Report 2016-109 Recommendation 10 Responses

Report 2016-109: Uniform Complaint Procedures: The California Department of Education's Inadequate Oversight Has Led to a Lack of Uniformity and Compliance in the Processing of Complaints and Appeals (Release Date: January 2017)

Recommendation #10 To: Education, Department of

To ensure that its regulations are consistent and align with state and federal requirements, by July 2017 Education should initiate revising its regulations to allow Nutrition Services to investigate all complaints as direct intervention.

6-Month Agency Response

On June 6, 2017, Education received the following guidance from the USDA regarding our request to refer complaints to LEAs per the UCP. In accordance with 7 CFR 210.19, Education is required to investigate all complaints.

Section 210.19 Additional responsibilities.

(4) Investigations. Each State agency shall promptly investigate complaints received or irregularities noted in connection with the operation of the Program, and shall take appropriate action to correct any irregularities. State agencies shall maintain on file, evidence of such investigations and actions. FNS and OIG may make reviews or investigations at the request of the State agency or where FNS or OIG determines reviews or investigations are appropriate.

As a result of this guidance and the federal regulation, Education is required to comply with the USDA and investigate all federal child nutrition program complaints.

  • Response Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Will Not Implement

Our recommendation did not involve referring complaints to LEAs for investigation. Although the existing UCP regulations require complaints, including direct interventions, to be submitted in writing, our recommendation is for Education to revise its regulations to allow the Nutrition Services Division to investigate all complaints as direct intervention. This can include allowing the Nutrition Services Division to accept verbal complaints as direct intervention.


60-Day Agency Response

Education has considered this recommendation and is evaluating whether the UCP process could be utilized in handling complaints related to the federal child nutrition programs. Existing UCP regulations require complaints, including direct interventions, to be submitted in writing. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires state agencies to also accept and investigate verbal complaints. Therefore, Education will consider alternative options to this recommendation and seek the USDA's approval as necessary.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2018
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

Although the existing UCP regulations require complaints, including direct interventions, to be submitted in writing, our recommendation is for Education to revise its regulations to allow the Nutrition Services Division to investigate all complaints as direct intervention. This can include allowing the Nutrition Services Division to accept verbal complaints as direct intervention.


All Recommendations in 2016-109

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.