Report 2016-109 Recommendation 6 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 #6 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 work with divisions to establish policies and procedures for the divisions to follow when investigating UCP complaints and reviewing appeals. The procedures should identify the individuals or units responsible for investigating complaints and reviewing appeals, the steps and time frames for conducting investigations and reviews, the requirements for issuing decisions, and the documentation that should be retained in the files.

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 calls on Education to work with divisions to develop policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the UCP requirements. Education is in the process of developing centralized policies, procedures, and templates for all UCP complaints and appeals.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2019

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


1-Year Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with the recommendation to designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals for the reasons set forth in our prior responses. Education is finalizing the report to the Legislature, required by the

2017-18 State Budget Act, and will submit it in February 2018. The report will provide an update on the customized central database for tracking UCP complaints and appeals and plans to engage stakeholders to review potential legislative and regulatory changes. Education is updating policies and procedures as necessary and to be consistent with legislative and regulatory changes.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2018
  • Response Date: February 2018

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


6-Month Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with the recommendation to designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals for the reasons set forth in our prior responses. In addition, while policies and procedures are not required in law, Education will address existing policies and procedures for processing complaints and appeals as deemed necessary.

Education was notified that the Legislature was interested in receiving additional information when the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 1 proposed including the requirement for a report on legislative changes to the UCP process regarding timeframes for completion of investigations and reviews of appeals in the Senate's budget on May 17, 2017. As a result, supplemental report language was included in the 2017-18 state budget that was signed by the Governor on June 27, 2017. Education is now required to submit a report to the Legislature no later than November 30, 2017, with recommendations for any legislative changes to the Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) process on timeframes for completion of investigations and reviews of appeals. The required report shall also include an update on Education's efforts to centralize tracking of UCP complaints and appeals and to streamline UCP processes across divisions. Education anticipates follow-up discussions with the Legislature as a result of the information provided in the report.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2018
  • Response Date: August 2017

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

As we stated in the report, we believe that a central office for receiving complaints and appeals would help eliminate complainants' confusion about where to send a complaint or appeal and would streamline the process by preventing complaints and appeals from going to an incorrect division. We will review Education's future responses to this recommendation to assess its efforts in working with the Legislature to address this recommendation.


60-Day Agency Response

Education continues to not concur with the recommendation to designate a central office to receive all complaints and appeals for the reasons set forth in the response. However, Education is developing a centralized database that can increase coordination within the department. In addition, while policies and procedures are not required in law, Education will address existing policies and procedures for processing complaints and appeals as deemed necessary. Education will also initiate discussions with the Legislature in regard to establishing consistency in statute.

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

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

As we stated in the report, we believe that a central office for receiving complaints and appeals would help eliminate complainants' confusion about where to send a complaint or appeal and would streamline the process by preventing complaints and appeals from going to an incorrect division. Education states that it will address existing policies and procedures as deemed necessary and will initiate discussions with the Legislature in regard to establishing consistency in statute.


All Recommendations in 2016-109

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.