Office of Auditor General - Audit Buzz, May 2018 Issue

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Audit Buzz Newsletter

May 2018 Issue         

Did you know May is International Internal Audit Awareness Month? 

Take your audit knowledge to the next level by reading the Office of Auditor General's Audit Buzz! 


Recently Completed Audits and Other Updates

Private Transportation Audit

  • The audit covered use of private transportation as a means to transport students to meet daily educational needs, outside of the normal school bus service.  
  • Special Transportation Request (STARS) program was developed to assist Office of Transportation (OTS) with the multitude of special requests.  
  • Transportation is provided via FCPS vans, public transportation (Fairfax Connector, Cue Buses and Metro), contracted bus service, taxis, and gas cards.  
  • This type of transportation is being provided to students who have either special needs, are homeless, unaccompanied youths, attend alternative educational settings, in the Genesys program, or children in respite or residential settings.  For FY17, the cost of providing private transportation for 1,033 students was $3.4M. 
  • OTS, in collaboration with appropriate staff from Instructional Services, Special Services, Hearings Office, individual schools, and County services, reviews each special transportation request to find the most economic, efficient method of transportation to meet the individual needs of each student.  
  • Unless students meet criteria outlined in McKinney-Vento (homeless) or IDEA (special needs), FCPS is not required to provide transportation.  
  • As a result of the audit, OAG provided the following two recommendations: 
  • (1) OTS review the total costs incurred during FY17 for private transportation services provided to the general education students attending alternative educational settings and Genesys program.  This information should then be provided to the FCPS leadership team to assess the relevant costs and benefits and to determine if such non-mandated private transportation services should be continued.  
  • (2) Consideration should be given to implementing a process where any student that fails to show for their taxi pick-up three consecutive times be placed in “Will Call” status to limit the no show fees ($10 to $20 per instance) incurred by FCPS.   

The full February 2018 Private Transportation Audit Report can be found here on the OAG website.  

Contracting and Procurement Oversight and Process Audit


  • The audit covered the appropriateness and effectiveness of the management control framework in place to support contracting and procurement activities within Office of Procurement Services (OPS). 
  • OAG found that OPS demonstrated appropriate oversight on the contracting and procurement process; however, the following three findings were noted:
  • (1) Procurement Planning – user departments are not engaging OPS early on in the procurement needs identification phase.
  • (2) Sole Source and Contract Renewals – OAG noted incomplete documentation of justification for sole source purchases, lack of documentation for OPS’ independent research, contract periods that were longer than standard terms and contract renewal procedures that were not consistently performed.  
  • (3) Training – employees with purchasing and financial oversight responsibilities were not required to receive relevant procurement training.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reach out to OPS, as early as possible, if you anticipate the need to purchase goods or services that may aggregate to over $5K ($3K for federal grants). OPS can provide strategic assistance to help guide effective and compliant procurement transactions.  
  • Sole-source method of procurement should be utilized on an exception basis and assistant superintendent must sign the sole-source request form. 
  • OPS will be rolling out new procurement training to specific audience groups (i.e., principals, assistant principals and directors of student activities (DSAs)) in FY19. 
  • OPS is currently implementing a number of contract process improvements. For more details on recent and upcoming changes, refer to the “Spring 2018 Money Talks” (issued by Financial Services) (Note: Intranet access is required to open this link.) 

The full April 2018 Contracting and Procurement Oversight and Process Audit Report can be found here on the OAG website.  

Risk Assessment Process

  • One of OAG’s FY18 goals was to enhance the annual risk assessment process with a robust methodology to identify audit topics.
  • To help meet this goal, OAG interviewed 48 FCPS employees, represented by 18 Leadership Team (LT) members and 30 others (mainly directors, coordinators, and managers) to gauge their sense of risks and obtain feedback on specific areas being considered for audit.  We also solicited feedback from School Board and Audit Committee citizen members and examined available financial data to assess the financial impact of the potential audit topics. 
  • The end result of the current risk assessment process is the development of the FY19 Audit Plan, which identifies the specific areas to be audited.  
  • The plan will be presented to the Audit Committee in May and to the full School Board, for their review and approval in July.  
  • Once approved, the FY19 Audit Plan will be posted on the OAG website

Welcome Recent and New OAG Hires

  • Lorena Villarroel Orellana - part-time Intern, started in January 2018
  • Melvin G. Paul - Auditor III, started in January 2018
  • Christopher A. Elliott - Auditor II, start date anticipated May 29, 2018
  • Additional summer interns will join in July to assist with Local School Activity Funds (LSAF) Audits.

Current Audit Projects and Those on the Horizon

  • Workers' Compensation Program
  • Facilities Maintenance Program
  • Adult and Community Education (ACE) 
  • Continuous auditing of Local School Activity Funds (LSAF) and Business Process/Turnover Audits (BPTA)

Tips for Employees:

  • Become familiar with FCPS policies, procedures and best practice guidance.
  • Attend training and do not hesitate to ask questions.
  • Check for contracts before initiating large purchases.
  • Remember that purchases of iPads, iPhones, computers, laptops, etc, must be done via FCPS contracts and not from BestBuy, Amazon or other vendors.
  • Use of advanced appropriated funds is restricted to specific purchases; make yourself aware of the rules and requirements.