DENVER – Two more city agencies have failed to follow through with changes after several audit recommendations — continuing a trend of noncompliance, according to two new follow-up reports from Denver Auditor Timothy M. O’Brien, CPA.
“I see a pattern in our recent follow-up work: Agencies are saying they agree with our recommended changes but then fail to follow through,” Auditor O’Brien said. “The purpose of our audits is to help identify areas where the city could better serve the people of Denver. If our recommendations are ignored or not fully completed, agencies might not be doing their best work on behalf of the people.”
While city agencies might be working hard on day-to-day operations, our follow-up audit work shows some have trouble with big-picture priorities, like performance analysis and contract monitoring.
The two newest follow-up reports checked on progress at Denver Arts & Venues and in the Department of Parks and Recreation.
The audit of Arts & Venues found issues in how city officials monitor the agency’s contract with Aramark to operate concessions at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Denver Coliseum. In the initial audit, there were issues with reconciling inventory and accounting for food spoilage and employee meals. Arts & Venues fully implemented only two of six recommendations.
The recommendation to better monitor the Aramark contract was only partially implemented. The agency updated its policies and procedures, but the updates lacked guidance. Management has also not started formally reconciling inventory and sales. Arts & Venues says it is waiting for a contract amendment to complete changes to spoilage reconciliation requirements.
At the April 2018 Audit Committee meeting, Arts & Venues officials said they had already implemented the recommendation to calculate spoilage cost from previous years. However, auditors found this spring the agency had not used the correct numbers to do so and determined the recommendation was not implemented after all.
“It is important for agencies to take our recommendations seriously,” Auditor O’Brien said. “We take a close look at every agency we audit, and that fresh perspective should be useful to agencies in spurring progress and improvements.”
Meanwhile, the Parks audit focused on the department’s permitting program and found a need for a more customer-focused plan. The audit team made recommendations to improve customer satisfaction, ensure cost recovery, and make sure the permitting process is clear for users. But, Parks fully implemented only two of six recommendations.
Although Parks revised and expanded its permitting program goals, officials acknowledge that the department has not developed balanced performance measures to monitor data trends and assess program performance. Parks has started using customer surveys to get feedback during the permitting process. However, auditors found the department is still not reviewing customer satisfaction consistently across all types of permits.
“I can see the Department of Parks and Recreation is working to improve,” Auditor O’Brien said. “The satisfaction of the people we serve is the ultimate goal, and I would like to see more improvement in a more timely manner going forward.”