Report 2013-302/2013-303 Recommendation 17 Responses

Report 2013-302/2013-303: Judicial Branch Procurement: Semiannual Reports to the Legislature Are of Limited Usefulness, Information Systems Have Weak Controls, and Certain Improvements in Procurement Practices Are Needed (Release Date: December 2013)

Recommendation #17 To: Administrative Office of the Courts

The AOC should revise the judicial contracting manual to require that judicial entities maintain documentation for their evaluation and selection process used for competitive procurements. The AOC should also strengthen its procedures to ensure that bid evaluations are conducted properly and calculated correctly.

Agency Response*

The Judicial Council of California (Judicial Council) respectfully declines to implement this recommendation for the reasons provided in our December 2014 response. Further, the Judicial Council is pleased that the State Auditor's more recent reviews have yielded only a minimal number of audit findings.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement


Agency Response*

Public Contract Code (PCC) section 19206 requires the Judicial Council (formerly the AOC) to adopt a judicial contracting manual that is "consistent with" the PCC and "substantially similar" to the State Administrative Manual and the State Contracting Manual (SCM).

The judicial contracting manual is consistent with the requirements of the Public Contract Code (PCC) with respect to the evaluation and selection process used for competitive procurements. Chapter 2, section 2.3 of the judicial contracting manual provides guidance on what should be included in the procurement file. Chapters 4A, 4B, and 4C of the judicial contracting manual set forth procedures for conducting solicitations and evaluating bids. Moreover, evaluation and scoring sheets for competitive procurements remain subject to public inspection after the conclusion of the scoring process consistent with the requirements of California Rules of Court, rule 10.500 ("Public access to judicial administrative records").

The Judicial Council (formerly the AOC) declines to revise the judicial contracting manual to further prescribe how bid evaluations are to be calculated. The Judicial Council is, however, working with and will continue to work with staff involved in the evaluation process for Judicial Council competitive procurements to strengthen its procedures to ensure that all bid evaluations are conducted properly and correctly.

  • Response Type†: 1-Year
  • Estimated Completion Date:
  • Response Date: December 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement

As we discuss in the report, the Judicial Council's contracting manual states that judicial entities should document the evaluation and selection process for every procurement, but does not require them to do so. We continue to believe that the judicial contracting manual should be revised to require that judicial entities maintain this documentation. Further, although the AOC indicated in its 60-day and six-month responses that it has reminded staff to follow established processes to ensure that bid evaluations are conducted properly and calculated correctly, it has not demonstrated that it has strengthened its procedures.


Agency Response*

Section 4.2 of chapter 4 of the Judicial Branch Contracting Manual specifies the requirements concerning solicitation documentation and stresses that the requirements are favored unless there is a good business reason for variance. Maintaining adequate and accurate records is not valid for a variance. This was stressed in the last appellate clerks meeting and on the monthly procurement calls. The procedures in the JBCM continue to be sufficient to provide direction to judicial branch entities concerning competitive procurements and the retaining of documentation concerning bid evaluations and the selection process. Isolated exceptions upon audit review may occur but they are not the norm and enhancement of the procedures are not deemed necessary.

  • Response Type†: 6-Month
  • Completion Date: December 2013
  • Response Date: July 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

Although the AOC indicates in its 60-day and six-month responses that it has reminded staff to follow the procedure, it has not revised the judicial contracting manual to require that judicial entities maintain documentation for their evaluation and selection process used for competitive procurements.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

Agency Response*

The AOC has reminded all project managers and selection participants to be more attentive to the mathematical calculations in the future and will review them more closely. The AOC believes that the procedures as discussed in the JBCM are sufficient to provide direction to the selection committees to exercise due care.

  • Response Type†: 60-Day
  • Completion Date: December 2013
  • Response Date: February 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

The AOC has not revised the judicial contracting manual to require that judicial entities maintain documentation for their evaluation and selection process used for competitive procurements. Further, although the AOC states that it has reminded all project managers and selection partiicipants to be more attentive to mathematical calculations in the future, the AOC's response indicates that it has not taken any further steps to strengthen its procedures to ensure that bid evaluations are conducted properly and calculated correctly.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

All Recommendations in 2013-302/2013-303

†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.

*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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