Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Actions Needed to Incorporate Key Practices into Management Functions and Program Oversight

GAO-16-497: Published: Jul 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 19, 2016.

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What GAO Found

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has struggled to resolve persistent management challenges, in part because it has not consistently incorporated requirements and key practices identified by GAO to help ensure effective management into its operations. In addition, HUD's past remedial actions were not always effective because they were not sustained. Turnover among senior leadership, shifting priorities, and resource constraints have contributed to HUD's difficulties in implementing needed changes. As a result, GAO and others continue to find deficiencies in numerous aspects of HUD's operations. Sustained focus on integrating requirements and key practices into agency management could enhance HUD's ability to more effectively accomplish its mission.

HUD has not fully met some requirements or implemented a number of key practices for its management functions, including performance planning and reporting and information technology (IT), human capital, financial, and acquisition management. In particular, some HUD plans for executing critical management functions are missing key elements, as described below. HUD also has not always maintained current and complete policies and procedures, an important component of agency governance. These challenges stem partly from a lack of controls to help ensure timely updates of plans, policies, and procedures.

Extent to Which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Met Requirements or Was Following Key Practices for Management Functions

Why GAO Did This Study

Through its $48 billion fiscal year 2016 budget, HUD administers a wide variety of programs that help millions of households obtain safe, decent, and affordable housing and that seek to build and strengthen communities. However, GAO and HUD's Office of Inspector General have identified management deficiencies that limit the effectiveness and efficiency of HUD's operations. For example, the Inspector General cited human capital management, financial management systems, and information security among the major management challenges facing HUD in fiscal year 2016 and beyond. GAO was asked to review HUD's management practices.

This report examines HUD's efforts to (1) meet requirements and implement key practices for management functions, including financial, human capital, acquisition, and IT management; and (2) oversee and evaluate programs. GAO reviewed HUD policies and compared them with federal requirements, key practices, and internal control standards. GAO also interviewed HUD officials and industry stakeholders.

What GAO Recommends

GAO makes eight new recommendations designed to improve HUD’s strategic and human capital planning, governance, and program oversight and evaluation. HUD concurred with our recommendations. GAO also maintains that 63 recommendations it made in prior work should be fully implemented to help improve aspects of HUD management.

For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or garciadiazd@gao.gov.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should clearly link HUD's strategic goals and objectives with federal priority goals in the next annual performance plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should describe the reasons that goals were not met and HUD's plans for achieving them in the next annual performance report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should establish procedures and time frames for conducting outreach with Congress and stakeholders to help ensure that the strategic plan meets statutory requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  4. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should establish a process and schedule for regularly reviewing, revising, and updating HUD's human capital strategic plan, strategic workforce plan, and succession plan.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  5. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should establish a process and schedule for reviewing and updating policies and procedures to help ensure that policies and procedures for key management functions remain current and complete.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  6. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should formalize lines of communication between the Chief Information Officer and the agency head, consistent with OMB guidance and internal control standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  7. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should designate entities within the program offices or an entity with agency-wide responsibilities for overseeing fraud risk management activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  8. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: In order to more fully implement key practices and meet requirements and to better institutionalize standards and practices, the Secretary of HUD should develop written policies for conducting program evaluations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

 

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