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Report 2008-113 Highlights - December 2008

Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board:

It Has Begun Improving the Victim Compensation Program, but More Remains to Be Done

HIGHLIGHTS

Our review of the Victim Compensation Program (program) at the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (board) revealed the following:

  • From fiscal years 2001-02 through 2004-05, program compensation payments decreased from $123.9 million to $61.6 million—a 50 percent decline.
  • Despite the significant decline in payments, the costs to support the program have increased. These costs make up a significant portion of the Restitution Fund disbursements—ranging from 26 percent to 42 percent annually.
  • The program did not always process applications and bills as promptly or efficiently as it could have. We noted staff took longer than 180 days to process applications in two instances out of 49 and longer than 90 days to pay bills for 23 of 77 paid bills we examined.
  • The program's numerous problems with the transition to a new application and bill processing system led to a reported increase in complaints regarding delays in processing applications and bills.
  • Some payments in CaRES appeared to be erroneous. Although board staff provided explanations for the payments when we brought the matter to their attention, the fact that they were unaware of these items indicates an absence of controls that would prevent erroneous payments.
  • The board lacks the necessary system documentation for CaRES.
  • There are no benchmarks, performance measures, or formal written procedures for workload management.
  • Despite the board's efforts to increase awareness of the program, several victim witness assistance centers do not think the public is generally aware of program services. Further, the board has not established a comprehensive outreach plan.














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