2017 Legislative Audits
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1. Summary of Report 2017-01: Performance Audit of Utah's Monetary Bail System
This audit reviews the effectiveness of the two types of monetary bail commonly offered in Utah’s district courts: cash bail and surety bond. We found that while the use of cash bail is limited, it resulted in better court attendance than the use of surety bonds. Based on statewide failure to appear (FTA) data from fiscal year 2015, 17 percent of cash bail cases had at least one FTA while 26 percent of surety bond cases had at least one FTA. We do not recommend using cash bail more frequently because our results do not account for defendant risk, which is a significant contributor to court attendance. We also found that pretrial release decisions are made without adequate information. Because pretrial decisions are made without information about defendant risk and because these decisions impact public safety, taxpayer resources, and defendant outcomes, we recommend that the Administrative Office of the Courts work towards the adoption of an evidence-based risk assessment instrument. Finally, we reviewed the surety bond forfeiture process and found opportunities for improvement. Specifically, the forfeiture process could be shortened and streamlined to better promote court appearances.
Full Report -A Performance Audit of Utah's Monetary Bail System
2. Summary of Report 2017-02: A Performance Audit of the Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division’s Employment Discrimination Unit
We were asked to review the Utah Labor Commission Antidiscrimination and Labor Division (UALD) with particular focus on the division’s Employment Discrimination Unit. We found that both the investigative and mediation processes are insufficient and need improvement. We are concerned by the low rate of cause findings in employment discrimination investigations and the perceived lack of accountability. In addition, UALD needs to address inadequate performance measures for its employees as well as high turnover. Finally, the UALD budget needs additional oversight.
3. Summary of Report 2017-03: A Performance Audit of USBE's "Aspire" Student Information System
This report found that the Aspire student information system (SIS) cost the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) about $1.1 million, ($7 per student) to operate in fiscal year 2016. The cost of requiring local education agencies (LEAs) to find a private SIS is estimated to be $3.8 to $8.1 million in the first year ($23 to $49 per student). LEAs that use Aspire are generally smaller school districts or charter schools. We recommend USBE consider the pros and cons of different levels of privatization before determining the future of the Aspire program.
4. Summary of Report 2017-04: A Performance Audit of the Sex Offender Treatment Program
This audit examined the Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) managed by the Utah Department of Corrections. We found that the SOTP has had poor management and oversight, lacks current evidence-based practices in its treatment model, and can improve program efficiencies. Poor management and oversight of the program has resulted in SOTP not following statute, the lack of performance measures, and the failure to implement recommendations of previous evaluations. In addition, the SOTP treatment model should be updated to ensure the most current evidence-based practices are implemented. We further believe that SOTP can improve program efficiencies to help reduce the treatment waitlist.
5. Summary of Report 2017-05: A Review of the Best Practices for Internal Control of Utah's Limited Purpose Entities
In recent years, there has been a growing concern for the frequent reports of fraud, waste and abuse among Utah’s local districts, special serviced districts and other, limited purpose governmental entities. To determine how widespread the problems might be, we surveyed 27 limited purpose entities from throughout the state and concluded that poor governance and weak oversight are common among these local government entities. To reduce the risk of fraud, waste and abuse, we recommend that the governing board of each limited purpose entity in Utah consider the best practices for internal control described in this report. Legislators should also consider adopting several controls aimed at strengthening state level the oversight of limited purpose entities.