Grand Jury Response - Judge Gordon

May 31, 1996

The Honorable Judge William L. Gordon
Presiding Judge, Superior Court
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93121

RE: RESPONSE TO GRAND JURY INTERIM FINAL REPORT
PERFORMANCE AUDITS

Dear Judge Gordon:

Enclosed is the Sheriff Department's response to the Findings and Recommendations of the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury 1995-96 Interim Final Report "Performance Audits" released on April 3, 1996, with special attention to findings #1, and #4. As requested, we are submitting our response on computer disk, along with a printed copy.

If you have any questions regarding the response, or if you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact Undersheriff Dave Dorsey at extension 4288.

Sincerely,

Jim Thomas
SHERIFF

JT:yk

cc: Kent Taylor, County Administrator
Spencer Boise, Grand Jury Foreman
Ken Knight, Administrative Analyst


RESPONSE TO 1995 - 1996 Grand Jury - Performance Audits

RESPONSE TO 1995 - 1996
GRAND JURY INTERIM FINAL REPORT

PERFORMANCE AUDITS

FINDING AND RECOMMENDATION:

FINDING 1: The Grand Jury found no evidence of any official in county government accepting accountability for implementation of performance audits of the county's department. Also, only three of the county's departments have had any performance audits in the last five years.

RECOMMENDATION 1c: The Grand Jury recommends that each department headed by an elected official should initiate a self-administered performance audit program, and request an outside review audit every five years by the Auditor-Controller or an outside consultant, and publish the results and recommendations.

RESPONSE: The Sheriff's Department agrees that initiating an ongoing self administered performance audit program can be beneficial in gauging the quality and cost-effectiveness of our delivery of services.

During the 1996-97 Budget year the Sheriff's Department will initiate a concerted effort toward establishing a formal self-administered performance audit program.

The department realizes to be successful in this endeavor, we must be able to accurately produce "Outcome Measures", including short, intermediate and long term measures. We must focus on the results of our core service functions and the activities undertaken to support these functions.

Additionally, we realize that meaningful performance objectives, based on community expectations, are essential in establishing these benchmark measurements.

With the advent of a new proven automated financial system, recently implemented by the Auditor-Controller's office, we are confident this system will allow the department to determine precise cost analysis of our numerous program functions. With this useful accounting tool, the department has delegated greater authority and control to its unit commanders over policies, process and resources. To date, impressive positive results have been realized. These results, coupled with continuous improvement efforts, will lead to change and cause management to regularly revisit the question of whether or not a function or activity remains essential.

Another necessary tool that will assist the department, in its effort to analyze pertinent data in measuring our performance, will be the migration of our automated records management system off of the county mainframe computer. Currently, the on-going CPU charges associated with the mainframe configuration make extensive statistical analysis prohibitive. The proposed desktop file server computer configuration will allow the essential automation to collect, analyze, and compare annual performance indicators.

The following are typical examples of performance indicators the department will pursue:

The Sheriff's Department is prepared to face the many challenges associated with change -- change necessary in order to cope with the limited resources available to us, but at the same time provide cost-effective service to meet our statutory mandates.

Five Year Outside Performance Audit:

The Sheriff's Department concurs that a periodic outside performance audit could prove to be beneficial in accessing on-going operations. The department will explore the option of utilizing the services of the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, State of California, who will, upon request, perform management audits for member agencies. We see this as an alternative to expending limited resources for private outside consultants familiar with Public Safety (specifically, law enforcement ) operations.

FINDING 4: The Grand Jury finds that the Internal Control Survey distributed to all departments by the Auditor-Controller on January 23, 1996 presents immediate opportunities to begin self-evaluation of each department's performance.

RECOMMENDATION 4: The Grand Jury recommends that the 1996-1997 Grand Jury review a representative sample of the results of these surveys in the larger departments to include: Assessor-Clerk-Recorder, District Attorney, Health Care Services, Mental Health, Planning and Development, Probation, Public Works, Sheriff and Social Services.

RESPONSE: The Sheriff's Department acknowledges the receipt of the Board of Supervisors approved "Internal Control Survey" distributed by the Auditor-Controller.

The "Internal Control Survey" has been reviewed by fiscal staff of the department; we concur with the opinion that the questionnaire would provide helpful and valuable insight into our Department's internal control structure.

Due to critical vacancies within the ranks of our fiscal staff and the time devoted to the 1996-97 Budget development, completion of this survey has been deferred. The Sheriff's Department will not only complete the survey in the coming months, but seek out assistance from the Auditor-Controller's office in evaluating the operating effectiveness of our fiscal policies, account procedures and practices, internal controls, as well as our fiscal staff allocation and classifications.