Enabling Recovery Act Reporting Compliance & Data Quality at HUD

In support of OMB reporting requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, Citizant provides system life-cycle design, development, deployment, operation, and maintenance services for HUD’s mission-critical Recovery Act Management and Performance System (RAMPS).

RAMPS was created to help HUD close its gap in Recovery Act reporting compliance, in response to the administration’s request for visibility into recovery expenditures and return on investment. The system is being utilized by several different program areas within HUD as the central reporting device for ARRA and National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) reporting. It is a centralized collection and reporting system with more than 35,000 active users and interfaces to Chief Financial Officer systems and individual program area systems within HUD to integrate data for weekly reporting and validate quarterly reporting data, in compliance with OMB guidelines.

Citizant’s iterative application development approach on this IT Development initiative enabled HUD to quickly respond to a highly visible requirement for reporting complex Recovery Act information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which provides citizens with transparency regarding Recovery Act spending.

Developing IT-Based Solutions to Legislative Requirements

Citizant provides ongoing project management; tracking; EVM and project reporting; and configuration management support. Citizant developed, prototyped, and deployed the first phase of this application in July 2009 with minimal defects and within a 30-day timeframe in order to produce reports due to OMB by the exceptionally aggressive milestones and deadlines.

The first phase encompassed all of the necessary functionality required to meet OMB’s aggressive reporting requirements, including Major Communications Report, Weekly Financial and Activity Report, Funding Notification Report, and NEPA Reporting.

In subsequent phases, Citizant developed:

  • a Web-based Java/J2EE system utilizing form-based data entry and interfaces with HUD’s CFO program-area systems for collecting required data for Recovery Act reporting
  • reporting utilities to convert data entered through Web forms to Excel templates provided by OMB for reporting purposes
  • a report presentation layer with fund information presented on maps and in the OMB-mandated Excel templates for the HUD main Recovery Act Web page
  • a report transfer method to deliver Excel reports generated within RAMPS to HUD’s main Recovery Act Web page and via e-mail to the appropriate recipients for final report delivery to OMB

In order to comply with stringent reporting requirements, Citizant developed a user-friendly, Web-based system that allowed HUD and other responsible parties to enter information required by NEPA for reporting to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Grant recipients nationwide use the RAMPS NEPA module to enter critical reporting data each quarter to be viewed by OMB for ARRA performance analysis and its potential impact on the environment.

Ensuring End-to-End Data Quality

Citizant collates data entered by grant recipients with other HUD source information such as grant obligation amounts from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) and populates a designated Excel template defined by OMB. The prescribed template is then automatically forwarded to CEQ on designated reporting dates to meet HUD’s requirements for reporting grant recipients’ NEPA data.

Additionally, Citizant developed a flexible data validation system to be used in conjunction with FederalReporting.gov to analyze data entered by grant recipients. All grant recipients of ARRA funds are required to report to FederalReporting.gov. HUD is obliged to verify this large amount of data each quarter to ensure data provided by grant recipients is of the highest quality before being released to the general public.

Citizant enables this through a data quality process that begins with a data feed from FederalReporting.gov to RAMPS. Citizant applies its rigorous Data Quality Improvement methods to validate and cleanse data from a diverse and varied set of sources: FederalReporting.gov, HUD legacy systems, HUD’s Geo-coding Service Center, and CCR.

Citizant’s use of standard, configurable system settings allows for the comparison of data at a prescribed acceptable threshold predefined within RAMPS. Citizant provides HUD with a data quality report and an exception report during the quarterly reporting period for grant recipients, providing HUD with the ability to quickly and easily monitor all grant-recipient reporting information from FederalReporting.gov.