Recent Performance Audit reports
Reports issued from 2012 onward can be found by topic area on our Earlier Work page. Reports from earlier years can be found using Search Reports; apply Advanced Search terms to refine the results of your search.
Charter School Accountability and Opportunities for Collaboration
(pdf, 1.6 mb)
This audit examined whether the state's charter schools have the foundations in place to ensure they are accountable to the public. This includes whether the schools have enrolled the types of students identified in their charters, complied with certain state and federal requirements, and have appropriate performance frameworks. Results were mixed, which was unsurprising given the newness of the charter school system in this state. That newness also kept our Office from addressing the question of how effective these schools are at teaching students. That is a question that should be addressed as the system matures and accumulates more years of data. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 268 kb).
Aligning Healthcare Professional Fees with Licensing Costs (pdf, 680 kb)November 2018
To ensure the public is protected and served by competent and qualified healthcare professionals, the Health Services Quality Assurance Division at the Department of Health (DOH) licenses and disciplines more than 400,000 healthcare professionals. This performance audit asked whether DOH has set licensing fees for these professions to reflect the costs of licensing them. Auditors found 77 percent of the healthcare professions pay licensing fees that are significantly higher or lower than necessary to meet these requirements. Professions with fees that are too low have outweighed those that have fees that are too high, causing total reserves for the Health Professions Account to decline from $25.3 million to $9.3 million over just the last biennium. The audit recommended DOH create clear policies and processes to set licensing fees at an adequate level. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 379 kb).
Evaluating School Responses to Notifications of Student Criminal Offenses (pdf, 1 mb)
School principals must give student criminal history information to every teacher of a student, as well as to the student’s next school. The audit found few of the principals interviewed routinely shared criminal history information as extensively as state law requires, primarily because most did not understand their legal obligations. Instead, principals used their judgment to decide what to share and with whom, frequently focusing on situations involving serious crimes. Further, few school districts had clear and complete policies to guide principals, in part because the state’s model policies were unclear and incomplete. Three organizations – the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington State School Directors’ Association and the Association of Washington School Principals – are well placed to ensure consistent, accurate guidance is available in school districts across the state. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 345 kb)
Embedded Commercial Recycling in Washington Cities (pdf, 265 kb)
Some cities in Washington make recycling an automatic part of garbage service for businesses. Performance auditors found that this practice may result in higher recycling rates, but may also reduce the competition for recycling services in that area and results in businesses paying more in both changes and taxes. Because the Office was asked by the Legislature to answer specific questions, we do not make recommendations in this audit. However, in light of changes in the recycling market, we suggest that cities and haulers reconsider how they collect recycling in future contract negotiations. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 112 kb)
Improving Cannabis Risk Management Tools Using Business Transaction Data (pdf, 2.3 mb)
Summary: Performance auditors found ways to help the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) improve its use of automated risk management tools in its new marijuana tracking system. The audit found LCB can use data it already collects to calculate reasonable value ranges for marijuana processing yields, inventory adjustments, sales and other transactions at steps where the risk for diverting product to the illegal market is particularly high. Recommendations include establishing thresholds that will automatically alert LCB staff to unusual data that fall outside the reasonable ranges, allowing the agency to prioritize its audits and enforcement investigations. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 192kb). View 11" x 17" maps of cannabis production, processing and retail activities (pdf, 1.1 mb).
Ensuring Notification to Schools and Districts of Student Criminal Offenses (pdf, 1 mb)
Summary: This performance audit identified gaps and breakdowns in the processes state agencies, courts and law enforcement use to send notifications about student who have committed certain crimes to schools and districts. Rather than waiting for the published report, audited organizations chose to act immediately on a number of issues the audit identified; improvements already under way include better documentation, guidance, training and monitoring. The audit also identified some statutory changes that might help improve the system. To facilitate the process, the Auditor's Office convened a work group of stakeholders to being addressing issues. The report recommends the Legislature formalize the work group to continue seeking solutions. A follow-up audit will review notification processes within and between schools and districts. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 354 kb). View the videocast here (YouTube).
Alternative Learning Experiences in Washington: Student characteristics and innovative approaches (pdf, 5 mb)
Summary: As part of a recent performance audit, auditors gathered information directly from all Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) programs in Washington to learn how they are meeting their intended purpose, which is to give schools flexibility to serve a diverse student population. In addition to a survey (explore survey results here), the final report offers insight into aspects of ALE programs that serve populations with challenges that traditional schools might not meet as effectively. However, the audit also encountered problems in the way school districts report ALE student enrollment in the state's student information system, CEDARS. The audit makes recommendations to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to help improve data. Read the two-page summary (pdf, 523 kb). This work was part of a mandated series of audits. Learn more about earlier performance audits here, and about financial audits performed by our Schools Team here. Read a letter or watch a video message (YouTube) from State Auditor Pat McCarthy about the overall project.
Continuing Opportunities to Improve State IT Security - 2017 (pdf, 365 kb)
Summary: The most recent performance audit to examine IT security controls at Washington state agencies worked with subject matter experts to conduct assessments of organizational IT infrastructure and applications. We again consulted with the state's Chief Information Security Officer at WaTech's Office of Cyber Security, and compared state practices to leading practices. We found the three agencies included in the audit have taken significant measures to protect their IT systems from risk, and we made suggestions to them directly and to the Office of Cyber Security. However, to protect the state's IT systems from attack, our report does not include the agencies' names or detailed descriptions of our results.