Follow-up on Performance Audit of the King County 2012 Strategic Climate Action Plan
King County has made considerable improvements to the Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP) through its 2015 update. The updated SCAP was recently submitted to the County Council and is awaiting adoption in fall 2015. Our evaluation of this update found that the County Executive provided an effective management structure for strategic planning and that the updated SCAP established explicit connections between actions and goals based on rigorous technical analysis. The update has also made substantive progress in strengthening community engagement and cost-effectiveness analysis of climate actions. Issued August 4, 2014.
Second follow-up on the 2013 Performance Audit of Environmental Health Services
Ordinance 17941 included a proviso that the Auditor’s Office must find EHS implemented a rigorous approach to staff allocation. We found that EHS has fully implemented our recommendation, a key step toward ensuring the division attains a mature and sustainable staffing methodology for the long-term. EHS will include our report as part of the broader proviso effort by the August 30, 2015 deadline.
EHS has received guidance from the Board of Health to adopt separate rates for the Food and Facilities Division and the Community Environmental Health Sections. EHS’s analysis supporting this guidance completes an additional outstanding audit recommendation and improves EHS’s ability to charge fees equitably and efficiently for programs with significant differences in operating costs, code enforcement requirements, and management structure. Issued July 31, 2015.
Transfer Plan Report Outlines Viable and Cost-Effective Alternatives to Building a Northeast Transfer Station
The Solid Waste Division determined in its Transfer Plan Review that even without building a new transfer station, mitigation strategies could be used to keep service times and queue lengths at Factoria to within standards. Our examination shows that this conclusion is reasonable, and we recommend that the Division test the impact of these strategies and refine its cost estimates. Additionally, our analysis shows that traffic from Houghton is an important factor in determining future impacts to service times and queue lengths at Factoria. Issued July 28, 2015.
Law Enforcement Oversight: Limited Independence, Authority & Access to Information Impede Effectiveness
King County’s system for civilian oversight of police is relatively weak compared to models in place in jurisdictions around the United States. Civilians responsible for overseeing investigations of complaints of police misconduct in King County have less authority than their counterparts in other locations. In addition, they face barriers related to independence and access to information—elements that are critical to the success of oversight. Notably, civilian oversight operations are defined by the terms of labor contracts. Consequently, the processes and authority of oversight are defined by the Sheriff’s Office and its employees, creating a conflict of interest that cannot be easily resolved. We make a number of recommendations for actions necessary to remove barriers that prevent more impactful oversight. Presented July 14, 2015 to the Government Accountability & Oversight Committee (play video) and the Law, Justice & Emergency Management Committee (play video).
Recommended Action Matrix
This interactive tools allows for search of audit recommendations and matters for council consideration from our 2015 report on law enforcement oversight in King County.
Georgetown Audit Wins Knighton Award for High-Impact, Innovative Audit
A 2014 Distinguished Knighton Award for best performance audit in the large audit shop category has been awarded to the King County Auditor’s Office (KCAO) by the Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA). The report, Performance Audit of the Georgetown Combined Sewer Overflow Project, was judged on several key elements, such as the potential for significant impact, the persuasiveness of the conclusions, the focus on improving government efficiency and effectiveness, and its clarity, conciseness and innovation. ALGA noted that the audit is a thorough and well-documented examination of an issue--large capital projects--that affects a broad swath of the public. In particular, the audit clearly articulated to readers why the findings matter to policymakers and citizens. In addition, ALGA praised KCAO’s use of formatting, including headers, signposting, and exhibits, to help readers move through the technical detail to understand the important findings.
Each year, local government audit organizations from around the U.S. and Canada submit their best performance audit reports for judging. The purpose of the competition is to improve government services by encouraging and increasing levels of excellence among local government auditors. Judges from peer organizations determined that this audit was among the best of 2014. The Association of Local Government Auditors is a national audit association founded in 1985 committed to supporting and improving local government auditing through advocacy, collaboration, education, and training, while upholding and promoting the highest standards of professional ethics.
2014 Annual Report – Highlights of 2014 Performance: Driving Improvement in County Government
We are pleased to announce the Auditor's Office released its Highlights of Performance report for 2014. The report summarizes the accomplishments of the King County Auditor’s Office during 2014 and provides examples of how the Auditor’s Office improved county programs and enhanced oversight and transparency in capital projects. The King County Auditor’s Office promotes and improves performance, accountability, and transparency of King County government through objective and independent audits, oversight, and studies.
Auditor's Office 2015-16 work program approved
The Metropolitan King County approved the Auditor's Office 2015-16 work program on December 18, 2014. The focus of our work program is on performance, accountability, and transparency.
Public Works Magazine: Not-so-Risky Business
Councilmember Jane Hague and Capital Projects Oversight Manager Tina Rogers from the King County Auditor’s Office (shown at the right) are featured in a cover-page article in July’s Public Works magazine. The article describes the risk-assessment system that tracks King County’s largest capital projects. For more information about the Auditor’s Office Capital Projects Oversight Program or the county’s risk-assessment process, contact Tina Rogers at 206-477-1036 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
External quality control review of Auditor's Office
Based on the results of a peer review conducted during the week of February 24, 2014, the King County Auditor's Office's internal quality control system was suitably designed and operating effectively to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with Government Auditing Standards for performance audits during the period January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013. Click here to read the management letter in full.
The Association of Local Government Auditors – The Knighton Award
The Knighton Award recognizes the best performance audit reports of the preceding year. Honorable mention award was given to the King County Auditor’s Office for their 2012 Performance Audit of King County’s Investment in Information Technology.
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Advancing performance, accountability, and transparency
Audits and Special Studies
The King County Auditor's Office provides oversight of county government through independent audits and other studies regarding the performance and efficiency of agencies and programs, compliance with mandates, and integrity of financial management systems. The office reports the results of each audit or study to the Metropolitan King County Council.
The King County Auditor’s Office performs its work in accordance with applicable Government Auditing Standards.
Capital Projects Oversight
In 2007, the King County Council created the Capital Projects Oversight program within the King County Auditor’s office. The oversight program was established to mitigate capital project overruns and potential problems, contain costs, and inform decision-making processes through adequate, timely, and useful standardized reporting. Current projects being monitored are: Accountable Business Transformation, Brightwater Wastewater Treatment System, South Regional Maintenance Facility (Roads Services Division), Facilities Management Division Project Delivery Management, and Criteria for Capital Project Prioritization.
Countywide Performance Management
Since 2002, the council has enacted legislation seeking to improve the county's use of performance measures, including a 2003 motion that created the auditor-led Performance Measurement (now Management) Work Group with countywide representation. Based on a framework recommended by the Performance Management Work Group and efforts by this office to promote performance management in King County, the 2008 Performance and Accountability Act requires all King County agencies and departments to prepare strategic plans every five years, annual business plans, and relevant performance measures and paved the way for the development of the first countywide strategic plan, approved by the King County Council on July 26, 2010 . Advancing performance-based government is one of the ways the auditor's office promotes cost-effective and accountable county services.