2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Social Services

County Welfare Automation

As noted above, while DSS oversees the administration of California’s social services programs, most services are delivered by 58 separate county welfare departments. Counties have combined into four separate consortia for purposes of welfare automation. The Los Angeles County Computer System known as LEADER system is one of the consortia.

In 2005, the Legislature approved funding for a new system that would replace and update LEADER. The project is currently in the procurement stage and has not yet awarded a bid to a primary vendor.

LA County System Replacement Should Be Delayed

In November, we proposed delaying the LEADER replacement system project by up to two years in order to defer development costs into future years. This approach would save about $15 million General Fund in 2009–10 and an additional $38 million in 2010–11. The Governor took a similar approach, proposing a six–month delay. The Governor’s proposal achieves savings in the budget year that are similar to our proposal while allowing the project to finish before the expiration of its existing sole–source maintenance contract. This would allow the state potentially to avoid significant cost increases for extension of the contract. We recommend adoption of this six–month delay for the LEADER replacement system. This achieves significant state savings and preserves flexibility for the Legislature in making decisions about this project next year.

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