United States General Accounting Office GAO Report to Congressional Committees July 2003 BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SCHOOLS New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed GAO-03-692 July 2003 BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SCHOOLS New Facilities Management Information Highlights of GAO-03-692, a report to System Promising, but Improved Data Congressional Committees Accuracy Needed The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) FMIS is designed to address the previous data system’s shortcomings and is responsible for providing over appears to have the capability to meet BIA’s management needs if the data 48,000 children with a safe place to that are entered into FMIS are correct and timely. The old system was hard learn. In response to concerns that to use and did not readily provide data for maintenance and repair efforts. data in its old information system FMIS’s design appears to overcome these weaknesses. For example, FMIS did not accurately reflect the condition of facilities, BIA acquired has features that help facility managers make data more consistent, as well a new system, called the Facilities as tools for helping managers develop cost estimates for maintenance and Management Information System construction projects. (FMIS). GAO was asked to determine whether FMIS addresses BIA’s contractor has been correcting the data that were transferred to FMIS the old system’s weaknesses and from the previous system, but issues such as software compatibility meets BIA’s management needs, problems between the contractor’s system and FMIS have delayed entry of whether BIA has finished validating some of the data for more than 1 year. BIA officials say that these problems the accuracy of data entered into are being addressed. They said the delay has not affected their ability to FMIS from the old system, and how prioritize or fund repair and construction projects, and our review of the well the quality control measures data indicated that most newly identified deficiencies will not need to be are working for ensuring the accuracy of new data being entered addressed for 2 to 5 years. Our review of data from 14 BIA schools and into the system from individual observations during site visits disclosed no instances in which these data schools. problems resulted in an unsafe learning environment for children. Most measures for controlling the quality of new data BIA employees are entering into the system for individual schools are not working well. BIA GAO recommends that BIA has established a multilevel review process and training programs to help establish better guidance and ensure that such data entries are complete and accurate, but BIA’s performance expectations for contractor, in reviewing data at the end of this process, continues to find employees who are responsible for entering and reviewing the that nearly half of the proposed data entries coming through the system are accuracy and completeness of inaccurate and incomplete. Data entries from one-third of 102 schools that FMIS data. GAO also recommends entered data show a 100-percent error rate. As a result, BIA officials that BIA officials periodically continue to rely on their contractor to ensure that FMIS reflects accurate analyze the extent and type of data and complete data on the condition of BIA’s facilities. errors being found during review in order to identify training needs and BIA School in South Dakota other strategies for addressing any continuing problems. www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-692. To view the full report, including the scope and methodology, click on the link above. For more information, contact Marnie S. Shaul (202) 512-6778. Contents Letter 1 Results in Brief 2 Background 5 FMIS’s Design Addresses Previous Information System’s Shortcomings and Appears to Have the Capability to Meet BIA’s Needs 8 Inventory and Backlog Data Have Been Validated, but Not Transferred to FMIS 13 Control Measures in Place for Ensuring Data Quality Are Largely Ineffective 22 Conclusion 26 Recommendation for Executive Action 27 Agency Comments on Our Evaluation 27 Appendix I Objectives, Scope, and Methodology 30 Appendix II Comments from the Department of the Interior 32 Appendix III GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments 34 GAO Contacts 34 Staff Acknowledgments 34 Tables Table 1. Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks 10 Table 2: School Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used by Children 14 Table 3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 2002 17 Table 4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME’s 100 Percent Validation in 1999 18 Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14 Schools 20 Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102 Schools Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002. 23 Page i GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Figure Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline 7 Abbreviations AME Applied Management Engineering, Inc. BIA Bureau of Indian Affairs FACCOM Facility Construction Operations and Maintenance FMIS Facilities Management Information System O&M operations and maintenance OFMC Office of Facilities Management and Constructions This is a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. It may contain copyrighted graphics, images or other materials. Permission from the copyright holder may be necessary should you wish to reproduce copyrighted materials separately from GAO’s product. Page ii GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management United States General Accounting Office Washington, DC 20548 July 31, 2003 Congressional Committees: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), which is responsible for ensuring that over 48,000 Indian students have school facilities that provide them with a safe and quality place to learn, works with Indian tribes to operate and maintain nearly 2,200 buildings at 171 elementary and secondary schools.1 During fiscal year 2002, BIA’s budget for operating, maintaining, constructing, and repairing its school facilities was nearly $348 million. For many years, BIA and tribal employees have been tracking the condition of their school facilities using an automated information system. Tribal Indian education organizations2 and BIA have had longstanding concerns that the information system was inadequate for managing school facilities and did not accurately reflect how many buildings are in good condition or disrepair. As a result, BIA did not have accurate and complete information to determine how much annual funding is needed at each school site for heating, lighting, and other operating expenses, as well as how much current and future funding is needed at each site for making repairs and capital improvements, such as patching a roof or upgrading a fire alarm system. Recognizing the need to address these concerns, BIA is now in its third year of implementing a new Facilities Management Information System (FMIS) to replace its old information system.3 Prior to implementing FMIS, however, and to ensure that this new system met BIA’s management needs, BIA hired a consulting firm to identify weaknesses with the old system and recommend improvements for designing a new one. Once the 1 During school year 2001-2002, in addition to the 171 elementary and secondary schools, BIA funded 14 peripheral dormitories. These dormitories are established on reservations for Indian students who attend nearby public schools. 2 We discussed the issues concerning the school facilities with the Association of Community Tribal Schools, the National Indian School Board Association, the Native American Grant Schools Association, and the Association of Navajo Community Controlled School Boards. 3 BIA uses the FMIS to manage its entire Facilities Management Program. FMIS processes information about all BIA-owned or BIA-funded facilities. However, facilities other than educational facilities were considered to be out of our scope and were not included in our analysis. Page 1 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management new system was designed and BIA was prepared to implement it, BIA hired an engineering firm to validate all of the data to be transferred from the old system into FMIS to ensure that the data were accurate and complete. To maintain the integrity of these data over time, BIA also introduced various quality control measures for helping ensure that facility management staff would accurately enter new data into FMIS. Because of concerns about the quality of the data in the former system, the Congress directed us to conduct a review in this area.4 After discussions with cognizant congressional committees and several Indian education organizations about the information that would be most helpful, we focused our efforts on (1) whether BIA’s new facilities management information system addresses the former system’s shortcomings and meets BIA’s needs for managing school facilities; (2) the status of BIA’s effort to validate the accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred from the old system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA’s quality control measures are working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are accurate and complete. To conduct our review of BIA’s new information system, we reviewed the studies that evaluated BIA’s old information system and determined the extent that BIA’s new system implements recommendations. We evaluated data currently in the FMIS database and accompanied BIA’s contractor on selected site visits designed to validate and update information in the database. We also interviewed school officials at 8 BIA-funded schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota. We selected these schools to obtain a mix based on differences in their size, geographic location, and type of school, such as day school or boarding school. We also interviewed officials from BIA’s Office of Facilities Management and Construction, Division of Safety and Risk Management, and Office of Indian Education Programs, as well as officials from various Indian education organizations. See appendix I for a more complete description of our scope and methodology. We conducted our work between June 2002 and July 2003 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. FMIS is designed to address the previous information system’s Results in Brief shortcomings and appears to have the capability to meet BIA’s needs for 4 The mandate for this review is from Public Law 107-110. Page 2 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management managing its school facilities if the data that are entered are correct and timely. Problems with the old system included difficulty of use and inaccurate data. FMIS is designed as an easy-to-use system that allows facility managers at the schools to enter data without having to remember lengthy codes or compute calculations by hand. Many facility managers at the schools we visited said FMIS is easier to use and contains features that address weaknesses they had identified with the previous system. FMIS also has features that can help BIA employees make accurate and consistent data entries, including more specific categories and priority rankings for repairs and improvements, and a software tool that helps facility managers develop cost estimates for repair, replacement, or construction projects. FMIS incorporates several modules to provide BIA managers with enough information to help them make consistent decisions for disbursing funds across the schools and for accurately and consistently prioritizing repair projects and capital improvements. BIA’s engineering contractor has identified needed corrections to the inventory and condition data that were transferred to FMIS from the old information system, but BIA has not made all of the data corrections in FMIS. As of October 2002, FMIS contained information on almost 2,200 buildings at 171 elementary and secondary schools and showed an estimated cost of over $642 million for repairs, capital improvements, and construction to improve the facilities’ condition and meet changing program needs. Regarding the inventory data used to provide schools with annual funds for operations and maintenance (O&M), BIA’s contractor completed its data validation effort in February 2003, and BIA expects that the FMIS data will be updated by August 2003. BIA officials expect that this corrected inventory data will enhance their ability to provide schools with the appropriate amount of funding beginning in fiscal year 2004. Regarding the data used to identify and prioritize repair projects and capital improvements, BIA’s contractor has been completing its cyclical review of the condition of school facilities on time. The contractor completed its first review of all school sites in 1999, identifying almost 75,000 adjustments that increased the list of repairs and improvements by more than $265 million. In fiscal year 2002, the contractor visited 33 schools and identified corrections to add, delete, or adjust the FMIS data. However, because of issues such as software compatibility problems between the contractor’s system and FMIS, BIA had not entered the results of these condition assessments into FMIS for over 1 year. BIA and contractor officials said that these compatibility problems are being addressed and that the delay did not significantly affect BIA’s ability to appropriately prioritize or fund repair and construction projects or negatively affect the children’s learning environment. Our review of the Page 3 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management data for 14 of the schools showed that none of the unentered data were for urgent or safety deficiencies that needed immediate attention; most were maintenance deficiencies that would need attention over the next 2 to 5 years. Further, in our visits to 8 BIA schools, we did not observe that the children were in facilities that did not provide them with a safe place to learn. The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on BIA employees entering correct and timely information, but control measures BIA has established for ensuring data quality have been largely ineffective. BIA established a process whereby each data entry proposed by school facility managers is reviewed for accuracy by BIA engineering personnel at both an agency and a regional office, with final review and approval by BIA’s engineering contractor and the central office before being accepted into FMIS. Despite this process, however, BIA’s contractor continues to find that nearly half of data entries proposed by facility managers and approved by agency and regional office personnel are inaccurate and incomplete, with a third of 102 schools that entered data experiencing a 100 percent error rate. Despite these ongoing problems, BIA officials have not established criteria and performance goals that define their expectations for the accuracy and completeness of data entered into FMIS. In addition, BIA officials do not analyze the number and content of data errors that would allow them to identify the type of additional guidance or training needed, or target locations that could benefit from more comprehensive technical assistance. BIA officials responsible for FMIS said that one reason they have not taken such action is because they had no line authority over the BIA employees that enter and review the FMIS data, and such action would have had to occur at a higher level within BIA. BIA officials said that an ongoing reorganization of the agency and collaboration between BIA offices offers an opportunity to address performance issues of BIA staff. Until BIA employee performance improves, BIA officials responsible for FMIS continue to rely on their contractor to ensure that FMIS reflects accurate and complete data about the condition of BIA’s facilities. We are making recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and the Office of Indian Education Programs to take steps to improve the ability of BIA employees to maintain the integrity of FMIS data. These recommendations include establishing criteria, guidance, and performance measures for maintaining accurate, complete, and timely FMIS data. These recommendations also include a requirement to periodically analyze the Page 4 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management number and content of data errors in order to identify strategies for correcting and preventing them. BIA administers funding for the operation, maintenance, construction, and Background repair of school facilities at 171 elementary and secondary schools in 23 states. These schools are located primarily in rural areas and small towns and serve Indian students living on or near reservations. Many of these schools include not only educational buildings, but also dormitories and supporting infrastructure such as water and sewer systems. BIA operates 64 of the schools directly while the others are operated by tribes through separate grant or contract agreements. We previously reported on issues related to the condition of BIA school facilities in 1997 and 2001.5 BIA’s Office of Facilities Management and Construction (OFMC) is responsible for overseeing FMIS. At both BIA-operated and tribal-operated schools, it is the responsibility of the facility managers to enter data about the inventory and condition of their schools into the system. Prior to acceptance into FMIS, these draft data entries are reviewed and approved by facility managers at BIA agency and regional offices respectively, before final review and approval by a BIA contractor and BIA’s central office. For 22 years BIA relied on its Facility Construction Operations and Maintenance (FACCOM) system to maintain inventory data for its annual O&M program, as well as “backlog” data that reflect repairs and improvements needed outside of the annual maintenance program to improve the facilities’ condition now and in the future. These data assist BIA in monitoring the status of facilities repair and new construction projects and identifying funding needs for O&M and renovation. However, as BIA’s needs began to change, BIA managers realized that FACCOM had limitations and acknowledged that there were serious concerns with the accuracy and completeness of these data. As shown in figure 1, BIA’s efforts to replace FACCOM began in 1995 when one of its contractors issued a report about the FACCOM system’s shortcomings and recommended actions for improvement. In 1995, BIA entered into a contract with Anteon Corporation, a system developer, to 5 See U.S. General Accounting Office, School Facilities: Reported Condition and Costs to Repair Schools Funded by Bureau of Indian Affairs, GAO/HEHS-98-47 (Washington D.C.: Dec. 31, 1997) and BIA and DOD Schools: Student Achievement and Other Characteristics Often Differ from Public Schools’, GAO-01-934 (Washington D.C.: Sept. 28, 2001). Page 5 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management design the new management information system. Relying on government standards,6 BIA worked with Anteon Corporation to design the new system and address FACCOM’s shortcomings. In 1999, BIA contracted with an engineering firm, Applied Management Engineering, Inc. (AME), to conduct a survey at all school sites in order to validate the schools’ condition data and to verify the presence of buildings and their use. According to BIA officials, after AME validated each school’s inventory and condition data, and BIA approved it, the data were accepted into FMIS. 6 The standards are the Federal Information Processing Standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Page 6 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Figure 1: FMIS Design and Implementation Timeline 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 March BIA began Anteon Anteon January March June January February The contracting reviewing and Corporation Corporation BIA awarded AME completed FMIS was AME began its AME completed firm's report is evaluating its began continued AME a 100 percent available second cycle its validation and issued that management designing and designing and a contract to validation of the at all BIA offices to reassess and verificaton of evaluated needs to developing developing verify and schools' backlog and schools validate the the schools' FACCOM's determine an FMIS. FMIS. validate the data and nationwide. backlog data inventory data. weaknesses and appropriate schools' of the inventory for 20 percent recommended design for the backlog data associated with November of the schools April actions to verify information and to validate the backlog. BIA awarded each year. BIA awarded AME existing data and system. the inventory AME a contract a contract to ensure integrity associated June to verify and continue its work of future data. with the backlog. BIA transferred validate each of verifying and the AME- of the school's validating the April validated inventory data. schools' inventory BIA awarded backlog data and backlog. AME Anteon into FMIS. began its third cycle Corporation to reassess and a contract to August validate the backlog design a new AME began data for 33 percent facilities its first cycle of the schools management to reassess each year.a information and validate system. the backlog August data for 20 BIA expects to percent of the transfer the AME- schools each validated inventory year. data into FMIS. November BIA began implementing FMIS at BIA offices and schools. Source: BIA data. a PL. 107-110 required BIA to update the data in FMIS every 3 years. From fiscal years 1995 through 2002, BIA spent nearly $12.5 million to develop and begin implementing FMIS. These costs include about $8 million for contractor expenses and over $2.6 million for BIA in-house expenses, which covered the design of FMIS and ongoing technical support. During fiscal years 1999- 2003, BIA spent about $13 million for the AME contract covering the validation of inventory and condition data and other engineering support activities. To operate FMIS, BIA expects to spend about $1.7 million annually through fiscal year 2006 for contractor expenses and about $250,000 for in-house expenses. In fiscal year 2007, BIA hopes to move to an annual steady rate of about $750,000 for contractor costs and about $250,000 for in-house costs. To continue having AME reassess and validate the schools’ inventory and condition data, BIA Page 7 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management projects to spend over $8.3 million from fiscal years 2004 through 2006 on contract expenses. Recognizing the FACCOM system’s shortcomings, BIA worked with its FMIS’ Design system developer to design a new management information system that Addresses Previous would assist in resolving many of the weaknesses identified with the old system, including those related to difficulty of use and accuracy of data. Information System’s FMIS is more user friendly and it is designed to meet facility managers’ Shortcomings and needs at all levels within BIA by serving as both an information management system and as a project management tool. FMIS incorporates Appears to Have the modules, including the inventory and backlog modules, which help facility Capability to Meet managers make decisions regarding the condition of the school facilities BIA’s Needs to provide a safe environment for their students. The inventory module contains information such as the physical characteristics and use of buildings and is used to make funding decisions for annual operating expenses and routine maintenance. The backlog module contains data that tracks detailed information about the physical condition of a school’s facility and is used to prioritize and fund repair projects, capital improvements, and construction. FMIS Is Designed to FMIS is designed to better support the day-to-day activities of the facility Resolve Shortcomings management staff by being more user friendly. FMIS is a Windows-based with the Previous system that provides a point-and-click feature, which makes it easy to navigate the system without having to remember codes. This is important Information System for FMIS users, because some facility managers have little prior exposure to computers. Facility managers we interviewed at the school sites and agency and regional offices said that compared to FACCOM, FMIS is better and easier to use. One facility manager in Arizona said FMIS is easier to use because the system automatically sends messages to him when changes are made to the data, allowing him to instantly see when updates have been made to his school’s data. Another facility manager in Arizona said FMIS’s automated functions, such as drop-down menus, make it user friendly. Finally, according to BIA officials, FACCOM was only accessible by about 3-4 percent of facility managers, which did not include facility managers located at the schools. FMIS is designed to be accessible by all of BIA’s facility managers, including those at the school sites, via an Internet connection. Although most of the facility managers we visited at the schools said FMIS was better compared to FACCOM, Page 8 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management many had been unable to access FMIS at school sites since December of 2001 due to a court order that shut down access to BIA’s Internet site.7 These facility managers had to travel to agency or regional offices to enter data or had to forward data to these offices for data entry. FMIS is also designed to help BIA employees improve the accuracy of the data, in part through automated mechanisms that help facility managers consistently describe the category and rank of backlog entries and the funding needed to address them.8 One difficulty under FACCOM was that entries listed in the backlog were often categorized incorrectly with inflated priorities, making it difficult to determine which projects needed immediate attention. To address this problem, FMIS is designed to restrict who can enter safety deficiencies, which are given first priority for funding. In addition, FMIS is designed to only accept entries that have been reviewed and approved by three different levels of BIA management and the contractor. Further, BIA refined the definitions of how backlog items should be categorized and ranked to help facility managers use the definitions consistently. The definitions now include nine categories and a ranking system for determining the priority of the items entered into the backlog (see table 1). These nine categories describe whether the deficiency at the school affects safety and endangers students’ lives; violates an environmental, disability, or energy standard; is a maintenance or capital improvement item; or requires an emergency repair. In addition, the system ranks items using a scale from one through three—with one describing the most severe deficiency. The backlog entries ranked as a “1” will most likely be funded first because they are the highest priority. FMIS requires facility managers to enter an associated category and rank for all items entered into the backlog. Such a process, with its greater 7 In the Cobell v. Norton litigation concerning the government’s management of Native American trust funds, a U.S. District Court judge, on December 5, 2001, ordered the Department of the Interior to disconnect from the Internet all information technology systems that house or provide access to individual Indian trust data and all computers within the custody and control of Interior, its employees, and contractors that have access to individual trust data. In an order dated December 17, 2001, the judge held that Interior could reconnect systems to the Internet with the approval of a court-appointed Special Master. As of June 16, 2003, the BIA facilities management information system had not been reconnected to the Internet. 8 Entries to FMIS are identified through physical inspections and entered by the BIA contractor, the Division of Safety and Risk Management, facilities management field staff, or the Division of Environmental Services. Cost estimates are developed from these inspections and are routed through the contractor from either the facilities management field staff or the Division of Environmental Services, according to BIA officials. Page 9 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management specificity in how to categorize and rank deficiencies, can help facility managers improve consistency in the data entered for all 171 schools. Table 1. Description of Backlog Categories and Ranks Category of violation Code and rank Emergency U-1—an unforeseen event in which danger exists that could reasonably be expected to cause death, physical harm, or property damage. Safety S-1—serious deficiency that poses a threat to safety and health, such as fire safety violations. S-2—moderate deficiency such as poor lighting or trip or fall hazards. Physical plant M-1—deficiency related to the structural, mechanical, or (maintenance) electrical systems that render it inoperable, such as the deterioration of a roof that causes interior building damage. M-2—deficiency related to the facility, systems, or grounds, such as replacing worn door locks that are inoperable M-3—functional facility equipment exceeds its normal life expectancy. Handicapped H-1—serious code deficiency, such as the lack of accessible door hardware. H-2—violation of codes and standards, such as the lack of code compliant accessible handrails. Environmental X-1—serious code deficiency that poses a threat to life or property, such as removing friable asbestos in occupied areas. X-2—code deficiency, such as removing asbestos floor tiles from a building. Predictive renewals R-3—backlogs identified for future planning to determine the life cycle needs beyond the 5-year plan. New construction C-1—to replace buildings with serious code/safety deficiencies or to abate numerous high cost code violations that meet or exceed the replacement cost rule. C-2—to accommodate functional or programmatic needs, such as replacing an undersized dining room to accommodate the student population. Programmatic capital P-2—to change the functional space or to accommodate improvements programmatic space needs, such as retrofitting an existing classroom into a computer laboratory. Energy E-2—violation of energy codes and standards, such as upgrading or replacing inefficient heating systems. E-3—deficiencies, which when corrected will reduce energy use, such as replacing weather seals on exterior doors. Source: BIA data. Page 10 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management To help facility managers develop accurate and consistent cost estimates to address backlog items, FMIS is designed to operate with a software program that helps facility managers accomplish industry standard cost estimates for replacement, renovation, or construction projects over $5,000. A facility manager at a school site we visited said that this software tool eliminates the need to make calculations by hand, and thus greatly assists him in estimating accurate costs for school projects. Another accuracy-related area that plagued FACCOM was that projects would continue on the active backlog list even after completion. The FMIS backlog module is designed with a “backlog completion screen” that stores completion dates, costs, and narrative comments. This function helps facility managers monitor the length of time that funded backlog items remained on the backlog without being completed. Unlike FACCOM, FMIS is designed with a tracking function that identifies the name of the person who entered or updated a particular backlog item. Managers can use this function to seek clarification or justification for items that have not been completed within a reasonable timeframe. FMIS Is Designed to Assist The FMIS inventory module, one of six modules in the system,9 is designed BIA in Making Funding to assist BIA in determining operations and maintenance funding for its Decisions for Annual school facilities. Specifically, the inventory module is designed to manage information about all of BIA’s school buildings, rooms, towers (such as a Operating Expenses and water tower), and grounds, along with their associated inventory items, Routine Maintenance such as stairs, sidewalks, or playgrounds. The inventory module also details if the property is owned, operated, or maintained by BIA directly or under contract or grant. The inventory module is designed with the capacity to integrate with other FMIS modules in order to generate reports and provide detailed documentation for federal funding purposes. At the schools we visited, several facility managers said the inventory function in FMIS helps them to better manage their school facilities. For example, one school facility manager in Arizona said FMIS helps him more accurately keep track of his school’s inventory and allowed him to enter the information that is necessary for BIA to make good funding decisions. Another facility manager in South Dakota said that because only one staff 9 The six modules that make up FMIS are inventory, budget, project management, backlog, reports, and work tickets. BIA is in the process of implementing a seventh module, the work plan module. Page 11 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management person can enter information into the inventory module, his school is able to maintain consistency in inventory changes and additions. FMIS Is Designed to Help The FMIS backlog module is designed to help BIA officials prioritize and BIA Prioritize and Justify make funding decisions for needed repair projects and capital Funding for Repair improvements. The backlog collects and tracks condition data related to deficiencies, capital improvements, or construction for specific inventory Projects and Capital items, such as classrooms, sidewalks, or utility systems. These data are Improvements entered into FMIS by a facility manager, by safety officers as a part of a safety inspection, or by BIA’s contractor. Although the backlog module can store information about any identified deficiency, the only items that are reported as part of BIA’s backlog are those with an estimated cost of more than $1,000 to fix. These deficiencies, which may be grouped together to form repair, replacement, or construction projects are maintained in the backlog until funded and complete. During our site visits, many of the facility managers said the backlog module helped them to better manage their facilities. For example, one school facility manager in Arizona said FMIS’s ability to store digital pictures was helpful because a picture of a deficiency could be sent to the regional facility manager and reviewed without the facility manager traveling nearly 284 miles to the school. Facility managers at schools use the information in the backlog module to justify funding needs for repair projects and capital improvements at their schools. BIA management officials allocating funding among the schools said the data in the backlog module allow them to determine which deficiencies are related to student safety and need to be addressed immediately, and which are related to capital improvements, such as roof replacement, that are planned for the future. BIA officials said they use the backlog data to help improve the physical condition of their schools in order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for the students. Page 12 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management BIA’s engineering contractor has corrected the inventory and backlog data Inventory and that existed in the old data system, but BIA has not transferred all Backlog Data Have corrected information to the new FMIS. The contractor completed its validation of the inventory data in February 2003, and BIA plans to transfer Been Validated, but the corrected data into the FMIS by August 2003. BIA officials expect that Not Transferred to the corrected inventory data, in conjunction with improvement to the existing funding formula,10 will enhance their ability to better match FMIS funding with annual expenses for utilities and routine maintenance at each school site. For the backlog data, BIA’s contractor is in the third year of the second cycle review of the condition of BIA-funded schools as planned. In fiscal year 2002, the contractor visited 33 schools and identified corrections to add, delete, or adjust the FMIS data. BIA, however, had not entered the results of these condition assessments into FMIS for over 1 year. BIA officials attribute the long delays in correcting the FMIS condition data to a revised process for verifying contractor data and to software compatibility problems that they say are being addressed. Contractor Has Finished The FMIS inventory module contains data on BIA facilities, including Correcting Inventory Data; almost 2,200 separate buildings that are occupied by or used for BIA- BIA Plans to Transfer the funded schools. More than 50 percent (1,146) of the buildings are used directly by children, as shown in table 2. Data into FMIS Later in 2003 10 BIA’s contractor is developing a new formula for allocating operations and maintenance funding to the schools. BIA expects to implement this formula in fiscal year 2005, after consulting with the tribes about the change, according to BIA officials. Page 13 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Table 2: School Facilities Listed in the FMIS Inventory Directly Used by Children Buildings in the inventory used by children Number of buildings Schools 796 Dormitories 153 Gymnasium/sports facilities 49 Multipurpose/auditorium 64 Library 21 Kitchen/cafeteria 63 Total 1,146 Source: BIA data. Note: Most of the remaining buildings included: fire stations, shops, garages, pump houses, heating and utility plants, sewage and water treatment plants, warehouses, storage facilities, communications facilities and equipment, animal shelters, and greenhouses. Accurate and up-to-date inventory data are crucial to the operation of the entire FMIS because other modules rely on inventory data for planning and prioritizing the work and for identifying and prioritizing funding needs. For example: • School facility managers access inventory data when planning and scheduling routine maintenance of their facilities, grounds, and equipment. For example, one FMIS module acts as a scheduling tool to inform facilities managers about work, such as preventive maintenance, that needs to be done to buildings, equipment, and other physical assets listed in the inventory. • BIA’s Office of Facilities Management and Construction uses inventory data in the formula that determines the amount of operations and maintenance funding allocated to each school location. Distribution of this funding is calculated using a formula that includes such inventory data as the square footage of rooms in each building and systems that support the facility such as heating and cooling systems. Funding distributions have been a particular source of contention for Office of Indian Education officials, who told us that inaccuracies in the inventory data have led to inequities in how the money is apportioned. Accurate data that are collected using a methodology that is consistent from site to site is a necessary component for demonstrating the fairness of the process. BIA’s engineering contractor, AME, has remained on schedule in its effort to improve the accuracy of the inventory information currently in FMIS. In conducting this effort, AME visited each school and collected inventory Page 14 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management data using a standardized, industry-based approach to help ensure that information on all facilities is uniformly collected and recorded. AME completed the first phase of this effort in 2000, when it visited each school to verify and update the inventory data listed in the FACCOM before its transfer to FMIS in that year, according to a BIA official. This phase, which focused on the more general aspects of the inventory, was aimed at such matters as identifying which buildings were still in use, the use of the facility, and who owns it. AME completed the second phase of the improvement effort in February 2003. This second phase, which took longer than the first phase, involved a more extensive measurement of the buildings and updated the drawings of floor space, grounds, infrastructure, and utility lines. BIA’s current plans call for replacing the existing data in FMIS with this updated and corrected data by August 2003. Our preliminary review of the new data generated during the second phase of AME’s work indicates that the inventory figures may change considerably for some schools. At our request, AME officials provided revised square footage data for more than 90 buildings (such as classroom buildings, dormitories, multipurpose buildings, and offices) at 13 different schools. Overall, the revised measurements for these buildings decreased the total square footage by about 3 percent, but the range in increases and decreases at each school varied significantly. For 9 of the schools the decrease in square footage ranged from less than 1 percent to more than 13 percent; increases for the remaining 4 schools, ranged from less than 1 percent to almost 18 percent. We do not know if these results will be typical for all schools.11 One BIA official indicated, however, that some schools were likely to experience greater changes than others in the square footage that would qualify for O&M funding. BIA officials said that the improved data, along with improvements to the funding formula, will help ensure the various schools that their share of O&M funding was objectively and accurately determined. However, whether this corrected inventory data will be transferred to FMIS in time for making fiscal year 2004 funding decisions is uncertain. BIA may yet face some implementation problems as it moves into the final months of putting this information in place. For example, during 2002, BIA attempted to run the O&M funding formula using the existing FMIS inventory data for 11 BIA officials cited three primary reasons for square footage variance (1) new buildings or additions to existing buildings that have not been added to the inventory, (2) unoccupied buildings that should be categorized as “non-maintained” and (3) those buildings where ownership and occupancy are unclear. Page 15 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management the first time and experienced problems with the data and software. While the agency has had a year to work out these problems, introduction of the updated inventory data may hold its own unforeseen problems. If such problems are encountered and remain unresolved, a BIA official told us that the agency would continue to use the data currently in the system to allocate the O&M funding for fiscal year 2004. Contractor Is on Schedule The backlog data in FMIS reflects actions and funding needed to improve in Validating Backlog Data, the condition of facilities and infrastructure at the various schools now but BIA Is Behind and in the future. Most of the items listed in the backlog provide detail for repairs needed over the next 5 years to correct what is wrong with a Schedule in Incorporating facility such as a leaky roof, the presence of asbestos, or a violation of the Updated Information handicapped codes and standards. However, FMIS also includes entries for capital improvements that will need to be addressed beyond 5 years to upgrade specific building components such as replacing lighting and power systems, siding, and carpeting as well as future construction to replace, renovate, and add buildings to accommodate program needs.12 Accurate and up-to-date backlog data are important because FMIS contains formulas that use these data to allow BIA to make informed decisions not only about which projects are in greatest need of attention, but also how much money is needed to fund them each year. As of October 2002, for example, BIA schools had a backlog of unfunded repairs and improvements with an estimated cost over $640 million (see table 3); FMIS shows that almost two-thirds of this amount may be needed within the next 5 years. 12 In the FMIS, these entries are categorized as “predictive renewals.” Page 16 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Table 3: Categories of Unfunded FMIS Backlog Entries as of October 2002 Dollars in millions Deficiencies Deficiencies Deficiencies New should be should be should be Planned work construction addressed addressed in 1 addressed in 3 scheduled for and other capital Category within 1 year to 2 years to 5 years 5 to 10 years improvements Total Emergency—a danger exists that could cause physical harm or property damage, such as severe damage to a roof from a a storm. $1,939 $1,939a Safety—deficiency that affects safety and health, such as fire safety. 65,304 $20,700 $62 86,066 Physical plant (maintenance)—structural, mechanical, or electrical deficiency, such as aging roof or defective boiler. 32,960 53,499 154,115 240,573 Handicapped—violates code and standards, such as lack of accessible door hardware. 1,926 14,989 63 16,978 Environmental—deficiency such as the presence of friable asbestos in occupied areas or leaking storage tanks. 1,441 13,766 15,207 Predictive renewals—to anticipate replacement of building components, such as carpeting or roofing b systems. $73,895 73,895b New construction—to replace entire school or buildings. $112,468 112,468 Programmatic capital improvements—to renovate and add to buildings to meet program needs. 42,301 42,301 Energy—violates energy standards, such as inefficient heating or lighting systems. 53,186 53,186 Total $103,570 $102,954 $207,426 $73,895 $154,769 $642,613 (16%) (16%) (32%) (12%) (24%) (100%) Source: BIA data. Page 17 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management a A BIA official said that the amounts requested in the emergency category were for reimbursement of funds already spent to correct any outstanding deficiencies. b The estimated amount for predictive renewals is not reported to the Congress as part of the backlog total because these entries are not yet deficiencies, but BIA is anticipating the time period in which they will become deficiencies and need to be addressed, according to a BIA official. AME currently validates the backlog for each school in a 3-year cycle. During its first review, in 1999, AME conducted a 100-percent validation of the backlog data prior to transferring that data from the old FACCOM system to the new FMIS backlog module. In that review, AME updated the backlog data by confirming entries already in the system, updating the costs estimated to conduct the work, deleting entries for duplicate items or completed work, and identifying new entries. Results of the validation effort, as shown in table 4, increased the backlog by more than $265 million; almost 28 percent of the total backlog of $960 million that existed in 1999. Table 4: Modifications to the Backlog Data from AME’s 100-Percent Validation in 1999 Dollars in millions Change to backlog data Number of changes Cost change New deficiencies 39,143 $865,850 a Modifications 14,579 Completed work 6,964 (169,928) Deleted (duplicate entries) 14,186 (430,348) Total changes 74,872 $265,574 Source: BIA data. a Data were not available. AME has since started the second review of each school, which consists of updating this information for a certain percentage of the facilities each year. AME updated 20 percent of the facilities in each year 2001 and 2002. For 2003, AME is on track to increase the percentage of facilities reviewed each year to 34 percent to comply with recent changes in the law.13 These updates involve visually inspecting the architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical components of each facility to determine if action is still needed and to update the estimated costs. In 13 Under Public Law 107-110 (2002), section 1125(b)(6), BIA is required to periodically update the FMIS; in fulfilling this requirement, BIA’s contractor is updating the inventory and assessing the condition of about one-third of the school facilities each year. Page 18 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management addition, AME identifies new deficiencies, including the extent to which handicapped accessibility requirements are met, and verifying estimated costs. Our review of some updates conducted during fiscal year 2002 indicates that AME’s reviews will continue to result in substantial changes in backlog data. We obtained data for 14 of the schools reviewed between February and April 2002.14 For the 14 schools, the AME update resulted in a net increase of almost $11 million (see table 5) in the unfunded FMIS backlog of more than $39 million, an increase of about 28 percent. Part of the change involved modifications to deficiencies already in the backlog inventory, such as revising cost estimates and deleting projects that had been completed or no longer needed but were still listed in the backlog as ongoing. However, a large part of the change involved adding new deficiencies to the backlog. In all, there were almost 650 new backlog entries, and more than 75 percent of these entries were for deficiencies identified at school facilities and dormitories, where children are the primary occupants.15 For example, there were more than 200 entries for dormitories with an estimated cost of almost $4 million. None of these entries were for urgent or safety deficiencies that needed immediate attention; most were maintenance deficiencies that will need attention over the next 2 to 5 years, such as repairing lighting and plumbing systems, carpeting, and ceilings. 14 This was slightly more than 40 percent of the 33 schools AME reviewed during 2002. 15 Includes dormitories, gymnasiums, libraries, and classroom facilities. Page 19 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Table 5: Estimated Total Cost Changes to the FMIS Backlog for 14 Schools Dollars in millions Category Net cost change to backlog Physical plant (maintenance) $5,536 Safety (329) Environmental (76) Handicapped 1,120 New construction—school replacement 1,903 Programmatic capital improvements—renovations to 1,140 meet program needs Energy 228 Predictive renewals 1,397 Total change $10,919 Source: BIA data. While the contractor’s field assessments are proceeding on schedule, there have been significant delays in incorporating the 2002 updated backlog data into FMIS. In fiscal year 2001, the first year of the updates, the contractor assessed the condition of 39 schools and transferred the data from its information system to the FMIS without problems, according to BIA and contractor officials. However, officials said that in fiscal year 2002, the untimely transfer of data from the field assessments to the contractor’s information system16 and software compatibility problems between the contractor’s information system and FMIS delayed the update of backlog data for 33 schools for over a year. These implementation problems occurred for such reasons as the following: • BIA added a new function to the FMIS, which took 6 months to implement, rather than the 2 months that they had planned, according to a BIA official. This new function involved using the FMIS, for the first time, to generate the O&M funding amounts to be distributed to the various schools. • A change to the backlog category and ranking system in FMIS created duplicate entries that took time to resolve. In the 2002 assessments, some deficiencies that were already in the system were recategorized, and when the update was transferred to FMIS a duplicate entry was 16 Typically, the contractor takes about 9 weeks to collect, analyze, and transfer data from the contractor’s information system to FMIS, according to BIA and AME officials. Page 20 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management created instead of overwriting the old entry. According to BIA and contractor officials, this software compatibility problem has largely been addressed. As of April 2003, data for 27 of the 33 schools had been entered into FMIS. A BIA official told us that delays in introducing these updates into the FMIS backlog could have some impact on their ability to prioritize or fund repair and capital improvement projects, but not a significant impact for two reasons. First, the deficiencies that receive the highest points in the project ranking system are safety deficiencies, which are identified and updated in an annual safety inspection by BIA’s safety officers and not AME. Second, the most critical deficiencies at the schools were identified in the first assessment in 1999, and during this second assessment, AME is finding very few deficiencies that would be funded within 1 to 2 years that were not already in the system. However, one official acknowledged that since the FMIS ranks the schools for major repair and capital improvement projects based on the points applied to each deficiency, if AME’s assessment indicated an increase in the severity of a deficiency and that change was not reflected in the system, that school could be ranked lower than if the data were up to date. Our site visits to 8 BIA-funded schools did not disclose any instances where serious problems were not being addressed. While facilities management staff and school principals pointed out problems with their facilities, we did not observe that the children were in an unsafe learning environment with obvious safety or repair issues. The problems we observed were either of a less serious nature, or if serious, were being addressed in some form. For example, at a boarding school in Arizona the principal said that the fire alarm system for the school building and dormitory had been improperly installed and had to be replaced. While waiting for the funding for a new system, which had been approved, they had to use funds from the school budget to hire extra people to stand fire watch 24 hours a day. Page 21 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management The ability of FMIS to provide accurate and complete data depends on BIA Control Measures in employees entering correct and timely information, but review processes Place for Ensuring and training programs BIA has established for ensuring data quality have been largely ineffective. Although adherence to federal control standards17 Data Quality Are are a major part of providing reasonable assurance that the objectives of Largely Ineffective the agency are being achieved, half of the entries proposed by BIA employees are incorrect or incomplete and are flagged by BIA’s contractor. Discussions with BIA employees indicate that some employees are unclear about their responsibilities in maintaining the accuracy of FMIS data, and the high error rates in data entry indicate that additional training is needed in some locations to improve performance. BIA has not analyzed the information it has available about the content and origination of the data errors to determine the type of additional training that might be needed or to target locations with the highest error rates for technical assistance. Further, BIA has not established criteria or performance goals that define its expectations for the accuracy and completeness of the data for employees that enter and review this information. BIA’s Office of Facilities Management and Construction, which manages FMIS, did not until recently have authority to establish criteria or performance goals for agency and regional office personnel that are responsible for reviewing and approving data entries by school facility managers. BIA’s OFMC still does not have similar authority over school facility managers who originate most data entries. Under BIA’s current organization, such action would have to be taken by the Office of Indian Education Programs. Despite BIA Review BIA established a multilevel review process as a control to prevent Process, Its Contractor problems related to inaccurate and incomplete data entries to BIA’s Rejects Half of All FMIS information system. In this process, each entry that school facility managers propose for the backlog is first reviewed and approved by BIA Data Entries facility management personnel at an agency and a regional office before it is sent to BIA’s contractor, AME, for review and approval,18 with final approval by BIA’s central office. After approval has been obtained from each level, the status of the entry is changed from “draft” to “accepted” in FMIS, according to BIA. 17 See U.S. General Accounting Office, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO/AIMD-00-21.3.1, (Washington D.C., Nov. 1999). 18 Because changes to the square footage in the inventory affects operations and maintenance funding, additions or subtractions to the inventory are also reviewed at the agency and regional offices before it goes to the central office for final approval; the contractor, however, does not review these entries. Page 22 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Although BIA established this multilevel review process to improve the quality of the data entered into FMIS, AME continues to reject half of the proposed entries because they are inaccurate and incomplete. For example, between August 2001 and December 2002, out of more than 650 entries to the backlog made by facilities management staff from 102 schools, more than 300, or almost 50 percent, were rejected by the contractor. BIA documents show that the incidence of the errors among the 102 schools was widespread. In all, 73 of the 102 schools entering data had one or more entries disapproved, and 33 of them had all entries disapproved (see table 6). Table 6: Extent of Disapproved Entries in FMIS among 102 Schools Submitting Data, August 2001 to December 2002. Percentage of entries disapproved Number of schools in each category 0 29 1-25 12 26-50 12 51-74 12 75-99 4 100 33 Source: BIA data. Roles and Responsibilities Facility management staff at the regional and agency offices appear to May Be Unclear to have the necessary background to fulfill their responsibilities for screening Employees Reviewing and correcting inaccurate and incomplete data entries; however, it may be unclear to some reviewers what their role is in this process. Federal Data Entries control standards require that employees have the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform their job appropriately and have clear roles and responsibilities outlined in their job descriptions. Among the facilities management staffs in the agency and regional offices that we interviewed, most had an engineering background or had significant experience in facilities management and they were aware that maintaining accurate and complete data in the FMIS was important. However, facilities managers we interviewed at two regional offices each had a different view about their role in the review process. One said that it was important that the backlog entries are consistent and that two staff had been designated to review the FMIS entries from the schools and agencies in the region before being sent on to the central office for review by the contractor. The second manager said he reviewed the entries so that he knew what new additions were Page 23 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management being proposed for the backlog; he did not consider it his role to critique the entries for accuracy and completeness. Training Program May be Although most BIA locations have staffs that have received training to use Insufficient to Prepare FMIS, the extent of the errors indicates that employees may not be Users receiving the kind of training needed to create accurate and complete data entries. Standards for internal control in the federal government include a commitment to competence, which includes the provision that employees receive the appropriate training necessary to improve their performance. BIA has developed a training program that is intended to provide FMIS users with sufficient information to operate the system. All FMIS users receive 40 hours of training before they are given a password that allows them to access the system, according to BIA; a review of BIA’s training log indicates that about 70 percent of the schools have at least one staff member onsite that has received this training.19 While training appears to be adequate in terms of providing staff with the basic skills needed to use the computer-based applications, what appears to be lacking in the training program is more specific instruction and guidance on the kinds of information that are needed to enter an accurate and complete deficiency to the backlog. BIA officials acknowledged that a user manual to provide this type of guidance was lacking and should be developed. BIA officials said developing the FMIS training has been a challenge because the facilities management staffs have different levels of knowledge about computers—for some facility managers, FMIS training was their first exposure to using a computer. The training programs were developed to meet the needs of this diverse group of users, according to the contractor that developed and provides the training. In our site visits we asked users about the training that they had received for using FMIS; almost all of the staff that we interviewed said that they were pleased with the training they received and believed that it had prepared them for using FMIS. In addition, they said that when they did have problems they contacted central office with questions and/or problems with using the system, the response was prompt and very helpful. However, the engineering contractor indicated that the varying levels of experience and expertise is a difficulty affecting staff’s ability to input data 19 For those schools that do not have trained staff, the facility manager at the agency office is responsible for updating the data, according to a BIA official. Page 24 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management successfully. He said that there are more than 180 sites with education buildings for which data must be entered and the level of knowledge and expertise about facilities and the kinds of information needed for an FMIS entry varies widely—particularly in those sites where the turnover rate of facilities management staff is high. We were unable to obtain comprehensive data on the turnover rate for the facility management staff, but among the schools that we visited, the facilities managers’ length of employment at their current location ranged from 2 years to 17 years. BIA Does Not Use BIA officials have information on the number and reasons that data entries Information on Error Rates are rejected at each location, but said that they had not used this to Improve Employee information to provide performance counseling to employees or modify the training and guidance in this regard. Standards for internal control in Performance the federal government include the provision that employees receive the feedback necessary to improve their performance. Analyzing the extent and content of data errors would be helpful to determine the type and amount of additional training and guidance needed to improve employee performance at schools, agencies, and regional offices and target them appropriately for technical assistance. BIA data we reviewed indicated that the reasons for disapproval generally fell into one of four groups and were consistent with historical data entry problems experienced under the old FACCOM system. For example, • more detailed description was needed for the deficiency; a roof repair, for example, required specific information about the kind of roof and its size; • questionable cost estimates involving labor rates or material costs; • duplicate entry for a deficiency already in the backlog; and • wrong category and/or rank for the entry such as categorizing the replacement of asbestos floor tiles as maintenance rather than environmental, which are funded from different sources. Of these problems, most of the rejected backlog entries generally related to insufficient detail to accurately estimate the cost to address the deficiency, according to an AME official who reviewed and rejected many of these entries. The kind of detail that is needed to successfully enter a deficiency can be seen in an example involving the repair of a leaking roof. To adequately estimate the cost for this repair, information is needed about the size of the area that needs repair or replacement, the Page 25 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management composition of the roof (such as asphalt shingles or tile), and other associated components (such as whether skylights or gutters are present and whether they also need to be replaced). We reviewed one entry that had been rejected by the contractor because it came through the review process without information about the roof’s size or its composition. Employees Not Held The ineffectiveness of BIA’s guidance, training, and review processes to Accountable for FMIS minimize inaccurate or incomplete data entries by its employees suggests Data Integrity that accountability is another issue that deserves attention. Federal standards require that agencies clearly establish authority and responsibility for achieving agency goals and hold their employees accountable for performing their assigned responsibilities in a competent manner. During our review, the organization of BIA was such that the office that manages FMIS did not have line authority to establish performance criteria and standards for the BIA employees that entered and reviewed the FMIS data. In April 2003, BIA announced a new organization plan. This plan may offer OFMC greater opportunity to establish performance criteria and standards for facility managers at agency and regional offices. BIA officials told us the reorganization would not provide OFMC with line authority for facility managers at schools. However, the Director of the Office of Indian Education programs said that his office would work with OFMC to establish comparable performance criteria and standards for school facility managers. FMIS is designed to assist BIA employees improve the quality of Conclusion information used to manage school facilities, but the quality of the decisions that BIA makes for managing the operations and maintenance, repair, and construction of its facilities is directly dependent upon BIA employees entering correct and timely information. Currently, the FMIS data that BIA uses for making its decisions are improving as the data are updated by its contractor and entered into FMIS—to date the inventory data have been updated and the contractor is in the third year of assessing the condition of the schools and updating the backlog for the second time. However, challenges remain in BIA’s efforts to improve the quality of data entered by its employees. Although BIA has implemented controls for ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the FMIS data entered and reviewed by BIA employees, they do not work effectively. Without the role of the contractor as a reviewer of new entries by field staff and in conducting site visits to verify and update the data, the quality of the FMIS Page 26 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management data could quickly become inaccurate and out of date. BIA has not taken the necessary steps to hold its staff accountable for data accuracy or to use the available information on why the problems exist to develop training programs and target technical assistance where it is needed. Such actions are needed if BIA is to rely on its employees, rather than the contractor, to ensure that it provides a safe and quality learning environment for Indian children. To better enable BIA to rely on its employees for maintaining accurate and Recommendation for complete information in the FMIS, we recommend that the Office of the Executive Action Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs • establish data standards for accuracy and completeness of FMIS data and related performance criteria for BIA employees who are responsible for entering and reviewing the data and • analyze available error data and use this information to provide its employees with the necessary training, guidance, and technical assistance to improve performance. We provided a draft of this report to the Department of the Interior for its Agency Comments on review and comment. Interior’s comments are provided in appendix II. In Our Evaluation its written comments, Interior agreed with our findings and recommendations and said that BIA is establishing a special working group to develop a plan to address our recommendations. In addition, BIA will consider our comments and observations as it continues to develop and implement the FMIS. We will send copies of this report to the Secretary of the Department of Interior, relevant congressional committees, Indian education organizations, and other interested parties, and will make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on GAO’s Web site at http://www.gao.gov. Please contact me at Page 27 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management (202) 512-6778 if you or your staff have any questions about this report. Other major contributors to this report are listed in appendix III. Marnie S. Shaul Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues Page 28 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management List of Congressional Committees The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell Chairman The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye Vice Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs United States Senate The Honorable Judd Gregg Chairman The Honorable Edward Kennedy Ranking Minority Member Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions United States Senate The Honorable Ted Stevens Chairman The Honorable Robert C. Byrd Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Richard Pombo Chairman The Honorable Nick J. Rahall, II Ranking Minority Member Committee on Resources House of Representatives The Honorable John A. Boehner Chairman The Honorable George Miller Ranking Minority Member Committee on Education and the Workforce House of Representatives The Honorable C.W. Bill Young Chairman The Honorable David R. Obey Ranking Minority Member Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives Page 29 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology Methodology The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) new facilities management information system (FMIS) addresses the former system’s shortcomings and meets BIA’s needs for managing school facilities; (2) the status of BIA’s effort to validate the accuracy and completeness of the data being transferred from the old system into FMIS; and (3) how well BIA’s quality control measures are working to ensure that new data entered into FMIS are accurate and complete. To determine the extent to which FMIS was designed to address weaknesses of the previous data processing system and how the new system meets BIA’s facility management needs we reviewed contractor reports, BIA documentation on the FMIS, and interviewed contractors and BIA headquarters, regional, agency, and school facility management staff. First, we reviewed the needs assessment studies conducted by independent contractors to identify old system weaknesses and the recommendations made for addressing the system problems. We then reviewed the FMIS documentation to determine whether the system addressed weaknesses identified in the needs assessment. In addition, we conducted interviews with some of the contractors hired by BIA to build and implement the system. We also interviewed BIA officials at the Office of Facilities Management and Construction, the Division of Safety and Risk Management, and the Office of Indian Education Programs about improvements in the new system and how it meets their management needs. Finally, to understand how well school facility management staff received FMIS, we conducted site visits to 8 schools in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota. We selected these schools to obtain a mix based on their differences in size, geographic location, type of school (i.e., grade level, day school, or on-reservation boarding school), and whether it was BIA-operated or tribal-operated. At these schools, we interviewed facility managers, education line officers, principals, and tribal officials. We also interviewed facility management staff at two regional and five agency offices that provide facility management services to the schools. To determine the extent to which the FMIS inventory and backlog data are accurate and complete we used three methods. First, we obtained data from two sources (1) a copy of the FMIS database and (2) a copy of the contractor file of backlog data from the fiscal year 2002 condition assessments of 14 schools. The data in these files were assessed for reliability, which included looking for missing data, the relationship of one data element to another, values beyond a given range, and dates outside of valid time frames. We determined that the data were sufficiently reliable Page 30 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology for the purposes of this report. We also calculated summary statistics of the data from these files. Second, we evaluated BIA’s multilevel review process. For this analysis, we obtained data on the number of backlog entries made by facility managers and the number that had been accepted and rejected by the contractor. In addition, we reviewed the log of entries that had been rejected by the contractor to understand the reasons for these rejections. We also interviewed the contractor and BIA central office and regional and agency facility management staff about this review process. Finally, we accompanied BIA’s engineering contractor on site visits to 2 schools in Arizona where we evaluated their methodologies for data collection and validation of the inventory and backlog data. To determine how well BIA’s internal control measures are working for its FMIS we first reviewed our standards on internal controls to identify controls that apply to an organization’s management of an information system. We then compared the BIA controls with those identified in our reports to evaluate the effectiveness of the BIA controls. Additionally, we interviewed staff at the BIA central office about the internal controls they had in place for the FMIS. We also interviewed staff at the regional and agency offices and the schools about one of the controls—the effectiveness of the training they received. Page 31 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior Page 32 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Appendix II: Comments from the Department of the Interior Page 33 GAO-03-692 BIA School Facilities Management Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments Acknowledgments Cindy Ayers, Assistant Director (206) 654-5591 GAO Contacts Nancy Purvine, Analyst-in-Charge (206) 287-4878 In addition to the individuals mentioned above, Jessica Botsford, Maya Staff Chakko, Terry Dorn, David Gill, Barbara Johnson, Nathan Morris, Stan Acknowledgments Stenerson, and Michelle Zapata made significant contributions to this report. 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Bureau of Indian Affairs Schools: New Facilities Management Information System Promising, but Improved Data Accuracy Needed
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-28.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)