Sneak Preview: Md. Agency Seeks Ways To Halt Repeat Findings

October 9, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Maryland Department of Human Resources (MDHR) has established an internal panel to monitor the audit findings of the state’s 24 local departments of social services to determine ways to resolve repeat findings, according to a recent Maryland Office of Legislative Audits (OLA) audit.

MDHR’s Local Department Operations oversees the state’s social services agencies, which administer programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Foster Care and Temporary Cash Assistance at the city and county level. During the OLA’s audit period — July 1, 2011, to Dec. 14, 2014 — the MDHR’s Office of Inspector General conducted financial and compliance audits of all 24 agencies. The inspector general audits reported 299 findings, 89 of which were repeat findings, related to deficiencies in fiscal management and program oversight.

The OLA determined that MDHR executive management had not established a formal process to monitor corrective actions resulting from MDHR Office of Inspector General audits. “More active oversight could help ensure that audit findings are addressed by the social services agencies and that repeat audit findings are minimized,” the OLA said. It recommended that MDHR develop a monitoring process to evaluate these findings.

MDHR agreed with the recommendation, adding that it would work with the inspector general’s office to better resolve audit findings. It also created a corrective action monitoring and resolution team that will meet regularly to “identify the root cause of findings among the agencies, provide solutions for resolving the findings and keep respective parties more accountable.”

The OLA found that MDHR’s inspector general’s office, which conducts audits of the social services agencies and monitors the progress of their corrective actions, did not adequately monitor the corrective actions. “Accordingly, there was reduced assurance that MDHR executive management was properly informed of the status of the findings, … and that each agency had properly addressed and resolved the findings,” the OLA added. For example, the OLA reviewed inspector general audits of five agencies and determined that these local departments did not provide documentation to the inspector general regarding the corrective action taken to address 17 of 106 findings, and the inspector general’s office had not adequately followed up with the related agency to obtain that information. In addition, in four of the five audits, the inspector general’s office had not conducted a site visit within one year after the issuance of the audit report, as required under MDHR policy, to assess the local department’s corrective actions.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site).

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