is closed out as implemented.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing a chief information officer, or comparable senior executive, with the responsibility, authority, and adequate resources for managing IT across the agency, who is full participant in AOC's senior decision-making processes, and has clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has completed action on this recommendation. In 2003 the agency established a senior executive with the responsibility, authority, and resources for managing IT across the agency, including controlling the AOC IT budget. Furthermore, AOC made the director a participant in senior decision-making, serving as the principal advisor to the Architect in applying IT to improve business processes and chairing the IT Project Management Board. AOC also defined in its IT policy the director's roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities. AOC's action will allow the agency to adopt an agencywide approach to IT management and position the agency to effectively leverage IT as an agencywide resource.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by developing and implementing IT investment management processes with the full support and participation of AOC's senior leadership. Specifically, the Architect must develop a plan for developing and implementing the investment management processes, as appropriate, that are outlined in our IT investment guide. At a minimum, the plan should specify measurable tasks, goals, time frames, and resources required to develop and implement the processes. The Architect should focus first on the management processes associated with controlling existing IT projects and establishing the management structures to effectively implement an IT management process.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by developing and implementing an IT investment management process with support and participation of AOC's senior leadership and in accordance with our guidance through the development and approval of an IT investment management policy. Consistent with best practices, AOC has divided its investment management process into three phases: select, control, and evaluate. To effectively control existing and future projects through these phases, AOC established and assigned specific roles and responsibilities to three boards: Business Systems Modernization Office (BSMO), Investment Review Board (IRB), and Project Review Board (PRB). BSMO provides guidance during the select phase on items, such as the procurement schedule and stakeholder involvement, while the IRB and the PRB participate during the select, control, and evaluate phases. In particular, the PRB reviews specific areas of the project, including status, schedule and system development life-cycle documentation, and the IRB, among other things, provides approval and advice on items, including additional funding and critical issues that may arise on the project. Membership on these boards includes senior-level officials from various departments and offices throughout the agency. AOC has demonstrated this investment management process as evidenced by our review of two of AOC's large-size IT systems, Facilities Management Information System (FMIS) 2005 and Inventory Control System (ICS). Both systems were approved by the appropriate management structures in accordance with AOC's IT investment management process.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by developing, implementing, and maintaining an enterprise architecture to guide and constrain IT projects throughout AOC. The Architect should implement the practices, as appropriate, as outlined in the Chief Information Officer Council's architecture management guide. As a first step, the Architect should establish the management structure for developing, implementing, and maintaining and enterprise architecture by developing an agencywide policy statement providing a clear mandate for developing, implementing, and maintaining the architecture.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by developing and approving an agencywide IT policy that provides for developing, implementing, and maintaining an EA. The agency also has established an EA Executive Steering Committee, composed of senior-level officials from across the agency, to direct, oversee, and approve the AOC EA. The latest version of the EA FY06 version 1.0 was approved by the executive committee in December 2005. In addition, AOC has assigned responsibility for guiding EA development to the Chief Enterprise Architect. According to program officials, the Chief Enterprise Architect position was filled in February 2007. The chief architect's responsibilities include reviewing investments and investment-related projects to ensure that they are in compliance with the EA; developing and maintaining the EA documents to ensure that they continue to reflect the AOC strategic plan, business needs, and technological advancement; and providing expertise to the business systems modernization office and AOC management on EA concepts and implementation.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by developing, implementing, and maintaining and enterprise architecture to guide and constrain IT projects throughout AOC. The Architect should implement the practices, as appropriate, as outlined in the Chief Information Officer Council's architecture management guide. As a first step, the Architect should establish the management structure foe developing, implementing, and maintaining an enterprise architecture by establishing an executive body composed by stakeholders from AOC mission-critical programs offices to guide the strategy for developing the enterprise architecture and ensure agency support and resources for it.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by developing and approving an agencywide IT policy that provides for developing, implementing, and maintaining an EA. The agency also has established an EA Executive Steering Committee, composed of senior-level officials from across the agency, to direct, oversee, and approve the AOC EA. The latest version of the EA FY06 version 1.0 was approved by the executive committee in December 2005. In addition, AOC has assigned responsibility for guiding EA development to the Chief Enterprise Architect. According to program officials, the Chief Enterprise Architect position was filled in February 2007. The chief architect's responsibilities include reviewing investments and investment-related projects to ensure that they are in compliance with the EA; developing and maintaining the EA documents to ensure that they continue to reflect the AOC strategic plan, business needs, and technological advancement; and providing expertise to the business systems modernization office and AOC management on EA concepts and implementation.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by developing, implementing, and maintaining and enterprise architecture to guide and constrain IT projects throughout AOC. The Architect should implement the practices, as appropriate, as outlined in the Chief Information Officer Council's architecture management guide. As a first step, the Architect should establish the management structure for developing, implementing, and maintaining an enterprise architecture by designating an individual who serves as a chief enterprise architect to develop policy and lead the development of the enterprise architecture, and manage it as a formal program.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by developing and approving an agencywide IT policy that provides for developing, implementing, and maintaining an EA. The agency also has established an EA Executive Steering Committee, composed of senior-level officials from across the agency, to direct, oversee, and approve the AOC EA. The latest version of the EA (EA FY06 version 1.0) was approved by the executive committee in December 2005. In addition, AOC has assigned responsibility for guiding EA development to the Chief Enterprise Architect. According to program officials, the Chief Enterprise Architect position was filled in February 2007. The chief architect's responsibilities include reviewing investments and investment-related projects to ensure that they are in compliance with the EA, developing and maintaining the EA documents to ensure that they continue to reflect the AOC strategic plan, business needs, and technological advancement, and providing expertise to the business systems modernization office and AOC management on EA concepts and implementation.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by requiring disciplined and rigorous processes for managing the development and acquisition of IT systems, and implementing the process throughout AOC. Specifically, these process should include quality assurance processes, including developing a quality assurance plan and identifying applicable process and product standards that will be used in developing and assessing project processes and products.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of February 2008, AOC has further refined its systems development life-cycle policy that describes the procedures, practices, and guidelines governing the management of IT systems and the processes that are to be followed when acquiring and developing these systems. These processes include a quality assurance process that requires the development of a quality assurance plan and quality checkpoint reviews for assessing project processes and products during a project's life cycle.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should strengthen AOC's human capital policies, procedures, and processes by continuing to develop and implement agencywide human capital policies and procedures, and holding management and employees accountable for following these policies and procedures.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is fulfilled. AOC has approved a policy development schedule to revise human capital policies as part of its human capital plan. In addition, AOC developed a document for supervisors, Supervisors' Tools of the Trade, which provides supplemental guidance on human capital policies as needed. Supervisors are rated for performance in human capital management as part of AOC's evaluation system. However, it is important that AOC continue to monitor whether supervisors and managers are fairly administering the policies as the revisions are implemented.

    Recommendation: In developing a management improvement plan to address the recommendations in this report, we also recommend that the Architect of the Capitol establish action-oriented implementation goals over the long term and a time line with milestone dates to track the organization's progress towards achieving those implementation goals. The Architect should work with key congressional and other stakeholders to develop this plan.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC's draft performance plan, dated March 7, 2003, provided a crosswalk of GAO's recommendations to AOC's performance plan along with milestones (AOC's "action plan"), which established such a timeline and milestone dates.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol strengthen performance measurement and strategic human capital management, by identifying current and future workforce needs and developing strategies to fill gaps.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has made significant progress in the development and implementation of its workforce planning framework, although it acknowledges that workforce planning is a continuous process. Within this framework, AOC has completed several key elements including (1)developing a workforce planning process framework (2) retirement/attrition analysis of the agency's workforce (3) management/succession procedures via a partnership with the Library of Congress's staff; and(4)a forecast of agency's future workforce supply. AOC has also developed strategies to fill workforce gaps for "hard to fill" positions. For example, it developed a workforce strategy to fill diversity gaps and in its Human Capital Office and is now seeking a new Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO) and Deputy CHCO.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning,organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol improve strategic planning and organizational alignment, by involving key congressional and other external stakeholders in AOC's strategic planning efforts and in any organizational changes that may result from these efforts.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled our recommendation by involving Congressional and other stakeholders in drafting the January 2007 version of the strategic plan. For example, AOC conducted briefings with stakeholders on the strategic plan and COO action plan, sought feedback, and integrated the suggested changes into the plans. In addition, AOC has hired a permanent COO and a Director of Congressional and External Relations to coordinate the flow of information between Congress and the Architect of the Capitol (Architect) and the COO.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol develop a comprehensive strategy to improve internal and external communications by providing opportunities for routine employee input and feedback.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has established a process for obtaining employee input and feedback and finalized a process manual for employee feedback. The process manual provides guidance for obtaining employee feedback using a four-step approach: identifying concerns, obtaining data, giving feedback, and following up on results. The process manual also details responsibilities for staff and provides an implementation plan. While AOC has provided opportunities for routine employee feedback, it is important for AOC to collect a consistent and comprehensive set of data on a regular basis in order to monitor progress against an established baseline.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol develop a comprehensive strategy to improve internal and external communications by completing the development of congressional protocols by involving stakeholders.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC is finalizing its Congressional protocols, designed to facilitate and improve internal and external communications. AOC has worked closely with its Congressional stakeholders to develop these protocols to ensure that they are useful to AOC, Congress, and other external stakeholders. The Director of Congressional and External Relations has sought and incorporated input from both internal and external stakeholders during the development of these protocols.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol develop a comprehensive strategy to improves internal and external communications by improving annual accountability reporting through annual performance planning and reporting.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled GAO's recommendation through the release of its fiscal year 2003 accountability report and its plans to publish its fiscal year 2004 accountability report and fiscal year 2005 performance and accountability report. In addition, AOC released a performance plan in April 2005 that details steps to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. AOC staff, AOC Audit Committee staff, GAO, and other Congressional stakeholders are involved in the development of these reports.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol develop a comprehensive strategy to improve internal and external communications by continuing to regularly measure customer satisfaction AOC-wide.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a March 19, 2003 testimony before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, the Architect of the Capitol stated that it planned to conduct its second building services survey for AOC's customers in June 2003. It stated that, based on feedback from the first survey, AOC has modified and improved the consistency and quality of its cleaning procedures.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol strengthen performance measurement and strategic human capital management, by developing annual goals and measuring performance.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented a performance management approach that includes strategic planning, annual performance planning and reporting, and assessment of AOC's progress in meeting agencywide milestones and measures. AOC has identified four strategic goals: facilities management, project management, human capital management, and organizational excellence. AOC has also identified a number of measures to monitor and evaluate performance, and these measures will serve as the basis for employees' annual performance goals as well as the assessment of AOC's overall success in meeting its strategic goals. The measures include quality facility management, projects delivered on time, on budget, and of high quality, highly skilled and motivated employees, and effects of managerial oversight. In addition, AOC has developed a document--the AOC dashboard--that summarizes performance in each of its strategic focus areas: project management, facilities management, human capital management, and organizational excellence. The dashboard includes several high-level indicators to track performance for each of the strategic goals as well as a target goal for each indicator.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol strengthen performance measurement and strategic human capital management, by creating a "line of sight" by linking AOC's senior executive and employee performance management systems to mission-critical goals.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation. In May 2005 AOC revised its performance management system (PCES) to ensure that its senior executive performance management system and its employee performance evaluation system are linked to AOC's mission-critical goals. Employees are expected to ensure completion of a performance plan that outlines performance standards for each critical task related to the employee's position. The employee's performance is evaluated against the established performance plan as it relates to AOC's strategic goals and objectives. The employee is given a rating of outstanding, fully successful, or unsuccessful for each element, as well as a summary rating.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol strengthen performance measurement and strategic human capital management, by establishing agencywide core and technical competencies and holding employees accountable for these competencies as a part of the performance management system.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has identified core competencies for most of the agency's positions and has linked these competencies to the positions' critical tasks. These competencies have also been included in AOC's automated human resources system--AVUE. AOC's Strategic Planner provided us with information demonstrating that AOC's core competencies are part of its performance management system. For example, there are three mandatory AOC-wide competencies, which are elements of their performance plans. Safety is mandatory for all blue-collar workers at AOC, and a leadership competency is required for all supervisors and contracting officers. AOC's Strategic Planner also provided us with examples of performance plans to show how these competencies are used in the performance management system.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt the elements of the management and accountability framework--strategic planning, organizational alignment, communications, performance measurement, and strategic human capital management--and build on efforts under way at AOC, we recommend that the Architect of the Capitol strengthen performance measurement and strategic human capital management, by developing the capacity to collect and analyze workforce data.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented this recommendation. In April 2006, AOC implemented its workforce planning system. AOC's Workforce Planning and Management Office has identified numerous ways to collect, report, and analyze workforce data. Additionally, several data sources have been identified for analyzing the agency's workforce and developing products such as AOC's retirement report. In April 2006, AOC developed a system to report and monitor full-time equivalents (FTE) on a regular basis using man-hours required for projects rather than estimating FTEs on the basis of funding.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should strengthen adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by requiring disciplined and rigorous process for managing the development and acquisition of IT systems, and implementing the processes throughout AOC. Specifically, these processes should include configuration management processes, including establishing a repository or configuration management system to maintain and control configuration management items.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has further refined its systems development life-cycle policy that describes the procedures, practices, and guidelines governing the management of IT systems and the processes that are to be followed when acquiring and developing these systems. These processes include a configuration management process that requires a configuration management plan that identifies configurations at given points in time, controls changes to the configuration, and maintains the records of all changes. Further, the configuration management process includes a change control board that approves and documents change requests for projects.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by requiring disciplined and rigorous processes for managing the development and acquisition of IT systems, and implementing processes throughout AOC. Specifically, these processes should include risk management processes, including developing a project risk management plan, identifying and prioritizing potential problems, implementing risk mitigation strategies, as required, and tracking and reporting progress against the plans.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has further refined its systems development life-cycle policy that describes the procedures, practices, and guidelines governing the management of IT systems and the processes that are to be followed when acquiring and developing these systems. Specifically, these processes include a risk management process that requires the development of a risk management plan; the identification of risks, risk assessments, risk impact and status, probability of occurrence, and mitigation strategies; and the tracking and reporting of progress against the plan.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by requiring disciplined and rigorous processes for managing the development and acquisition of IT systems, and implementing the processes throughout AOC. Specifically, these processes should include contract tracking and oversight processes, including developing a plan for tracking contractor activities, measuring contractor performance and conducting periodic reviews, and conducting internal reviews of tracking and oversight activities.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented its policy for contract administration, which assigns authority for administering contracts to the contracting officer. In addition, the agency provides tracking and oversight of contracts by measuring performance, conducting periodic contract reviews, and performing internal monthly reviews of contractor activities.

    Recommendation: To improve project management--project planning, design, and construction--at AOC, Architect of the Capitol should develop a Capitol Hill complex master plan and complete condition assessments of all buildings and facilities under the jurisdiction of AOC.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented this recommendation as follows: (1) We reported two years ago that facility condition assessments (FCA) had been completed for all AOC jurisdictions except the Library of Congress (LOC) and the Supreme Court. According to an AOC official, in 2008, AOC conducted FCAs for portions of the Supreme Court for which renovations were complete, and in 2009 conducted the FCA for the Thurgood Marshall Building. AOC will continue to conduct FCAs for the remaining portions of the Supreme Court as renovations are completed. For the LOC, AOC has received funding for all FCAs. AOC conducted FCAs for the Jefferson, Madison, and Adams buildings in 2007, is conducting the FCA for the Ft. Meade facility in 2009, and will do the Culpepper facility in 2010. Given that the majority of AOC's facilities condition assessments are either complete or underway, GAO considers this portion of the recommendation complete. (2) The remaining action in this area was for AOC to finalize the Capitol complex master plan. We reported last year that AOC planned to submit a draft of the master plan to Congress for review in the spring of 2007, a date that was already extended past the original projected completion date of late 2006. In July 2009, AOC sent draft plans for each jurisdiction of the Capitol complex to congressional oversight committees for its approval and briefed the committees. These jurisdiction plans include those for the Botanic Garden, Supreme Court, Capitol, Capitol Grounds, Library of Congress, Senate, House, Capitol Power Plant, and U.S. Capitol Police.

    Recommendation: To improve project management--project planning, design, and construction--at AOC, Architect of the Capitol should develop a process for assigning project priorities that is based on clearly defined, well documented, consistently applied, and transparent criteria.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation. AOC implemented a program development process in 2003 that rated projects (with a score from 1 to 100) in five categories: (1) historic preservation and stewardship, (2) fire and life and safety and code compliance, (3) impact on mission, (4) economics, and (5) security. In the spring of 2004 AOC improved the program development process by establishing extensive procedures designed to ensure that project scopes fully met both customer needs and all criteria and standards. The project evaluation criteria are currently being expanded to include urgency (such as immediate, high, medium, or low) and classification of a project (such as deferred maintenance or capital improvement). This expansion of the evaluation criteria results from information being received from facility condition assessments. In September 2005 the AOC's project prioritization panel will evaluate these recommended changes. According to AOC, assuming approval, the criteria will be applied to projects in the fiscal year 2007 budget submission and fully implemented effective with the project call of 2006.

    Recommendation: To improve project management--project planning, design, and construction--at AOC, Architect of the Capitol should develop tools to effectively communicate priorities and progress of projects, as a part of a broader communication strategy.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented this recommendation. AOC has established tools to effectively communicate priorities and progress of projects. For example, AOC has developed and continues to communicate its project prioritization processes through regular briefings to Congressional stakeholders. According to feedback from Congressional and other stakeholders, AOC made changes to the project prioritization process and plans to implement those changes in its fiscal year 2008 budget proposal. AOC continues to produce a quarterly status report on the budget and schedule status of projects that are released to Congressional appropriators.

    Recommendation: To improve project management--project planning, design, and construction--at AOC, Architect of the Capitol should define project-management-related performance measures to achieve mission-critical strategic and annual performance goals.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented this recommendation. AOC has defined project-management-related performance measures through its quarterly status report, dashboard, and performance plan. These measures include the status of project schedule, budget, cost, and safety. AOC also developed and implemented surveys on the quality of design and construction services. AOC could consider tracking the safety of its construction contractors, as is currently being done with the Capitol Visitor Center project.

    Recommendation: To improve project management--project planning, design, and construction--at AOC, Architect of the Capitol should align project management staff and resources with AOC's mission-critical goals.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation. In October 2005, AOC implemented a project management organization. The organization includes 32 personnel with responsibilities for project management, construction management, and inspection. The organization is focused on "cradle-to-grave" project delivery. Duties considered to be "collateral," such as design reviews, are being reassigned to other AOC officials outside of the new organization.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt a strategic approach to recycling, the Architect of the Capitol should develop a clear mission and goals for AOC's recycling program with input from key congressional stakeholders as part of its proposed environmental master plan. AOC may want to establish reasonable goals based on the total waste stream--information its plans to obtain as part of its long term environmental management plan--that could potentially be recycled.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation. AOC drafted a mission statement, goals, and performance measures for its recycling program and shared this draft with congressional stakeholders. The mission for the recycling program is to foster an environment that encourages recycling by the legislative branch staff through convenient and efficient programs, resulting in the diversion of wastes from the solid waste stream. AOC established three main goals for its recycling program: (1) increase overall recycling rates by diverting office wastes, (2) increase overall recycling tonnage by diverting non-office wastes, and (3) improving communication and coordination among interested Legislative Branch agencies by establishing a recycling working group by the end of fiscal year 2006.

    Recommendation: In order adopt a strategic approach to recycling, the Architect of the Capitol should develop a performance measurement, monitoring, and evaluation system that supports accomplishing AOC's recycling mission and goals.

    Agency Affected: Congress

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has established a performance measurement, monitoring, and evaluation system that supports its recycling mission and goals. AOC finalized its recycling program mission, goals, and performance measures in January 2006. These performance measures are in AOC's revised strategic plan and the Senate and House business plans. To monitor performance, AOC reports on the status of its recycling performance measures in the Safety, Health, and Environmental Council meetings. Additionally, AOC formed a Legislative Branch recycling group that met for the first time in September 2006. This group plans to meet quarterly to discuss common issues and share best management practices.

    Recommendation: In order to adopt a strategic approach to recycling, the Architect of the Capitol should examine the roles and responsibilities of AOC's recycling program staff to ensure that they are performing the right jobs with the necessary authority, and holding the staff accountable for achieving program and agency results through AOC's performance management system.

    Agency Affected: Congress

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In October 2006, AOC included recycling tasks in its position descriptions and included recycling responsibilities for recycling managers and supervisors in its evaluation system. For example, the performance evaluation system includes recycling objectives in the ratings of Senate and House recycling managers to hold them accountable for program results.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should establish a senior management work group that will routinely discuss workers' compensation cases and costs, and develop strategies to reduce these injuries and costs.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC, through the Safety, Health and Environmental Council (SHEC), has developed measures to assess and control workers' compensation costs, including: (1) the number and severity of injuries and illnesses, (2) the number and cost of workers' compensation injuries and illnesses, (3) the number of lost production days associated with workers' compensation cases, and (4) the number of modified work assignments. In addition, AOC has developed several tools aimed at raising employee awareness of safety and the link between safety and workers' compensation.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should clarify and explore the possibility of expanding the role of the Office of Attending Physician (OAP) in helping AOC meet its safety goals, consistent with the broad responsibilities laid out in the 1998 Memorandum of Understanding between AOC and OAP.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC worked with OAP to ensure that the lists of medical surveillance program participants are current. In addition, OAP is providing reports to AOC when employees are either due or past due for their medical examinations. AOC is also documenting the scope of medical surveillance services to better define and communicate the agency's requirements to OAP to ensure a common understanding and set of expectations.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should assign clear responsibility for tracking and recording training received by AOC employees, including maintaining an inventory of employees' certifications and licenses.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, AOC included guidance in the AOC Safety Manual that identifies supervisors' duties and responsibilities for employees' training, licenses, and certifications. To enable supervisors to track this information, AOC created standard reports that provide the current status of training courses by organization and category as well as a report that contains the complete training history by individual employee.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing and implementing and information security program. Specifically, the Architect should establish an information security program by designating a security officer and providing him or her with the authority and resources to implement and agencywide security program.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation. AOC has designated the chief information security officer with the authority to implement an agencywide security program and has reported that adequate resources (funding and staff) have been assigned to implement the program. AOC designated a chief information security officer in January 2007.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing and implementing an information security program. Specifically, the Architect should establish an information security program by developing and implementing policy and guidance to perform risk assessments continually.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC Order 7-1-7, effective April 15, 2010, established policy for information systems certification and accreditation (C&A) and risk assessment (RA). Among other things, the policy states that the agency shall conduct annual system security assessments as part of its risk assessment program. Further, according to the policy, AOC shall update risk assessments whenever there are significant changes to the information system, the facilities where the system resides, or other conditions that may impact the security or accreditation status of the system.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing and implementing an information security program. Specifically, the Architect should establish an information security program by using the results of the risk assessments to develop and implement appropriate controls.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC Order 7-1-6, effective April 15, 2010, established policy mandating the implementation of information systems security controls. The policy specifically states, among other things, that the agency shall document and implement security control policies and procedures based on risk assessments.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing and implementing an information security program. Specifically, the Architect should establish an information security program by developing policies for security training and awareness and providing the training.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has implemented this recommendation. AOC also has developed and issued policies for security and awareness training, which, according to the agency officials, has been completed by all employees.

    Recommendation: In order to continue to develop a management infrastructure and strengthen appropriate management controls, the Architect of the Capitol should strengthen adopt an agencywide approach to IT management by establishing and implementing an information security program. Specifically, the Architect should establish an information security program by monitoring and evaluating policy and control effectiveness.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC Order 7-2-3, effective September 8, 2008, established policy for determining the effectiveness of the agency's information technology security program through rigorous and periodic testing of security measures and the analysis and reporting of security metrics.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should identify performance measures for safety goals and objectives, including measures for how AOC will implement the 43 specialized safety programs and how superintendents and employees will be held accountable for achieving results.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has fulfilled this recommendation by institutionalizing its process to develop and implement, and annually review, its safety policies. AOC is in the process of moving from a single Safety Manual to individual safety manuals for each safety policy. AOC reports that 10 of its safety policies have been implemented, and final completion will help AOC to provide employees with important safety-related information and enable AOC to fully achieve its goal of long-term cultural change. Finally, AOC has reported previously that safety is part of its Performance & Communication Evaluation System and that all employees are held accountable for safety.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals the Architect of the Capitol should establish clearly defined and documented policies and procedures for reporting hazards similar to those that apply to injury and illness reporting.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has completed a job hazard analysis (JHA) process including describing the steps associated with each job task, identifying potential hazards associated with each task, developing the appropriate controls to eliminate or reduce the hazards, developing a training program to perform JHAs, and assisting first-line supervisors with performing qualitative JHAs. In addition, AOC has completed a step-by-step plan that provides a general approach for jurisdictions to manage their implementation of the JHA process. Finally, AOC has included a telephone number for reporting hazards in its monthly safety newsletters, which are distributed AOC-wide. The Architect has approved the Hazard Assessment and Control Policy.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should establish a consistent, AOC-wide system for conducting investigations and follow-up.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AOC has established a plan and initiated actions to improve the reporting of incidents. Specifically, AOC (1) implemented an incident analysis module that electronically documents the investigation of incidents, (2) approved an interim incident notification, investigation and reporting policy, and (3) implemented an AOC-wide incident investigation form. The agency is also sharing lessons learned in a number of ways, including through its safety support group.

    Recommendation: To enhance AOC's ongoing efforts to establish a strategy for the worker safety program by establishing safety program goals that are fully integrated with AOC's agencywide goals, the Architect of the Capitol should establish a safety training curriculum that fully supports all of the goals of the safety program and further evaluate the effectiveness of the training provided.

    Agency Affected: Architect of the Capitol

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of February 2006, AOC has fulfilled this recommendation in establishing training that supports the goals of the current safety policies. For example, during the implementation review process, AOC revalidated training requirements against regulatory requirements. Moreover, Safety Policy Managers have worked with the Human Resources Management Division (HRMD) to ensure that training required by upcoming policies has been identified. In addition, AOC has completed a training workbook exercise to assess the overall impact of required safety policy training on its budget. Also, central staff safety professionals continue to audit training courses and provide feedback to course instructors. Finally, the AOC has been using injury and illness data to identify training needs.

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