2015 Informal Letter Reports

Report 2015-A: A Limited Review of Provider Rates for the Division of Services for People with Disabilities

Summary: During the February 5, 2015 Legislative Executive Appropriation Committee meeting, concerns were raised regarding the sufficiency of the Division of Services for People with Disabilities’ (DSPD) service provider rates. In response to legislative request, we conducted a limited review into the issue and found: virtually all funds appropriated for the waiting list have been allocated, service provider staff compensation is low compared to other states, service provider staff turnover is high compared to other states, and provider rate increases have not kept pace with inflation.

 

Report 2015-B: A Review of the Communication of the State’s Liability Protection for School District Employees

Summary: Of the state’s 45 school districts and education service centers, 14 did not distribute the state’s legal liability information as required by Utah Code 63A-4-204. The Division of Risk Management is responsible for drafting and distributing the information to school districts. The division can promote greater compliance with the law by verifying that all districts have forwarded the information to their employees and by sending a follow up notice if the information has not been sent. However, ultimately it is the school districts who are responsible for distributing the information to their employees. The Legislature can also promote greater compliance with the law by allowing school districts to include the legal liability information with district policies they distribute to employees at the beginning of each school year.

 

Report 2015-C: A Limited Review of Allegations Regarding UDOT Noise Walls in Farr West

Summary: Our limited review of Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) noise abatement issues surrounding the I-15 North Ogden Weber project found that UDOT had appropriate policies and followed them. Both the preconstruction and construction phases met all noise abatement requirements and followed the original plan specifications. We also found the balloting of affected parties followed UDOT policy. However, UDOT’s noise abatement policy may benefit from the incorporation of some public involvement requirements found in other states and a standardized state-wide noise-wall removal policy.

 

Report 2015-D: A Follow-up Audit of the Division of Services for People with Disabilities’
Response to Audit Report 2014-10

Summary:This audit addresses The Division of Services for People with Disabilities’ (DSPD) response to a previous audit’s recommendations to identify efficiency gains, possible savings, and effective implementation. We found that DSPD has implemented a process to review individuals’ budgets. In its first year of implementation, the new process has reduced inflated budgets by $1,307,409. These reductions represent potential future savings. The process will be fully implemented in the next three fiscal years, with additional budget reductions expected. We also found that DSPD is in the process of creating policies and controls to better assess client service requests. The goal of these improvements is to provide a more standardized, criteria-driven service request process. DSPD has yet to complete these improvements which prevented us from reviewing their effectiveness.

 

Report 2015-E: A Review of the Use of the Controlled Substance Database by Law Enforcement

Summary: This report reviews the past and present use of the Controlled Substance Database (CSD) by law enforcement agencies (agencies). We reviewed agencies’ use of the CSD for one year prior to the May 12, 2015, law change requiring them to have a valid search warrant to access CSD information. We also reviewed the number of warrants agencies have sought since the law change. We found that law enforcement’s use of the CSD has decreased by 95 percent since May. On average, agencies were using the CSD to search 238 cases per month before the warrant requirement. On average, after the law change, agencies have sought 12 warrants per month. In the year prior to the law change, we found mixed results of both questionable use and use that appears to provide a direct value in investigating some cases. We randomly selected 40 cases and believe that, in 24 cases (60 percent), the use of the CSD was questionable. In the remaining 16 cases, use of the CSD by law enforcement appeared to have added value to the investigations. Finally, we found that Utah is one of at least eight states that require a probable cause standard of proof and a court process for law enforcement to access CSD information.