In summary, we found that the Bureau is progressing along a number of fronts to secure a more cost-effective enumeration. For example, the Bureau's organizational transformation efforts, which includes efforts to improve its workforce in order to help the Bureau become more results oriented.
At the same time, innovative enumeration methods such as the use of administrative records to assist with enumerating people, use of the Internet to collect data, and targeted address canvassing might help to control costs, but a number of operational uncertainties remain, such as ensuring privacy and information security with some of the new approaches. Likewise, the Bureau's ability to effectively and efficiently acquire the technological solutions supporting 2020 will be largely dependent on having established, mature IT management controls, an area of long-standing concern to us.
The information in our testimony is based on our previous reports on the 2010 Census, as well as the Bureau's planning efforts for 2020. n1 For this work, among other things we analyzed key documents such as budgets, plans, procedures, and guidance for selected activities; and interviewed cognizant Bureau officials at headquarters and local census offices. In addition, for the work on the 2010 Census, we made on-site observations of key enumeration activities across the country including both urban and less populated areas. To obtain information on various management and organizational reforms that could help the Bureau become more accountable and results oriented, we reviewed our prior work on government-wide reexamination, as well as leading practices and attributes in the areas of IT management, organizational performance, collaboration, stewardship, and human capital. n2 More detail on our scope and methodology is provided in each published report that this testimony is based on.
We provided the Bureau with a summary of the information included in this statement, and Bureau officials provided technical comments, which we included as appropriate. We conducted the work that this testimony is based on in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
The decennial census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and provides data that are vital to the nation. This information is used to apportion the seats of the
Although the complexity, cost, and importance of the census necessitate robust planning, recent enumerations were not planned well. Our prior work has found shortcomings with managing, planning, and implementing IT solutions in the 2000 and 2010 enumerations that led to acquisition problems, cost overruns, and other issues. As a result, we placed both enumerations on our list of high-risk programs. n3 For example, leading up to the 2010 Census, we found that the lack of skilled cost estimators for the 2010 Census led to unreliable life-cycle cost estimates, and some key operations were not tested under census-like conditions.
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