City Agency Audit Reports

Audit Report on the Project Management for the Emergency Communications Transformation Program by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

Audit Number: 7A11-104
Release Date: March 20, 2012


The mission of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) is to ensure the efficient delivery of Information Technology (IT) services; establish the City’s IT strategic direction; set security policies and standards; procure citywide IT services; evaluate emerging technologies; and provide project management, application development, and quality assurance services. DoITT leads the Citywide IT Infrastructure Services (CITIServ), the Citywide IT infrastructure consolidation program; supports the Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP); and administers the technology and foundational infrastructure for the 311 Customer Service Center.

ECTP was initiated by the City through DoITT in 2004. The primary objective of the ECTP was to consolidate emergency communications within the City. ECTP is a multi-agency, multi-year program with the goals of modernizing all aspects of the emergency response system with upgraded telecommunications infrastructure and providing for two fully integrated Public Safety Answering Centers (PSACs) that include call-taking and dispatch operations for first responders from the City’s Police Department (NYPD) and Fire Department (FDNY), including its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) unit. DoITT contracted with Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) in 2005 to provide services as a system integrator1 for PSAC1 and as project manager over other contractors providing services and equipment for PSAC1. A governance structure was established to monitor the multi-City agency ECTP project, and an outside independent Quality Assurance (QA) contractor was retained to monitor HP’s performance and to advise on the overall ECTP project.

Audit Findings and Conclusions

DoITT embarked on the ECTP in 2004 with a reasonable and justified premise of establishing two PSACs (PSAC1 and PSAC2) for the purpose of consolidating the City’s emergency response services to establish system redundancy as well as to have a backup facility; modernize and strengthen the 911 network; improve data-sharing among City agencies; and enhance coordination and deployment of resources during emergencies. We found DoITT’s overall project management of the ECTP lacking—due to its initial underestimation of time and the technical constraints involved in implementing the multi-agency mission-critical ECTP—which, therefore, did not allow for project completion on a timely basis.

Audit Recommendations

To address the audit issues, we recommend the following:

  • DoITT, in conjunction with ECTP executive sponsors, should have its current governance strategy expanded, formulated into a plan, reviewed and formally approved by all stakeholders, and conveyed to all pertinent ECTP team members. The expanded areas should include operational coverage for PSAC1 upon full completion and occupancy, and line of authority for operations within PSAC1 should be clearly defined and conveyed to stakeholders.
  • DoITT and the OCEC should increase its efforts to fill open positions with appropriately qualified personnel to ensure that the ECTP has sufficient resources required for the ongoing monitoring and management of the ECTP.
  • DoITT should improve upon its current strategy to provide Quality Assurance coverage by retaining, on a temporary basis, independent quality assurance experts to monitor the balance of HP’s contractual performance for the duration of its contract.  In addition, DoITT should consider a Quality Assurance arrangement to monitor Grumman’s performance at PSAC2.

Agency Response

In their response, DoITT officials agreed with the three recommendations.

1 A systems integrator is a person or company specializing in bringing together component subsystems into a whole and ensuring that those subsystems function together, a practice known as System Integration. In the information technology (IT) field, system integrators integrate multiple systems for inputting, processing, interpreting, storing, and categorizing data.