City Demonstration Agencies' Practices and Procedures for Collecting and Reporting Data on Model Neighborhood Projects

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-04-16.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                 Umm       STATES GENERAL        WC~~UNTING      OFFICE
                                              WASHINGTON,      D.C.   20548

                                                                                            APR 16 7911

              Dear Mr. Hyde:

                     The General Accounting Office,          during a review of Federal agency
              coordination    and participation     in the Model Cities Program, noted cer-
              tain matters relative       to the city demonstration          agencies'    (CDAs)
              practices    and procedures     for collecting       and reporting     data on model
              neighborhood    and/or model neighborhood           related  projects    and activities
              which, in our opinion,       warrant your attention,

                    We noted that      although CDAs were reporting    to the Department of
              Housing and Urban       Development (HUD) on most projects     or activities
              funded totally,    or    in part, with supplemental   funds, they did not
              report on projects       funded from other Federal,   State and/or local

                     Our work was performed at the headquarters   of the Department of
              Housing and Urban Development,     at HUD regional offices     in Atlanta,
              Georgia; Chicago, Illinois;    and San Francisco,  California;     and at
              the following    model cities: Atlanta,  Georgia; Chicago, Illinois;       Hunts-
              ville,   Alabama; and Seattle,  Washington.

                      Because the overall  model cities'     reporting     system is being
              revised    by HUD, we are providing     the results     of our review and our
              views for your consideration       prior to approving      final   revisions in the
              reporting    guidelines  and requirements,

                      CDA Letter Number 9, dated April 1969, which instructed                     cities    on
              the collection      and reporting        of project    data, required,        among other
              things,    that cities      provide    to HUD--on a quarterly          basis--work      program
              and accrued cost data for model city projects                  and activities       that were
              totally    or partially       funded with HUD supplemental           funds,      In addition,
              cities    were strongly       encouraged by the Department to collect               data and
              report on the other model neighborhood               projects     included     in the cities'
              comprehensive      demonstration       plans.     According to HUD, this information
              was to be used in its monitoring              of the Model Cities Program for such
              purposes as helping         the Department identify         actions which might be
              needed to ensure that an adequate level of Federal support is provided
              to the individual       cities'     programs and in order to measure the oper-
              ating performance       of projects       in each city's      program against planned

                     We noted that the quarterly    reports  submitted to HUD by CDAs in
              Atlanta,   Chicago, Huntsville,    and Seattle for&the period ending

                                           50 TH ANNIVERSARY          1921-   1971
,   4

        December 31, 1969, and for Atlanta,       Chicago, and Huntsville      for the
        period ending September 30, 1970, included         project information     (work
        progress and accrued costs) only on supplementally         funded projects      and
        did not include information     on projects    funded from other sources.        HUD
        officials    advised us that the Seattle CDA had not submitted a quarterly
        report    for the period ended September 30, 1970.

               To determine    the extent to which cities       were providing     informa-
        tion to HUD relative       to the number of projects       that were included in
        their approved comprehensive       demonstration     plans, we also reviewed the
        city demonstration      plan for one of the cities       included    in our review
        which was approved by HUD and compared the number of projects                 included
        in the plan with the projects        which the CDA included in its quarterly
        reports   to HUD. Although the CDA reported          on certain    supplementally
        funded projects,    it    had not reported   on  all  projects    which  were included
        in the plan and funded totally,        or in part, with HUD supplemental            funds.

                Our analysis   further     showed that many projects       included    by the CDA
        in the HUD approved demonstration           plan were ongoing categorical          grant
        projects,     such as mental health,       police training,      and school construc-
        tion and rehabilitation         projects,   for which certain      work progress and
        expenditure     data apparently       would be available     at the operating      agency
        level.     The approved plan included also a number of "new start"                 cate-
        gorical    grant projects      which were to be funded by several           Federal agen-
        cies, such as the Departments of Agriculture;               Health, Education,      and
        Welfare;    Housing and Urban Development;          Labor; and Transportation,         and
        State sources.

               HUD officials      advised us that they were aware that many CDAs were
        not reporting       work progress information         and expenditure    data on proj-
        ects funded with HUD supplemental              funds as was required     under HUD regu-
        lations.     These officials         added that action had not been taken to help
        ensure that the CDAs reported             this information   primarily    because, in
        their opinion,       the CDAs did not have the ability          to obtain this type
        of information.         HUD officials      added that procedures      to ensure that
        CDAs will provide        this information        will not be established     until   the
        revised   reporting      system has been fully        tested and properly     evaluated.

                On the basis of our review and discussions    with CDA officials,    it
        appeared that, for the most part, the CDA information       systems and pro-
        cedures did not provide     for the collection  of work progress information
        and expenditure     data on programs which were included in the NJD approved
        comprehensive    plans and which were being funded or were expected to be
        totally    funded from sources other than HUD supplemental     funds.

                We noted that officials    of the Regional Interagency  Coordinating
        Committee--as      early as October 1969-- emphasized in a discussion    with
        certain    CDA officials   the need for the CDA to obtain and report on model
        neighborhood     related  projects  which were funded from Federal categorical

program sources.     In response, CDA officials         stated that they had made
an effort  to obtain this data from the responsible            operating agencies
and that this information      would be included      in the next quarterly      report
submitted  to HUD, Our review showed, however,             that the CDA reported
only on those projects     that were either    totally      or partially  funded with
HUD supplemental    funds.

      A CDA official      in one of the cities      included  in our review advised
us that the CDA would like to obtain and provide             HUD with project     data
on activities     funded from categorical       grant program sources, but added,
that the CDA did not know the best method of obtaining              this information.
In addition,     HUD officials      expressed the view that Federal agencies are
not willing    to require      their individual    operating  agencies to furnish
this information      to the CDAs.

        It appears that some CDAs included ongoing federally                supported      proj-
ects and activities     in their comprehensive        plans primarily        in an attempt
to demonstrate     that "linkages"     exist between previously          established
Federal grant-in-aid      programs and programs currently           planned or recently
initiated    under the Model Cities Program.          It does not appear, however,
that CDAs have been very successful          in collecting     pertinent       information
on the progress and expenditures         made under these programs.              As a result,
it appears also that CDAs have not had the opportunity                 to properly       analyze
these other program efforts        for the purpose of ascertaining,              among other
things,    whether any new and additional       projects    and activities--not
assisted    under an ongoing Federal grant-in-aid          program--should          be estab-
lished under the Model Cities Program to attack the social,                    economic, and
physical    problems that confront      the model neighborhoods.

       In addition,    although    this information     would be of assistance         to HUD
in its monitoring      efforts,    we believe    that the project        data which HUD had
strongly   encouraged the CDAs to collect           and report is essential         to the
local decision      making process and would be of assistance              in the formula-
tion and implementation         of a truly comprehensive        demonstration     type pro-
gram, as required      under the basic model cities'          legislation.

        We recognize that the Department and CDAs have experienced                 problems
relative     to the reporting   specified     in CDA Letter Number 9 and that ulti-
mately these problems led to the establishment               of special task force
reviews of the model cities'        reporting     practices     and procedures.       Fur-
ther, we understand       that because the overall        reporting    requirements      under
this CDA letter     appeared inadequate       from the standpoint        of Federal moni-
toring of the program, a new quarterly            report --as an interim       measure--was

      Under the interim reporting  requirements     established     by HUD in
December 1970 (MC 3180.51, CDAs were no longer specifically           encouraged
to collect  information from the individual     operating     agencies and their

State counterparts     on progress and costs incurred  on model neighborhood
related  projects    and programs that may be financed from other than HUD
supplemental    funds.

        During our review we were unable to fully                 evaluate  the extent to
which CDAs had attempted,            in line with the suggestions          of the Department
in CDA Letter Number 9, to gather data from agencies and/or operating
groups conducting          these projects     or programs.        However, because of the
obvious need for the CDAs to use this data in their planning of current
and future projects --pursuant             to the development       of a responsive     com-
prehensive        demonstration    program-- we believe        that the CDAs should be
requested       to collect     and utilize    this type of information.          The need for
this information         has been further       demonstrated      by the views and comments
of certain       Federal officials       who have stated, in assisting          Regional Inter-
agency Coordinating           Committee officials      in their review of city demon-
stration     programs, that care should be taken to ensure that projects                   planned
by CDAs and funded with HUD supplemental                 funds were not duplicative        of
projects      that were already being undertaken             in the model neighborhoods.

       We recognize that the lack of guidance to CDAs in obtaining                model
neighborhood     program data and the Federal agencies reluctance              to require
their individual       operating      agencies to furnish    this data may have impeded
the CDAs' ability       to obtain and report project         information.    It appears,
therefore,    that measures can be taken by the Department--at              both the
headquarters     and regional       levels --in order to help ensure that CDAs obtain
essential    project    information       on model neighborhood     related programs
funded from Federal and other sources.              In this regard, we recommend that
you :

      --encourage     the CDAs to collect  and use, in the development
         of their comprehensive    demonstration   programs, data on
         all projects    related to the model neighborhoods,

      --provide    additional      guidance and assistance       to CDAs
         relative   to the most appropriate        methods and pro-
         cedures which should be followed          in collecting     data
          from operating      agencies on projects     that are related
         to the model neighborhood         programs but which are
          funded from sources other than HUD supplemental             funds,

      --establish,    at the Federal agencies headquarters       level,
         an interagency    working group for the purpose of develop-
         ing and suggesting     methods and procedures    to expand and
         improve the CDAs' information     and reporting    system to
         include,   at a minimum, all federally     funded programs
         which relate   to the model neighborhoods.

        We wish to express our appreciation    for the cooperation and cour-
tesies extended to our staff during this review.        We shall be pleased
to discuss with you or members of your staff any of the above matters
and would also appreciate    receiving    your comments and views on any
actions taken or planned with regard to the matters discussed in this

       A copy of this   report   is being   sent to the Assistant    Secretary
for   Administration.

                                              Sincerely   yours,

                                              B. E. Birkle
                                              Assistant   Director

The Honorable Floyd H. Hyde
Assistant   Secretary for
  Community Development
Department of Housing and
  Urban Development