De Blasio Administration Announces City's 911 Technical Review Recommendations

August 6, 2014

Report comes in response to Mayor’s call for comprehensive 60-day review; identifies ways to streamline emergency communications transformation program, reign in cost overruns, deliver ahead of schedule
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Recommendations include cutting consultants and re-establishing City as program lead, integrating stakeholder agencies into program management and execution, adopting project-based approach to ensure effective completion

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the findings and recommendations of the City’s 60-Day Technical Review of the Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP). The review, led by DoITT Commissioner Anne M. Roest, was called for by Mayor de Blasio in May to determine the current state of the program, and make recommendations on ways to correct deficiencies in the overall management of the program going forward. Mayor de Blasio had also asked, as part of the 60-day report, for the Comptroller’s office and the office of the commissioner of the Department of Investigations to conduct their own reviews of the ECTP.

The technical review team, including senior-level stakeholders from the Mayor’s Office, NYPD, FDNY, DDC, OCEC, OMB, and DoITT, conducted 37 interactive and collaborative multi-agency meetings, and developed a 60-day assessment report.

The City’s comprehensive review revealed a number of root causes for repeated program challenges and delays, including overreliance on external consultants and lack of communication among and input from stakeholder agencies. The report includes recommendations to improve these program deficiencies and charts a path forward for effective completion of major program components in 2016, with residual items completed in 2017. The assessment was able to add key requirements and remove those no longer needed, allowing for the key deliverables of ECTP to be completed within the remaining established capital budget of $2.03 billion. 

Key Changes in ECTP Structure and Leadership Recommended by the 60-Day Review:

  • Re-establish the City (rather than the contracted Systems Integrator) as the program lead, controlling schedule, implementation strategy, and budget
  • Integrate stakeholder agencies (OCEC, DoITT, NYPD, and FDNY) into both the management and execution of the program
  • Cut consultant costs and increase agency ownership of the project by finding opportunities for City staff to replace consultants and de-scoping unnecessary work
  • Create a cohesive team of agencies operating together, under active and committed executive oversight, with DoITT Commissioner Roest charged with managing the project overall

Key Changes in the City’s Project Management Recommended by the 60-Day Review:

  • Break down large programs into smaller, more manageable projects, mitigating risk. Large programs – large technology programs in particular – open the door to scope creep, especially as new technologies become available.
  • Ensure operational needs drive technology implementation, rather than technology driving operations
  • Implement a governance model that enables and promotes communication and collaboration between and among stakeholder agencies
  • Significantly reduce the many layers of vendors within the program and ensure that the City is getting best value by developing a sourcing strategy for the remaining procurements
  • Appoint a Vendor and Contract Management lead for the City, and provide the staffing necessary to effectively oversee the numerous vendor engagements and contracts associated with the program

“As public servants, our first priority is public safety, and we do not take that charge lightly. That is why this Administration ordered this review, and it’s why the changes we have outlined today will improve the City’s emergency response communications program for generations to come,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have identified the problems that have long plagued the ECTP, and we’re committed to taking the necessary corrective action to ensure the program is brought back on track, within our means and ahead of schedule. This includes eliminating costs and consultants that are not delivering the progress we need, breaking down barriers of communications among City agencies, and developing a new approach that allows various phases of the project to move forward when they are ready. These are the reforms that will allow the ECTP to deliver on its promise to the people of New York—a state-of-the-art system that can answer the call when New Yorkers are in need.”

The Mayor added, “I want to thank Comptroller Stringer and DOI Commissioner Peters for their hard work and commitment to this critical issue. I look forward to meeting with them soon on their respective findings, and continuing to work with their teams to make the reforms needed to ECTP.”  

“Working with stakeholders across the City, we’ve established a plan to regain control of the ECTP initiative and deliver its remaining components within the established budget—and sooner than anticipated,” said DoITT Commissioner Anne Roest. “The level of coordination achieved in conducting this assessment is testament to the professionals involved at all levels of our partner agencies, and the de Blasio administration’s commitment to delivery of an updated 911 system for all New Yorkers.”

“Hitting the refresh button on plans to rebuild the City’s new 911 system was not only a wise decision, but has now provided a clearly defined path forward with collaboration from all stakeholder agencies,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “It is critically important that we get this right, and the assessment team led by DoITT Commissioner Roest has mapped out the way forward—including fast-tracking the procurement process for FDNY’s Computer Aided Dispatch system, which is vitally important for fire and EMS operations.”

“The best possible 911 emergency response system is essential to keeping New Yorkers safe. The problems identified in this 60-day review, and the recommendations made for improvement, will significantly help get the Emergency Communications Transformation Program back on-schedule and on-budget—and better serve the people of New York City in times of emergency,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

ABOUT ECTP

In 2004, the City of New York began the Emergency Communication Transformation Program, a multi-year, multi-agency initiative to modernize and consolidate the City’s 911 emergency communication system, the most complex and expansive system in the nation. By the end of 2013, the projected opening date for PSAC 2—the City’s second emergency call-taking and dispatch center—was December 2015. In May 2014, during an ECTP briefing, Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris was told that the go-live date for PSAC 2 had slipped dramatically and would now be delayed to 2018. In addition to the delay, the cost was expected to increase by at least $100 million. The de Blasio administration halted major work on the Emergency Communications Technology Project to conduct a thorough examination assessing all facets of the program, including scope, budget, schedule and governance. 

The results of that review can be found in the report here: on.nyc.gov/1sfRKIS

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