Report 2016-109 Recommendation 4 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 #4 To: Education, Department of

To ensure that it consistently processes complaints and appeals in a timely manner and that it investigates and reviews all UCP complaints and appeals in compliance with state law and regulations, by July 2017 Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This central office should establish a single database to record and track all investigations of complaints and reviews of appeals. This database should capture all data necessary for Education to effectively make informed decisions related to UCP complaints or appeals. At a minimum, the database should capture the date on which Education received each complaint or appeal, the date on which it forwarded the complaint or appeal to the appropriate division for investigation or review, and the date on which it sent the decision to the complainant. The database should also include the type of complaint or appeal, the LEA involved, and the decision.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2018

This recommendation contains two separate corrective actions requiring an update response. Since Education continues to not concur with the first recommended corrective action, full resolution is unattainable. The first part of the recommendation from the CSA states that Education should designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. This recommendation is duplicated in recommendations 3 through 8. Specifically, Education does not concur with the CSA's determination that a central office would ensure consistent, timely responses in compliance with state laws and regulations for all UCP complaints and appeals. In fact, a central office would add time to the process in the beginning and the end as well as provide excessive administratively burdensome demands on staff who do not have the necessary expertise or familiarity for the complex programs covered under the UCP process. Also, Education would require additional resources in order to implement a dedicated centralized UCP office.

The second part of the recommendation, establishing a central database, was fully implemented in September 2017, as previously reported and accepted by the CSA.

  • Completion Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Partially Implemented

Although Education has established a central database for tracking UCP complaints and appeals, in its response to Recommendation 3 Education states it continues to not concur with the recommendation to designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. Therefore, we consider this recommendation partially implemented.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

Education finalized the customization of a central database for tracking UCP complaints and appeals and the database has been fully operational as of September 2017. Uniform procedures for entering data have been established and implemented. In addition, a user-guide was developed to ensure all data is entered in a uniform and consistent manner.

  • Completion Date: September 2017
  • Response Date: February 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Partially Implemented

Although Education has established a central database for tracking UCP complaints and appeals, in its response to Recommendation 3 Education states it continues to not concur with the recommendation to designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals. Therefore, we consider this recommendation partially implemented.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

6-Month Agency Response

Education purchased software (Time Matters by LexisNexis) and worked with an outside vendor to create a customized central database for tracking UCP complaints and appeals to ensure resolution in a timely manner. Training on the new database was conducted in July 2017, and it is anticipated that the database will be fully operational by September 2017.

  • Estimated Completion Date: September 2017
  • Response Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

Education is developing a centralized database that can increase coordination within the department.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2018
  • Response Date: April 2017

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


All Recommendations in 2016-109

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.