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Summary of LAO Findings and Recommendations on the 2013-14 Budget

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 Go Back  CalHR Increased cost for state IT project: Examination and Certification Online System (ECOS) Require California Technology Agency (CTA) and the Department of Human Resources (CalHR) to jointly submit quarterly reports to the Legislature on the project's progress. These reports should specify (1) whether CTA or CalHR anticipate making or have made any change to the project's scope, schedule, or budget and (2) whether they are experiencing any significant problems with the project. 5-07-13

Detailed Narrative

The goal of the Examination and Certification Online System (ECOS) information technology project is to integrate seven legacy systems used to administer the state's hiring examination and certification processes. In July 2011, the California Technology Agency (CTA) approved a Feasibility Study Report (FSR) for the ECOS project. At the time, the project was administered by the State Personnel Board (SPB). Pursuant to the FSR, the project was estimated to cost $4.7 million and be complete by August 2015.

Pursuant to the Governor’s Reorganization Plan 1, the project was transferred from the SPB to the Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Upon assuming responsibility for the project, CalHR determined that the project schedule and resources had not been closely monitored by SPB or CTA and needed significant revision. The CalHR submitted to CTA a Special Project Report (SPR) extending the schedule and increasing the expected costs for the project. The CTA approved the SPR in 2013. Pursuant to the SPR, the project is now scheduled to be complete in May 2017 with a total project cost of about $10 million—nearly two years later than originally expected and more than double the approved cost.

If Project Goes Forward, Include Reporting Requirements. If successful, the ECOS project would improve the state’s examination and certification processes. Given the history of this project, however, we think it merits increased oversight by the CTA, CalHR, and the Legislature. Accordingly, we recommend that the Legislature require CTA and CalHR jointly submit quarterly reports on the project’s progress to the chairpersons of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and fiscal committees. These reports should specify (1) whether CTA or CalHR anticipate making or have made any change to the project’s scope, schedule, or budget and (2) whether they are experiencing any significant problem with the project. We further recommend that CTA and CalHR transmit copies of the project’s regular Independent Project Oversight Reports to the Legislature for the duration of the project.