ADP Workstations:

SSA's $64-Million Acquisition for Fiscal Year 1987 Should Be Reconsidered

IMTEC-86-34: Published: Sep 16, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Social Security Administration's (SSA) efforts to update its computer systems that process benefit claims, specifically its fiscal year (FY) 1987 procurement of automatic data processing (ADP) furniture for the Claims Modernization Project.

GAO found that: (1) SSA did not follow federal regulations requiring agencies to support the need for new furniture; (2) the projected cost per workstation includes some furniture that is not normally required for ADP workstations; (3) the amount of furniture SSA plans to procure substantially exceeds its needs; (4) SSA officials did not provide supporting justification for the large amount of planned furniture procurements; (5) furniture acquisitions are authorized only when there is an increase in agency personnel or a need to avoid program inefficiency; and (6) although specific furniture is needed to support SSA computer modernization, SSA has not clearly identified the nature and urgency of its planned procurement.

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

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should immediately direct the Commissioner of Social Security to limit future contractual commitments of FY 1987 funds for ADP furniture procurement, in accordance with ADP hardware recommendations cited in the August 1986 report, to coincide with the terminals procured for a full pilot test of the proposed computer system.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Congress directed SSA to evaluate its furniture plan in light of other priorities. SSA is contracting with the Federal Prison Service for furniture at a substantially reduced price and plans to procure $5 million of furniture during FY 1989. None of the $64.7 million in the SSA FY 1988 budget was expended on furniture.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should immediately direct the Commissioner of Social Security to delay the remaining planned FY 1987 furniture procurement until SSA thoroughly justifies the need for new furniture, in accordance with federal regulations. In conducting such an analysis, SSA should clearly identify those furniture acquisitions that are ADP-related and those that are not needed to support SSA computer modernization efforts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA stated in its FY 1988 budget justification that it is reexamining its furniture procurement plans and adopting a conservative approach.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should immediately direct the Commissioner of Social Security to thoroughly reexamine all activities associated with the furniture pilot program to reconsider the appropriateness of: (1) the furniture being justified and procured as ADP-related under the pilot program; and (2) the average workstation cost being based on furniture items that are not mandatory for ADP workstation requirements and that appear excessive in cost.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA stated in its FY 1988 budget justification that it is reexamining its furniture procurement plans and adopting a conservative approach.

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