Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill
The Department of Social Services (DSS) administers four major programs: welfare, social services, community care licensing, and disability evaluation. The department is responsible for (1) supervising county delivery of social services, (2) determining eligibility for federal and state disability programs, (3) licensing residential facilities, (4) providing adoption services, and (5) assisting disaster victims.
The budget proposes $433 million from all funds ($97 million from the General Fund) and 4,344 personnel-years of staff for DSS state operations in 2001-02. Proposed General Fund spending represents a decrease of 2 percent compared with estimated General Fund spending in the current year.
We recommend that the Legislature deny the Governor's proposal for a one-time increase of $250,000 for the development of a feasibility study report for the Department of Social Services' eGovernment services, until the department develops an eGovernment plan.
The budget proposes a one-time augmentation of $250,000 ($159,000 from the General Fund and $91,000 from other funds) to acquire consulting services for the development of a feasibility study report (FSR) for DSS eGovernment services. The FSR would:
The eGovernment Policies and Guidelines Will Be Issued Soon. It is our understanding that the administration will soon release a number of eGovernment policies which will address departmental planning, technical standards, and infrastructure requirements. The administration has issued an executive order that requires every department to prepare an eGovernment plan and submit it to the Department of Information Technology for review and approval. Departments must have their eGovernment plans in place prior to starting eGovernment projects.
The DSS Should Develop eGovernment Plan First. In view of the pending eGovernment policy directives from the administration, we believe it is inappropriate for DSS to develop an FSR for an eGovernment project when it has not yet developed an eGovernment plan. Departments should have their eGovernment plans in place before preparing FSRs for individual eGovernment projects in order to adequately oversee and manage all project activities. For this reason, we recommend that the Legislature deny the augmentation to develop an eGovernment services FSR until the department develops an eGovernment plan.